The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American black and white neo-noir Cold War suspense thriller film scripted by George Axelrod, from the 1959 Richard Condon novel The Manchurian Candidate, produced by Axelrod and John Frankenheimer, directed by Frankenheimer, and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Janet Leigh; co-starring are Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, and James Gregory. The Manchurian Candidate concerns the brainwashing of the son of a prominent political family, who becomes an unwitting assassin in an international communist conspiracy.
The film, which includes an unlikable character from the Soviet Union who is visiting New York to participate in the brainwashing of Harvey's character, was released in the United States on October 24, 1962, at the height of U.S.-Soviet hostility during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was well-received and was nominated for two Academy Awards. In 1962 it was seen by far fewer people, however, than other classic films released that year such as Lawrence of Arabia, Lolita and The Miracle Worker. The Manchurian Candidate was selected in 1994 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."