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Quiz Show is a 1994 American historical drama film which tells the true story of the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s.
Did I cast this movie?
Film #50 of Project 90
”Sixty-four thousand dollars for a question, I hope they are asking you the meaning of life.”
Confidently directed, perfectly acted and delicately written, Robert Redford’s Quiz Show is a shocking eye-opener that portrays a world in which media and giant companies take control of public’s mind and trade the innocence of individuals for money and fame, it gets more powerful and striking as its story unfolds and with morally devastated characters who are getting crushed under the overwhelming pressure of their doubts it is a film of dramatic decisions and emotional challenges.
In a film like this – which relies so heavily on its characters – it is of utmost importance to have great actors…
I watched this film for Ralph Fiennes, and from that point I wasn't disappointed. However, the movie was bland, predictable (even without any prior knowledge of either the game show or the scandal) whilst being, as far as character arcs go, downright confusing.
File this one under "Simply Couldn't Care Less".
Revisited for a Scenic Routes column in which I basically call Redford a hack. Nonetheless, I still like the film overall, mostly because it's one of very few I can think of that overtly addresses the subject of toxic privilege. Van Doren finally confessing his role in the scandal and then being praised by multiple Congressmen for his candor, as vilified whistleblower Stempel watches in disbelief, says more about how power works in America than something like Arbitrage (even though I kinda dug that one)—it's not about money or violence, but about what others will automatically be inclined to assume or forgive, based on a surface impression. Still wish there was more focus on the inner workings of Twenty…
So is it significant that this movie, largely about unquestioned class privilege and the illusion of social mobility, doesn't feature any non-white faces? Perhaps an MP and not a YP. Either way at its best this manages to coast on good performances and an interesting, esoteric subject, and it's full of lovely period production design.
I can't really put my finger on it. There was nothing really wrong with Quiz Show, but nothing ever really grabbed my attention.
Shooter McGav - I mean, Jack Barry (Christopher McDonald) is the host of a popular NBC game show "Twenty One", where two contestants are placed in opposing sound-proof booths and asked varying questions of random intelligence. It's champion of 7 weeks is Herbie Stempel (John Turturro), "a face for radio" underdog champion who is now adored by the nation for the same reasons he was ridiculed for growing up. Watching the show on TV is a handsome well-educated literary instructor Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) who gets the idea to enter the game show. The show executives…
Never have I seen so many "that guys" packed in one film. One fabulous character actor after another takes their turn displaying their talents to make this a film of such cinematic quality far beyond the subject matter.
Great job, Mr. Redford.
Did I cast this movie?
Native Americans are called Indians because Christopher Columbus thought he landed in India. They're called Indians because a white man got lost.
I wish game shows were still treated with this level of seriousness.
Has there ever been a movie with lower stakes than this
An absolutely cracking drama from a confident Robert Redford that knows exactly what he wants and knows how to get it. With an absolutely spectacular cast led brazenly by John Turturro and Ralph Fiennes this film centers on a little known but incredibly relevant part of American television history.
I'm very surprised I hadn't heard much about this film until I truly dove into Ralph Fiennes' career as it's got to be one of the best films of 1994. Whip smart, engaging, and tense Quiz Show will stick in your mind long after its over. At 140 minutes this does run a bit bloated and it could definitely benefit from some trimming although every scene cracks along and plays beautifully so ultimately it never quite feels its full run time. I would highly recommend this film on essentially all merits.
GREAT FILM ABOUT REAL LIFE THING THAT HAPPENED AND IS INTRIGUING. I DIDNT LOOK AT THE FACTS BEFORE WATCHING SO ITD BE A SURPRISE. IT WAS. GREAT ACTING AND STUFF. ITS ABOUT ETHICS AND INTEGRITY AND POETRY AND ULTIMATELY MIND CONTROL (THAT IS STILL OCCURRING TODAY)
I can't believe that I had never heard of the 1950s quiz show scandals before this film.
It makes me wonder what the people of the time would have thought about "Are you smarter than a 5th Grader?", "the Apprentice", and "Beauty and the Geek?"
Based on true events, Quiz Show shows a sliver of the evolution of American TV culture. Redford captured the changing nature of ratings over morality in the entertainment biz. Fiennes and Turturro portrayed their characters demographic to perfection.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…