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      Seven Days in May

      Released Feb 12, 1964 1 hr. 58 min. Mystery & Thriller List
      92% 24 Reviews Tomatometer 89% 2,500+ Ratings Audience Score U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) hopes to bring an end to the Cold War by signing a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets, much to the displeasure of the hawkish General James Scott (Burt Lancaster), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When Scott's aide, Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) stumbles on shattering evidence that the General is plotting a coup to overthrow Lyman in seven days, "Jiggs" alerts the President, setting off a dangerous race to thwart the takeover. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered May 14 Buy Now

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      Seven Days in May

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      Critics Consensus

      John Frankenheimer's striking direction and a first-rate cast conspire to make Seven Days in May a stark, riveting tale of political intrigue.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Nik75 J Very well directed with some very good cinematography. The script is excellent and still has some bite and relevance in today's political atmosphere. The all star cast comes through and delivers fine performances all around. A bit slow to get going, but once it does, you will want to watch until the end. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 09/05/23 Full Review Victor T Ava Gardner steals the show in a supporting role. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 08/09/23 Full Review Shioka O Realistic, a profound early example of political thriller. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 09/28/22 Full Review Murty C This is a gripping movie with a powerhouse ensemble cast, it is eerily prescient and will always be relevant. This is the story of a rogue general (Burt Lancaster) who is secretly planning to take over the government because the President (Frederic March) wants to negotiate with the Soviet Union. A colonel (Kirk Douglas) learns of the plot and informs the President who must now uncover the conspiracy carefully without tipping off the bad guys. Superb acting all around including an Oscar-winning performance by Edmund O'Brien, and excellent direction/ screenplay/ editing/ cinematography. You'll enjoy the movie and get educated on the constant hidden dangers facing the republic. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 06/30/22 Full Review Audience Member "Seven Days in May" (1964) is directed by John Frankenheimer in what is now known as the second chapter of his '60s "paranoia trilogy," beginning with "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) and concluding with "Seconds" (1966), the weirdest and darkest of the three. The screenplay is by Rod Serling, of "Twilight Zone" (and later "Night Gallery") fame, derived from the 1962 eponymous novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey. At a point in the then-near future (around 1970), U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) has signed a mutual nuclear disarmament pact with the Soviet Union which is widely reviled by much of the U.S. military brass, by the contemporary version of the right-wing media echo chamber, and much of the public. Lyman's job approval rating has plunged to 29%, and pro- and anti-treaty demonstrators have clashed violently at the White House gates. Among the most vociferous and public voices against the treaty is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James M. Scott (Burt Lancaster), a much-admired Air Force war ace with more military decorations than he can carry on one uniform. Scott is a well-spoken and charismatic figure who doesn't mince words in voicing his disdain for the treaty, and barely restrains his thinly-veiled contempt for the President. His aide, the Director of the Joint Staff that oversees Pentagon-based personnel from all four major military branches, is Col. Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas), a by-the-book Marine who is no friend of the treaty either, but does feel loyalty to the constitution and to civilian governmental authority. Casey stumbles upon multiple pieces of evidence indicating a plot for a military coup d'état against the President, overseen by Gen. Scott himself, and the game is afoot. Casey must convince an initially-skeptical President and the latter's top aides that the top military brass are conspiring to bring down his administration. Once Lyman and his allies decide to take the threat seriously, they have only a few days to stop it. The cast, in addition to the three principals, is studded with star power- Martin Balsam as the President's loyal chief of staff, Ava Gardner as a Washington socialite intimately familiar with men in positions of authority and power who may have some secrets of her own about those men, George MacReady as the rather pompous Secretary of the Treasury and head of the President's brain trust, and number of lesser-known stars in supporting roles, including John Houseman (already in his 60s at the time but making his film debut) as a cagey admiral, Whit Bissell as a right-wing Senator and confidant of Gen. Scott, Hugh Marlowe as an ultraconservative TV personality, Malcolm Atterbury as the President's worrywart physician, Andrew Duggan as an unwitting colonel pulled in both directions by the plotters and their opponents, and many others. The one large disappointment in this stellar cast is Edmond O'Brien as a good ol' boy Southern Senator and close friend and ally of the President. His Sen. Clark is a dipsomaniac guzzling from a flask at all hours of the day and night even as the crisis intensifies, and O'Brien's Southern accent is one of the least convincing in film history. But this barely detracts from the tension and drama persuasively summoned by Frankenheimer and his cast. But it is Douglas as the restrained and calm Col. Casey who first learns of the plot and acts as sentinel to warn the President and other guardians of democracy, who is the true standout. Compelled to be a turncoat against a general he once venerated, placed in a highly perilous predicament as the chief dirt-digger and go-fer for the President and his allies, Col. Casey is forced to endure many insults and slights arising from all sides (and one very hard slap in the face), and does so stoically. When finally pressed- ordered- to speak his mind about the whole sordid business, he does so, calmly but forcefully, in a way the audience will find cathartic and satisfying. Given the current inclinations toward fascism and authoritarianism among large swaths of the American public, and attacks on the rule of law and against elected government attempting to carry out its Constitutionally-mandated duties in the recent (Trumpist and immediate-post-Trump era), "Seven Days in May" has not only withstood the test of time but is now more timely perhaps even than at its initial release in 1964. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review Ed M Excellent. Great cast. A rare restrained performance by Kirk Douglass. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 07/05/21 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Critics Reviews

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      Sara Michelle Fetters MovieFreak.com Of the seven motion pictures Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas starred in together during their careers, 1964’s Seven Days in May is unquestionably my favorite. Rated: 3.5/4 Mar 22, 2024 Full Review Variety Staff Variety A strikingly dramatic, realistic and provocatively topical film. Aug 13, 2007 Full Review Dave Kehr Chicago Reader John Frankenheimer directed, too much in love with technique, though he ably taps the neuroticism of Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March. Aug 13, 2007 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy The film remains as topical as ever. Rated: 3.5/4 Nov 22, 2021 Full Review David Walsh World Socialist Web Site Seven Days in May stands up ... the issue of the threat represented by the American military to the democratic rights of the people has hardly receded into the background. On the contrary, it is ten times more pressing than it was in 1964. Feb 10, 2021 Full Review Dwight MacDonald Esquire Magazine I went expecting to be entertained by a tough, fast, realistic melodrama... I sat through a meandering parade of conventional TV types wandering through situations so vaguely defined that it would be charity to call them implausible. Aug 13, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) hopes to bring an end to the Cold War by signing a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets, much to the displeasure of the hawkish General James Scott (Burt Lancaster), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When Scott's aide, Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) stumbles on shattering evidence that the General is plotting a coup to overthrow Lyman in seven days, "Jiggs" alerts the President, setting off a dangerous race to thwart the takeover.
      Director
      John Frankenheimer
      Screenwriter
      Fletcher Knebel, Charles W. Bailey II, Rod Serling
      Distributor
      Paramount Pictures, Warner Home Vídeo, Warner Bros.
      Production Co
      Seven Arts Pictures, Joel Productions
      Genre
      Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 12, 1964, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jul 24, 2014
      Sound Mix
      Mono
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