The Manchurian Candidate

6.62 h 9 min2004X-RayR
A Gulf War vet begins to suspect that his former squad-mate, now an increasingly popular vice-presidential candidate, has sinister motivations.
Jonathan Demme
Denzel WashingtonMeryl StreepKimberly Elise
Science FictionSuspenseDrama
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Jon VoightLiev SchreiberVera FarmigaJeffrey WrightTed LevineBruno GanzMiguel FerrerDean StockwellJude CiccolellaSimon McBurneyObba BabatundeZeljko IvanekPaul LazarJohn Bedford LloydAnthony MackieTom StechschulteRobyn HitchcockCharles NapierDavid KeeleyPablo SchreiberDan Olmstead
Scott RudinTina Sinatra
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Violencesmokingfoul language
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.6 out of 5 stars

1861 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Martin SchillerReviewed in the United States on February 18, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
A Marxist Twist on a Classic
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The original Manchurian Candidate featured an evil China/North Korea turning an unwitting prisoner of war into their tool. The 2004 version ‘flips’ this tale, making an evil capitalist corporation the villain instead. Nice Marxist twist that provides an out for the original villains—but in the end, not very elegantly executed. The agenda, and the leftist politics of the director of this reboot are painfully obvious.
68 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great political thriller about manipulation and corporations
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The 2004 version of the Manchurian Candidate directed by Jonathan Demme was a great interpretation of the original 1962 film. Both were about political manipulation.

The movie focuses upon Congressman Raymond Shaw played by Liev Schreiber who was a war hero from the 1991 Gulf War. His powerful and manipulative mother Eleanor Prentiss Shaw played by Meryl Streep sets up Raymond to be the candidate for the Vice President talking about how his heroism would prepare him perfectly for the threats that the U.S. was facing. Parallel to Shaw is Major Bennet Marco played by Denzel Washington who was Shaw’s commander in the Gulf War. He appears to be suffering from Gulf War syndrome or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He can’t get over his war experience, has constant nightmares about it, and is obsessed with Shaw. It turns out that they had both been manipulated, and both have the same distorted and haunting recollections of what happened to them in the Middle East.

Demme does a great job connecting the two main characters. Towards the start of the movie for example, Marco is watching the news about Shaw while he eats soup. Demme then cuts to Shaw in his hotel suite eating soup as well. When the two meet they have a connection which they can’t explain, and even when Marco assaults Shaw, he won’t press charges against him. It’s because they are two sides of the same coin, and their manipulation during the war connections them psychologically.

Shaw and his mother also have a dynamic relationship. The movie plays on Freud’s Oedipus complex where the son is both attracted and repulsed by the mother figure. She wants her son to live out her political ambitions. She is domineering and controlling, which drives her son nuts and yet he continues to allow her to run his affairs. There’s a scene where Shaw is dressing and his mother comes in and almost kisses him that again plays with Freud’s ideas.

In the end, the movie is about demagogues which was in the original playing upon Senator Shaw as the villain.

Overall, a fantastic political thriller.
18 people found this helpful
Elle Shopper LadyReviewed in the United States on September 8, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well Done ReDux
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Just really well done! The story published in 1959 was a huge hit and soon the famous 1962 film. This one in 2004 has some changes and the concepts, sad to say, are easier to accept. When the book and first version on film came to us, we were truly terrified by this new version of Frankenstein and the Pod People ...really scary. It is actually sad that the same horrific factoids are no longer terrifying - we accept them as a difficult part of life today. I wonder what happens next? Do we get smart and regain goodness and powers of the new evils?

I hope so. I am tired of apologizing to my children for the degeneration of the good values.
31 people found this helpful
Zachary LittrellReviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Oh no, I'm Brainwashed and Meryl Streep's My Mom
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The original Manchurian Candidate is a masterpiece, and comparing the two would be a losing battle, but this one has a lot of things going for it too. Probably the best that it's far more believable, and way more real, that a presidential candidate isn't a sleeper agent for communist masterminds, but a patsy for Big Corporations. Moolah is everyone's favorite candidate.

Denzel is an inspired choice for Marco-- the right mix of righteous paranoia. Even though we know he's right, he understandably appears to everyone like a PTSD-crazed lunatic right off the streets, digging for probes with a knife out of his own back. Liev Schreiber does a remarkable job evoking Laurence Harvey's Raymond Shaw, emitting a low, unassuming but constant growl. The only thing getting in his way to being the perfect Shaw is Schreiber is so darn likable, even when he tries not to be!

This movie gets right the big detail it needs to: this is a story where there is no happy ending. Even if the election and the nation are saved...corporations, and all of their money and power and corruption, will see you again in four years. And four years later. And four years later...
14 people found this helpful
Melanie CReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Probably the BEST version of the Manchurian Candidate ever!
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Yes, it flips-the-script on 'evil China' vs 'evil Capitalism' for the root antagonist, but the acting is superb, the story flows, you can feel the 'mental and emotional turmoil'...and all you have to do is insert 'Big Tech' in as 'Manchurian Global', and suddenly it PERFECTLY FITS for our world today! It becomes (scarily) believable! In fact, we could be living it now...with all of D.C. filled with such 'candidates'...
That's why I say, this is's 17-years old, but in a 'real entertainment world', this could have been made this week! As for the 'streaming sound quality' reeks...but that's not on the movie, but on Prime...because when you have to turn 7.1 Surround Sound up to MAX VOLUME, just to hear the conversation from 7-feet away, while the 'election party' could have shattered windows...the sound leveling STINKS!!! (maybe someone could sound-level a BIT, at Amazon?)
8 people found this helpful
AdamReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Edge of seat thriller!
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This remake of the classic film with Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey, Angela Lansbury and Janet Leigh does the original script honor. Denzel Washington, as usual, is terrific, and Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber deliver the goods. Streep presents a character that is at once the classic domineering mother on a worldwide political stage, while giving insight into the darkness of her real relationship to her son and her own ambitions. Very nice piece of work here. Action is really good, not too much but just enough to keep the plot moving. The tension builds at a good pace. I totally recommend this movie, although, It may stoke your latent sparks of paranoia into a flame.
4 people found this helpful
Student for LifeReviewed in the United States on June 3, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
This is a futuristic psycho thriller about politics and corruption. An ok film.
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This is a remake of the original film with Fran Sinatra, but with Danzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Liev Schreiber in a new twist. Major Bennett Marco (Washington) is a war veteran who commanded a famous U.S. Army raid during the 1991 Gulf War. For his role in that mission, Sergeant First Class Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) was awarded the Medal of Honor for single-handedly defeating the enemy and rescuing all but two of his men. Shaw is a famous U.S. Congressman. His ruthless mother, Virginia Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, (Streep) uses her influence to secure his nomination as a vice-presidential candidate.

Al Melvin, one of Marco's former soldiers, tells Marco of his confusing memories and dreams about their lost army unit. He is clearly mentally ill, but he shows Marco his drawings of images from his dreams. Soon, Marco also dreams of the raid, where Raymond and he are captured and brainwashed to kill members of their platoon. Their captors included scientists led by a mysterious South African man. Marco starts investigating what really happened during the war. Ok, but would not watch again.
One person found this helpful
DetectorReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Donald Trump has an implant in his brain.
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I will admit, not proudly, I have never seen Meryl Streep in a role that I liked for her. I dunno, she always annoyed me. Not here. She nailed it to the church door, steals the movie. She does psycho mom-bitch with no limits. The movie is in a large degree a collage of all Demme's pre-occupations, obsessions, causes, either in the story, or almost subliminally in the background voices and images, most often as news broadcasts. I like how Demme has the bad guy CEO and his minions crying like Frenchmen; which was really funny. Demme implicitly endorses the govt making fake news (to take down the conspirators.)
One person found this helpful
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