Quiz Show

September 14th, 1994


Quiz Show

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Allan Rich in Robert Redford and Allan Rich in Allan Rich and Ralph Fiennes in Still of Ralph Fiennes in Quiz ShowStill of Ralph Fiennes, Christopher McDonald and John Turturro in Quiz ShowRobert Redford in Quiz Show

Dick Goodwin discovers game shows are fixed: pretty boy WASP Charles Van Doren is fed answers so he beats geeky Jew Herbie Stempel.

Release Year: 1994

Rating: 7.5/10 (30,857 voted)

Critic's Score: 88/100

Director: Robert Redford

Stars: Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, Rob Morrow

An idealistic young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show "Twenty-One": Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America's leading literary families. Based on a true story.

Writers: Paul Attanasio, Richard N. Goodwin

John Turturro - Herbie Stempel
Rob Morrow - Dick Goodwin
Ralph Fiennes - Charles Van Doren
Paul Scofield - Mark Van Doren
David Paymer - Dan Enright
Hank Azaria - Albert Freedman
Christopher McDonald - Jack Barry
Johann Carlo - Toby Stempel
Elizabeth Wilson - Dorothy Van Doren
Allan Rich - Robert Kintner
Mira Sorvino - Sandra Goodwin
George Martin - Chairman
Paul Guilfoyle - Lishman
Griffin Dunne - Account Guy
Michael Mantell - Pennebaker

Taglines: Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.

Release Date: 14 September 1994

Filming Locations: Bronx, New York City, New York, USA

Opening Weekend: $757,714 (USA) (16 September 1994) (27 Screens)

Gross: $24,822,619 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Although the setting is supposed to be Columbia University, portions of the movie were filmed at Fordham University in the Bronx.

Continuity: The address written on Goodwin's legal pad does not match the street address when they visit.

Mark Van Doren: Cheating on a quiz show? That's sort of like plagiarizing a comic strip.

User Review

Excellent '50s tale of reality TV that wasn't

Rating: 8/10

I was growing up during the Charles Van Doren scandal, and I remember his face on the front page of the paper and my mother crying. When I asked her what happened, she said, "He told a lie." He told a whole bunch of them, in fact, and was part of the quiz show scandal of the '50s, which Quiz Show so beautifully dramatizes. Robert Redford does a fantastic job of recreating the atmosphere in perfect detail, as well as the fascinating story of the '50s version of reality TV, the quiz shows, going awry.

Paul Scofield is absolutely mind-boggling as Van Doren Sr., and Ralph Fiennes is wonderful, handsome, and charismatic as Charles Van Doren. The rest of the cast is marvelous - John Turturro, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, and Rob Morrow.

Van Doren was a dream contestant - good-looking, educated, with a beautiful speaking voice - and captivated the country with his intelligence. Unfortunately, it wasn't reality at all, just fantasy. But, as Van Doren says while verbally sparring with his dad, "It was mine own." It sure was, and he went into oblivion because of it.


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