Director John Frankenheimer worked with writer Rod Serling to create the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Martin Balsam, John Houseman (in his first film role), Ava Gardner, and the great Fredric March.

Based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey, Seven Days In May depicts what happens when a military plot to overthrow the United States government is uncovered one week before the President is scheduled to deliver his State Of The Union Address. Though it contains a minimum of action, the film is nonetheless gripping, suspenseful, and, at several points, outright nerve-wracking.

It also boasts a famous confrontation scene between Lancaster and March toward the end of the movie which Frankenheimer often said was his personal favorite of all the scenes he had directed. Considering that his career spanned five decades, that's no small recommendation. That confrontation sequence remains on of the most taut, literate, and brilliantly directed sequences I have ever seen.

Movie Information

Running Time: 118 minutes

Rating: PG

Producer/Director: John Frankenheimer

Screenwriter: Rod Serling

Music: Jerry Goldsmith


Burt Lancaster: Gen. James Mattoon Scott
Kirk Douglas: Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey
Fredric March: President Jordan Lyman
Ava Gardner: Eleanor 'Ellie' Holbrook
Edmond O'Brien: Sen. Raymond Clark
Martin Balsam: Paul Girard
Andrew Duggan: Col. William 'Mutt' Henderson
Hugh Marlowe: Harold McPherson
Whit Bissell: Sen. Frederick Prentice
Helen Kleeb: Esther Townsend
George Macready: Christopher Todd
Richard Anderson: Col. Murdock
Bart Burns: Art Corwin
John Houseman: Vice-Adm. Farley C. Barnswell (uncredited)