Candy (1968 film)

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Candy movieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byChristian Marquand
Produced byRobert Haggiag
Screenplay byBuck Henry
Based onCandy
by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyGiuseppe Rotunno
Edited byGiancarlo Cappelli
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 17, 1968 (1968-12-17) (United States)
  • February 5, 1970 (1970-02-05) (Italy)
  • August 19, 1970 (1970-08-19) (France)
Running time
124 minutes
  • France
  • Italy
  • United States
Budget$2.7 million[1]
Box office$16.4 million[2]

Candy is a 1968 sex farce film directed by Christian Marquand from a screenplay by Buck Henry, based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, itself based on Voltaire's 1759 Candide. The film satirizes pornographic stories through the adventures of its naive heroine, Candy, played by Ewa Aulin. It stars Charles Aznavour, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, John Huston, Walter Matthau, and Ringo Starr. Popular figures such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Anita Pallenberg, Florinda Bolkan, Marilù Tolo, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Umberto Orsini, and Enrico Maria Salerno also appear in cameo roles.


High school student Candy Christian seemingly descends to Earth from space. Following a poetry recital at Candy's school, eccentric Welsh poet MacPhisto offers her a ride home in his limousine. En route, MacPhisto forces himself on her, but is unable to proceed after becoming too inebriated. With the help of her Mexican gardener, Emmanuel, Candy takes MacPhisto inside in order to help him out of his liquor-soaked clothes. In the basement, MacPhisto drunkenly recites poetry while humping a mannequin, inciting Emmanuel to sexually assault Candy. Scandalized upon walking in on the scene, Candy's uptight father (also her high school teacher) decides to send her away to live with his twin brother Jack and his wife Livia in New York City.

At the airport, the family is accosted by Emmanuel's three vengeful sisters, who accuse Candy of corrupting their brother. During the scuffle, Candy's father is rendered unconscious due to a head injury. The Christians escape by boarding a military plane commanded by General Smight, who later orders Candy to undress while expressing a desire to impregnate her. Meanwhile, he accidentally pushes the button that signals his paratroopers to leap from the plane. When General Smight realizes this, he jumps as well, only to slip out of his parachute harness.

Upon landing in New York, Dr. Krankheit meticulously performs surgery on Candy's father in front of an audience. When Uncle Jack attempts to seduce Candy during a post-operative cocktail party, the hospital's executive director, Dr. Dunlap, berates her for her perceived lewd behavior, causing her to faint. Dr. Krankheit takes Candy to another room and tricks her into sex by pretending to examine her. While searching for her father, Candy wanders back into the operating room to find that Dr. Krankeit has branded all the nurses with his initials, as he prepares to do so to Livia. When he attempts to have Candy captured so that she is next, she flees the hospital.

After wandering aimlessly on the streets of New York, Candy ends up in a Sicilian bar, where she is beset by a group of mobsters, until an offbeat underground filmmaker, G3, shows up, taking her into the men's room and shooting her for a film. As the room floods due to broken pipes, two policemen arrive and assault G3, whereupon a drenched Candy escapes. In Central Park, she meets a hunchback who takes her into a deserted mansion later that night. A gang of thieves walks in and proceeds to ransack the place, while the hunchback rapes Candy on top of a grand piano. After arresting Candy, the two policemen maliciously plan to frisk her. However, they lose control of their squad car and crash into a club full of drag queens. As mayhem ensues, Candy escapes again.

The next morning, Candy asks for a ride in the back of a semi-trailer truck, which turns out to be the sanctum of Grindl, a sham guru. He talks Candy into sex by taking her through the "seven stages" of enlightenment. After several days on the road, Grindl informs Candy that a different guru will guide her through the rest of her journey. Upon arrival in California, Candy is chased through the desert by the New York police officers, but she manages to outwit them. Shortly thereafter, Candy finds her new guru—a robed figure sporting a toucan on his shoulder, his face covered with white clay. She follows him into an underground Hindu temple, which then partially collapses due to a cataclysm. As the two proceed to have sex, Candy is shocked to discover the guru is actually her brain-damaged father, after his face is washed clean.

As Candy wanders across a field—surrounded by flapping banners and hippies playing music—she revisits many of the characters she met throughout the film, before finally returning to outer space.



Coburn said "That film could have been a lot more funny. Unfortunately, the director's timing was of a European nature. The jokes were always a beat behind. They were often a beat off. When you do comedy, you've got to be fast. I think (star) Ewa Aulin only did two films after Candy. Then she married an Italian count or baron. That was also the only film that I made any money on. I had a percentage of the profits. Marlon Brando and Richard Burton had the same deal. It's very unusual for an actor to see anything extra. Of course, that was before the studios set up their Chinese bookkeeping system (laughs)."[3]


Candy was one of many psychedelic films that emerged as the 1960s ended, along with Yellow Submarine, The Trip, Psych-Out, and Head. The film opened to moderate box office, but later became a cult classic from the psychedelic years of film. It was the 18th highest-grossing film of 1968.

According to Variety, the film earned North American rentals of $7.3 million, but because of costs (including over $1 million paid out in participation fees), recorded an overall loss of $25,000.[1] It was the 12th most popular film at the UK box office in 1969.[4]

Reviews were generally positive with a few misgivings. In a review representative of most professional reviewers at the time, Roger Ebert found it "a lot better than you might expect" but missed the "anarchy, the abandon, of Terry Southern's novel".[5] Renata Adler of The New York Times decried "its relentless, crawling, bloody lack of talent".[6]

In 1969, the film earned Aulin a nomination for New Star of the Year – Actress at the 26th Golden Globe Awards.[7]

The film's soundtrack included "Rock Me", an original song from Steppenwolf which became a top-10 success for the band in the spring of 1969.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 57% based on 7 retrospectively collected reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10.[8]

Home media[edit]

Candy was released on DVD by Anchor Bay on April 10, 2001, as a region 1 widescreen DVD, and was released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber on May 17, 2016, as a region A widescreen Blu-ray.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses". Variety. May 31, 1973. p. 3. ISSN 0042-2738.
  2. ^ "Candy (1968)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Goldman, Lowell (Spring 1991). "James Coburn Seven and Seven Is". Psychotronic Video. No. 9. p. 23.
  4. ^ "The World's Top Twenty Films". Sunday Times. September 27, 1970 – via The Sunday Times Digital Archive.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 26, 1968). "Review: Candy (1968)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 10, 2020 – via
  6. ^ Adler, Renata (December 18, 1968). "Screen: 'Candy,' Compromises Galore; Film Faithful in Spirit to Satirical Novel". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ewa Aulin". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "Candy (1968)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2018.

External links[edit]