7.9/10
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Seven Days in May (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | March 1964 (Austria)
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United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Fletcher Knebel (novel), Charles W. Bailey II (novel) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Gen. James Mattoon Scott
Kirk Douglas ... Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey
Fredric March ... President Jordan Lyman
Ava Gardner ... Eleanor Holbrook
Edmond O'Brien ... Sen. Raymond Clark
Martin Balsam ... Paul Girard
Andrew Duggan ... Col. William 'Mutt' Henderson
Hugh Marlowe ... Harold McPherson
Whit Bissell ... Sen. Frederick Prentice
Helen Kleeb ... Esther Townsend
George Macready ... Christopher Todd
Richard Anderson ... Col. Murdock
Bart Burns ... Secret Service White House Chief Art Corwin
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Storyline

An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"I'm suggesting Mr President, there's a military plot to take over the Government of these United States, next Sunday..." See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1964 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Seven Days in May See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Macready who plays Christopher Todd previously starred with Kirk Douglas in 1957's 'Paths of Glory.' See more »

Goofs

In the Blue Lake scene, the placard describing the Secret Service's filming of the boat shows the time to be 0615 hours (6:15 a.m.), yet the bright sunlight indicates it is actually much later in the day. See more »

Quotes

General James Mattoon Scott: And if you want to talk about your oath of office, I'm here to tell you face to face, President Lyman, that you violated that oath when you stripped this country of its muscles - when you deliberately played upon the fear and fatigue of the people and told them they could remove that fear by the stroke of a pen. And then when this nation rejected you, lost faith in you, and began militantly to oppose you, you violated that oath by not resigning from office and turning the country over to ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Killing Oswald (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Marvelously low-key suspense thriller.
6 August 1999 | by tully-2See all my reviews

Perhaps one of the most genuinely suspenseful films every made, this paranoic film should be seen in conjunction with its natural brethren, "The Parallax View" and "The Manchurian Candidate" (which is also directed by John Frankenheimer).

The film's strength lies in a group of superb performance -- Burt Lancaster as the ramrod-stiff and egomaniacal general bent on saving the United States by planning the overthrow of the government; Kirk Douglas as his senior staff officer, who only gradually realizes what his boss is planning and just how dangerous he is; Fredric March as the world-weary President; and especially Edmond O'Brien as the souse of a Senator who, like March, demonstrates the kind of ingenuity and resolve that Lancaster and his co-conspirators assume they don't possess. These performers, as well as a splendid supporting cast, make Rod Serling's sometimes preachy dialogue seem completely real, and some of the scenes -- notably the final face-off between March and Lancaster -- seem on the verge of exploding.

Frankenheimer's low-key direction feeds this tension, by allowing the dialogue and the situations do the work. Would-be filmmakers looking to specialize in thrillers should probably spend more time watching films like this than modern-day "thrillers" like "Enemy of the State" or "Conspiracy Theory" which rely more on violence than actual dramatic tension.


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