The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American neo noir psychological political thriller film about the Cold War and sleeper agents. It was directed and produced by John Frankenheimer. The screenplay was written by George Axelrod and was based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel The Manchurian Candidate. The film's leading actors are Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Janet Leigh, with Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, and James Gregory in supporting roles.


During the Korean War in 1952, the Soviets and Chinese capture a U.S. Army platoon and take the men to Manchuria in communist China. Three days later, Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) and Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) return to UN lines. Upon Marco's recommendation, Shaw is awarded the Medal of Honor for saving their lives in combat. Shaw returns to the United States to a hero's welcome, where he is exploited by his ambitious mother, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury), to further her husband (Shaw's stepfather) U.S. Senator John Yerkes Iselin's (James Gregory) political career. When asked to describe him, Marco and the other soldiers automatically respond that, "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." In fact, Shaw is a cold, sad, unsympathetic loner.