The Manchurian Candidate script
Synopsis: Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares. He begins to doubt that his fellow squad-mate Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), now a vice-presidential candidate, is the hero he remembers him being. As Marco's doubts deepen, Shaw's political power grows, and, when Marco finds a mysterious implant embedded in his back, the memory of what really happened begins to return.

FADE IN:

2 EXT. DESERT - NIGHT 2

PROWLING ACROSS undulating land dotted with BURNING OIL

WELLS that give the vague impression of, well, hell. The

inky sky is awash with stars.

ON THE CREST OF A DUNE

A U.S. ARMY BRADLEY FIGHTING VEHICLE and matching HUMMER

sit, waiting.

KUWAIT, 1991

Muffled THUMP of rap music thrums from the Bradley, and low

voices stray from the open doors of the Hummer.

MARCO (O.S.)

Why can’t we go directly in ...

3 INT./EXT. THE HUMMER - NIGHT 3

A topographical MAP glows on the LCD screen of a laptop

portable, faintly lighting the faces of CAPT. BEN MARCO and

his big, gentle, French guide, LAURENT TOKAR.

MARCO:

(pointing)

... this way --?

LAURENT:

Yes, well -- I see the Captain enjoys the

road less travelled.

Marco is seemingly unflappable, completely engaged by life.

MARCO:

The Captain enjoys not dragging his ass

down the highway for every Tom, Dick and

Qadhafi to take a whack at.

Laurent swings his finger on the arc of approach.

8/18/03 2.

LAURENT:

Well. Of course it is very bad, here.

And here. And here, here, here, here --

MARCO:

Mines?

LAURENT:

Tricky. Swedish-made.

MARCO:

Dammit.

He refers to some satellite surveillance maps --

MARCO:

Nobody at Command said anything about --

LAURENT:

Exxon and Global Petroleum hired private

contractors to do the work in ’86, as

part of their asset security program.

(beat)

Hired an Iraqi firm, in fact, who, now,

well -- only they know where the little

Nordic fuckers are planted.

MARCO:

(turns away)

Sgt. Shaw!

No response.

And we RUSH TOWARD: A SOLDIER IN A LAWN CHAIR, face lifted

to the heavens, sitting directly between the two armored

vehicles. This is SGT. RAYMOND PRENTISS SHAW, late

twenties, haunted and aloof.

MARCO:

(suddenly behind him)

Sergeant.

RAYMOND:

Sir.

MARCO:

Rolling in two minutes.

RAYMOND:

Yes sir.

Beat.

MARCO:

Everything okay?

8/18/03 3.

RAYMOND:

Yes, Captain. Everything’s fine.

(standing up)

I’ll "rally" the troops.

Here.

4 INT. THE BRADLEY FIGHTING VEHICLE - NIGHT 4

MUSIC blares around eight soldiers, including wiseguy PFC.

ED MAVOLE, crowded into space designed for four --

MAVOLE:

Yo Melvin. You gonna play that hand, or

hatch it?

-- CPL. AL MELVIN grunts, then they all look up, almost in

unison, at Raymond when he swings open the back door. PFC.

BOBBY BAKER, a slender man, barely eighteen, a driver,

ejects a CD from the onboard stereo. Silence.

RAYMOND:

We’re moving out.

5

Beat. He shuts the door again.

EXT. THE BRADLEY - NIGHT 5

Raymond waits. Another beat.

inside the vehicle.

Then some LAUGHTER from

He shifts his shoulders, walks back into the darkness.

6 OMITTED 6

7 OMITTED 7

8 INT. HUMMER - NIGHT - TRAVELLING 8

Marco, bug-like in night goggles, drives the infamous

Highway of Death -- a macabre landscape of abandoned cars,

trucks, minivans, shopping baskets, broken wooden pushcarts

and festering fires; pots and pans and clothes and personal

belongings are scattered out into the desert on either side

of the road. Laurent rides shotgun. Raymond is in the

back, facing forward, rifle at ease.

RAYMOND:

Captain?

MARCO:

Sergeant?

RAYMOND:

Why don’t I ever ride in the Bradley with

the other enlisted personnel?

8/18/03 4.

MARCO:

(hesitates)

Maybe I enjoy your company, Sergeant.

RAYMOND:

Sir, I don’t want to be singled out for

special treatment because of my mother’s

position --

MARCO:

Too late for that, Shaw. As a charter

member of the Lucky Sperm Club your

benefits include unlimited suck-up from

High-ranking Officers hoping to curry

Congressional favor for their future

career moves. But. If you want to ride

in the Bradley, hey, I got no objections.

RAYMOND:

(worried)

Trust me, sir, I don’t wish to ride in

the Bradley with the others, I’m just ...

(beat)

The men don’t care for me very much.

MARCO:

No, they don’t. But. On the plus side,

you don’t really like them, either.

RAYMOND:

That’s absolutely correct, Captain.

So. See?

MARCO:

It, you know. Balances out.

-- Uh-oh.

LAURENT:

Marco follows Laurent’s gaze out the side window --

9 NIGHT VISION GOGGLES: JUST OVER A DUNE 9

SOLDIERS ON CAMELS slip along like ghosts, pacing the

Hummer, parallel at maybe fifty yards --

WHIP PAN:

Through the driver’s side window: more of the CAMEL CAVALRY

tracks with them --

Camels.

MARCO:

You gotta be kidding me.

10 BACK TO - HUMMER - MARCO 10

glancing to his rear-view mirror --

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Daniel Pyne

Daniel Pyne is a writer and producer, known for Fracture (2007), Any Given Sunday (1999) and The Sum of All Fears (2002). more…

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"The Manchurian Candidate" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 25 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_manchurian_candidate_494>.

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