A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a ... See full summary »



Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Cunningham
Logan (as Heather Menzies)
Joseph Welch
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith
Mrs. DeCamp
Sen. Scott Lucas
Karen Carlson ...
Wisconsin Farmer
Logan's Boss


A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a national power base when he later planned to run for President. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


Not Rated




Release Date:

6 February 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La chasse aux sorcières  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Burgess Meredith, who plays the attorney Joseph Welch who finally stood up to Senator McCarthy, was himself named an unfriendly witness by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which nearly ruined his acting career. See more »


JOSEPH WELCH: Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream that you could be so reckless, and so cruel, as to do an injury to that lad. Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency?
See more »

Crazy Credits

This program presents a dramatized interpretation of the life and times of Senator Joe McCarthy. Some of the names have been changed and the reporters and some of the persons interviewed have been created to serve as narrators of incidents based upon actual occurrences. See more »

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User Reviews

Well worth seeing, if you can find it
15 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This TV movie from the late Seventies is one of Peter Boyle's finest performances. He captures everything about Senator McCarthy perfectly, especially the strange cadence of his speech. I must strongly disagree with those who would say that McCarthy has been "vindicated" by history: on the contrary, the evidence is even stronger now than at the time that the witch hunt in which he was engaged was very, very wrong, and completely against what makes America strong. We are who we are because we can dissent and discuss opposing views without fear of assassination, character or otherwise. Joe McCarthy engaged in the politics of fear, and this film makes that point very well. Yes, the film is slanted against McCarthy, but that is because he himself was so one-sided. Again, TAIL GUNNER JOE is well worth seeing, but it doesn't show on air or cable very often. It has not been issued on DVD, but let's hope that it is soon, so that its message cam be heard by any thinking person, and that Peter Boyle's performance can be savored.

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