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(2004), R
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
SCORE out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), R -- More like The Manchurian Murders.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Jonathan Demme
Producer(s): Jonathan Demme, Ilona Herzberg, Peter Kohn, Scott Rudin, Tina Sinatra
Novel: Richard Condon
Screenplay: George Axelrod (1962), Daniel Pyne, Dean Georgaris
Cinematography/Camera: Tak Fujimoto
Music: Toni C., KRS-One, Rachel Portman
Film Editing: Carol Littleton, Craig McKay
Casting: Kathleen Chopin, Laura Rosenthal
Production Design: Kristi Zea
Art Direction: Teresa Carriker-Thayer
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

This analysis is dedicated to the K, G, C, and One-on-the-way H family for their very generous donation, and to another who also made a very generous donation who does not even want initials used.

The Manchurian Candidate. More like The Manchurian Murders. At least seven murders plus other deaths. This puppy is a real "R" -- in Wanton Violence/Crime and Murder/Suicide, but nothing else. It is either "PG-13" or "PG" in everything the other four CAP investigation areas. The scoring distribution of this film lends perfectly to a "refresher" in how the CAP Analysis Model works.

The density of assaults on morality and ethics in this film is not as severe as most R-rated films. Indeed, it is lighter than most R-rated films as evidenced by the Final Score being equivalent to some PG-13 films. A hardcore PG-13 but PG-13 nonetheless. Well!? Valenti of the MPAA told us PG-13 is just a slice off the top of R anyway.

While the Sexual Immorality score of 78 may seem "tame" to some, an issue of perversion is shown as a mother shows sexual interest in her adult son. This is a good opportunity to remind you that just because an investigation area (W, I, S, D, O, M) score might, on the surface, seem acceptable does not mean the film is "tame" in that investigation area. If the score is less than 100 in any investigation area there is/are some assault/s on morality and decency present in that investigation area and it/they could be very bad. Please do not think of the CAP scoring as a school test score where 70 is "passing" or 95 is an "A."

Even if only one demonstration of sexual immorality is found, verbal or visual, the film could lose from one to three points in Sexual Immorality (S), depending on the severity of the demonstration of immorality. But that one example of sexual immorality could be extremely offensive to you while being only mildly offensive to others. However reliable the numbers generated by the model are for making comparisons and however accurate they have been for nearly ten years, using only the numbers as anything more than incentive to investigate more deeply would indeed be incomplete. Please read also the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. It is as much an integral part of the analysis model as the numbers. Indeed, the numbers are generated (by computer) using the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. The numeric scoring, their comparative display and the listing in the Findings/Scoring section have all the bases covered.

The story canopy of this 2004 version is reportedly essentially the same as the original 1962 version of the same title (PG-13 IAW It is a story of military and political underhandedness to cover up wrongdoings. The wrongdoings included political maneuvers to change the power curve in vice presidential competition and of recollections of what actually happened in a military battle in Kuwait during Desert Storm. The story connected these two matters very well.

Captain Bennett E. Marco (Denzel Washington) commanded a military team in Kuwait. While on a mission, the team was attacked and two men were killed. Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) won a Congressional Medal of Honor for single-handedly destroying an enemy helicopter using a machine gun. Or so it would seem.

Years later, Captain Marco became Major Marco stationed in Washington and Sergeant Shaw became a US Senator. Dreams, rather, nightmares about the Kuwait battle kept haunting Marco, making him come apart at the military seams. While giving a speech at a Boy Scout gathering to honor him, one of Marco's men from Kuwait, Al Melvin (Jeffrey Wright) approached Major Marco with a different accounting of the Kuwait melee, an accounting for which Marco seemed to have faint memory ghosts that agreed with the altered story of events of the Kuwait melee. Now thoughts were revived that maybe his official recollection as the unit commander were not entirely accurate.

Bothered by the memory ghosts and the unbearable confusion they created, Marco began an investigation to find the truth about whether he and one of his team were murderers

Senator Raymond Prentiss Shaw, son of Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (Meryl Streep) was destined (by his mother) to be a vice presidential candidate. Manipulations (spelled u-n-d-e-r-h-a-n-d-e-d-n-e-s-s) of and by some very powerful people and corporations seemed to ensure the candidacy of Senator R. Shaw, even against opposition by the great Senator Thomas Jordan (Jon Voight). Brainwashing became a powerful tool in the run for vice presidential candidacy. Was brainwashing used to alter the facts about the Kuwait melee, too?

Maybe someday I will conduct an analysis of the 1963 version of this film just to offer another comparative analysis to reveal the decay of morality in modern filmmaking. Even the MPAA feels the earlier version with a PG-13 rating is not as morally invasive as this R-rated 2004 version.

In addition to violence, murders and the rather perverted sexual immorality which I very seriously doubt was in the original [Rev. 22:15; 1Ths. 4:1-5], this film contains 12 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary including one use of the most foul of the foul words [Col. 3:8] plus two uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and five without [Deut. 5:11].

As I asked you above, please read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section every time you chose to use our analysis reports to help you make an informed moral decision whether a film is or is not fit for your family. Don't depend on just this Summary/Commentary or just the scoring to make your decision.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • [Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs [animals], those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.]
  • 1Ths. 4:1-5 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [The many admonitions our Lord has given us against sexual immorality may be summed up as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct (including thought) or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    The Manchurian Candidate (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • military warfare with deaths
  • nightmare recall sequences, repeatedly
  • invasive surgical procedure, repeatedly
  • bizarre drawings of evil & murder, repeatedly
  • bleeding hole in forehead to suggest gunfire injury
  • self surgery to remove subcutaneous implant
  • assault with bodily harm
  • pictures of gore
  • additional assault
  • torture/brainwashing gore, repeatedly
  • choking assault
  • control by firearm
  • planning assassination
  • assault rifle
  • body gore, graphic
  • cover up of murder
  • attempted suicide
  • gunfire injury to prevent suicide

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 12 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • a single use of the most foul of the foul languages
  • mother using son for personal gratification

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • man in shower
  • man in towel only
  • adult in underwear
  • cohabitation for sex (unseen)
  • woman in underwear
  • mother showing sexual interest in adult son

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)
  • two uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and five without
  • gambling

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder by suffocation
  • two gunfire murders under mind control
  • double drowning murder under mind control
  • double gunfire murder



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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