7.9/10
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108 user 56 critic

Seven Days in May (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 13 February 1964 (USA)
Trailer
3:43 | Trailer
United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Fletcher Knebel (novel), Charles W. Bailey II (novel) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Gen. James Mattoon Scott
Kirk Douglas ... Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey
Fredric March ... President Jordan Lyman
Ava Gardner ... Eleanor Holbrook
Edmond O'Brien ... Sen. Raymond Clark
Martin Balsam ... Paul Girard
Andrew Duggan ... Col. William 'Mutt' Henderson
Hugh Marlowe ... Harold McPherson
Whit Bissell ... Sen. Frederick Prentice
Helen Kleeb ... Esther Townsend
George Macready ... Christopher Todd
Richard Anderson ... Col. Murdock
Bart Burns ... Secret Service White House Chief Art Corwin
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Storyline

An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The astounding story of an astounding military plot to take over the United States! The time is 1970 or 1980 or, possibly, tomorrow! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some film reference works (e.g., the multivolume set, "The Motion Picture Guide") incorrectly list Jack Mullaney's character as "Lt. Hough". "Hough" is the last name of this character in the novel upon which the film is based. See more »

Goofs

When Harold McPherson introduces Gen. Scott for his speech at the American Veterans Order convention in New York, he says that Scott is "the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor and two Distinguished Service Crosses". However several closeups of the ribbons on Gen. Scott's blouse seen during the film do not support this statement. The highest decoration among his ribbons is for the DSC, not the Congressional Medal of Honor for which he is not wearing a ribbon at all. Scott's DSC ribbon also does not have a device attached to it to indicate a second award that Mr. McPherson said he had won. Scott's DSC, which is only awarded to members of the Army (including the Army Air Force), would have been won by him during WWII as opposed to the Korean War (he wears campaign ribbons indicating service in both conflicts) as it was no longer awarded to Air Force personnel after 1947 when the Air Force became a separate service. (The Navy and Marine Corps equivalent award is the Navy Cross and after 1947 the Air Force became the Air Force Cross.) See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
President Jordan Lyman: [to reporters at a televised press conference] There's been abroad in this land in recent months a whisper that we have somehow lost our greatness, that we do not have the strength to win without war the struggles for liberty throughout the world. This is slander, because our country is strong, strong enough to be a peacemaker. It is proud, proud enough to be patient. The whisperers and the detractors, the violent men are wrong. We will remain strong and proud, peaceful and patient, ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time of the Apes (1991) See more »

User Reviews

 
Seven Days in May Was Anything But Far-fetched
12 January 2006 | by msilbergeld-1See all my reviews

The novel and the movie Seven Days in May were based on a very potential reality. See James Bamford's 2002 book, Body of Secrets, which is about the National Security Agency. General Edwin Walker, mentioned in another review, was only the least of what was going on in the higher echelons of the U.S. military near the end of the Eisenhower Administration and the beginning of the Kennedy-Johnson Administration.

At military bases, and even at the National War College in Washington, the most rabid preachings took place about the real threat of communism coming not from Russia or Cuba, but from high-ups in the domestic power structure, including the government. The entire Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), led by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, was very right wing and rabidly obsessed with the idea that American civilization could not endure unless Cuba was militarily conquered and occupied in the long-term. They repeatedly threw suggestions for this at Eisenhower, who never took the bit. When Ike left the Oval Office and Kennedy, who had never been a military higher-up, replaced him, Lemnitzer felt adrift and became very paranoid. There were all sorts of JCS contingency plans, never implemented, for creating an incident that could be blamed falsely on the Russians and/or the Cubans to justify an invasion - a sort of second sinking of the battleship Maine. The more far-fetched of these ideas included terrorism at home to be blamed on Cuba and an attack on a friendly Central American country that could be falsely blamed on Cuba, all without the President's approval. Lemnitzer, according to Bamford, had little use for the concept of civilian control of the military. In fact,enough of this atmosphere within the U.S. military was in the wind that there was a secret Congressional inquiry into the potential for a military takeover of the government, which was based on more than idle wonder. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee (the father of the recent Vice President), a member of the investigating committee, called for Lemnitzer's firing. Kennedy did not fire him, but did not re-appoint him to a second term as Chairman, preferring the more rational Maxwell Taylor.

When the book came out, I stayed awake for 24 hours to finish it. I could not put it down. Mercifully, the film is shorter, but it is superbly acted and very well scripted. You won't be disappointed.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seven Days in May See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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