Candy (1968 film)

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. 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.

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]


High school student Candy (Ewa Aulin, former Miss Teen Sweden) seemingly descends to Earth from space. In the relatively simple plot, she naively endures an escalating series of situations in which her oblivious allure triggers satirical porn-film-like encounters. Roger Ebert wrote "Candy caroms from one man to another like a nympho in a pinball machine, and the characters she encounters are improbable enough to establish Terry Southern's boredom with the conventions of pornography."[3]

In school, her father (John Astin) is also her teacher. At a poetry recital, eccentric poet McPhisto (Richard Burton) offers Candy a ride home in his limousine. At her home, McPhisto drunkenly waxes boisterously poetic, arousing Candy and her gardener Emmanuel (Ringo Starr) into sex. Scandalized, she and her family escape from Emmanuel's three vengeful sisters and head for New York, where she embarks on a psychedelic journey, and she meets a number of strange people, including a sex-starved military general (Walter Matthau), a doctor who performs public operations (James Coburn), a hunchback (Charles Aznavour), an obsessed underground filmmaker (Enrico Maria Salerno), and a fake Indian guru (Marlon Brando). As the film ends, she meets a wise guru in an Indian temple (who turns out to be her brain-damaged father in disguise), revisits some of the characters she met in the film, wanders into the desert, and then returns to outer space.


Screen debut

This was the solo film acting debut of then Beatle Ringo Starr; Starr had previously appeared alongside his bandmates John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison in A Hard Day's Night (1964), Help! (1965) and Magical Mystery Tour (1967). Starr continued appearing in movie roles through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s — including another film based on a Southern novel, The Magic Christian — while he continued his music career.


Candy was one of many psychedelic movies that appeared as the '60s ended, along with Yellow Submarine, The Trip, Psych-Out, and Head. The film opened to mixed 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 movie 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".[3] Renata Adler decried "its relentless, crawling, bloody lack of talent".[5]

The film's soundtrack included "Rock Me", an original song from Steppenwolf which became a Top 10 hit 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.[6]

Home media

Candy was released to DVD by Starz/Anchor Bay on April 10, 2001 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD, and was released to Blu-Ray by Kino Lorber on May 17, 2016 as a Region 1 widescreen Blu-Ray.

See also


  1. "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses". Variety. May 31, 1973. p. 3.
  2. "Candy (1968)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  3. Ebert, Roger (December 26, 1968) Review: Candy (1968) Chicago Sun Times Last accessed 2010-03-23.
  4. "The World's Top Twenty Films". Sunday Times. September 27, 1970 via The Sunday Times Digital Archive. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. Adler, Renata (December 18, 1968). "Screen: 'Candy,' Compromises Galore; Film Faithful in Spirit to Satirical Novel". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  6. "Candy (1968)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
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