What Is the Movie "Scandal" About?


Quick Answer

The 1989 film "Scandal" tells the true story of Stephen Ward, who groomed promising young women and introduced them to prominent people. There are dire consequences when it becomes public that an exotic dancer he took in has slept with the British defense minister.

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Full Answer

John Hurt plays Ward in the retelling of the scandal that rocked Britain in the 1960s. Ward helped turn a dancer, a poor girl named Christine Keeler, into someone comfortable in high society circles. Keeler, played by Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies, played by Bridget Fonda, find themselves among some of the most powerful men of the time.

Defense Minister John Profumo eventually admits to Parliament that he lied about being involved with Keeler, and the ensuing scandal has wide-ranging effects, including bringing down the Conservative government. Ward's life also falls apart, and the movie casts Ward as the harmless scapegoat in the affair. He is portrayed as merely a friend of Keeler in the film, whereas the government at the time portrayed their relationship differently. He was brought to trial and was found guilty of profiting from a prostitute's earnings, a verdict he never heard because he killed himself in the middle of the trial.

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