Archive of films Quiz Show / Quiz Show

1994, 133 min

Section: Tribute to Robert Redford
Year: 2005

Popular television contests presented too great a temptation - the ability to manipulate the results. Based on actual events that took place in the 1950s, the film shows that the contestant who was supposed to win received the questions in advance and that, in the interest of ratings, the TV station management wanted to find a prettier face. The scandal ended up in court.


Robert Redford’s fourth feature as a director (he does not act in the film) concerns the popular television phenomenon of quiz shows which, in the past, were broadcast live. Today, the game show craze is far from being an exclusively American affair as programs of this type have reached the same popularity all over the world, including the Czech Republic. Redford´s movie points out how easily such shows can become venues of manipulation or out-and-out fraud when television bosses worry more about ratings than they do about the game. Based on actual events, the story unfolds in 1957 when the still new medium of TV took the public by storm. When the quiz show’s ratings begin to slide, the management of NBC realizes that their current contest favourite, the paunchy and awkward Herbie Stempel, is no longer suitable. They find a replacement - an educated, and more to the point, good looking young man named Charles Van Doren. But soon enough it comes out that the winning contestant was confidentially provided with the questions prior to the show. The upshot is a scandal and later a trial in which the spurned Stempel demands satisfaction. Redford has here created a disturbing image: he demonstrates how dishonourable practices, if they become commonplace, can seem completely normal to those involved.

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Robert Redford
Director: Robert Redford
Screenplay: Paul Attanasio
Dir. of Photography: Michael Ballhaus
Music: Mark Isham
Editor: Stu Linder
Producer: Michael Jacobs, Julian Krainin, Michael Nozik, Robert Redford
Production: koprodukce/coproduction: Baltimore Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Wildwood Enterprises
Cast: John Torturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, Paul Scofield, David Paymer, Hank Azaria


Robert Redford

Actor / Film Director

Jan Bradáč

Distributor, Cinema Representative, Producer


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