6.8/10
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22 user 8 critic

The Second Civil War (1997)

A simple immigration issue spins wildly out of control for those involved, ranging from the President of the United States, to a news producer.

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Jimmy Cannon
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Maj. Gen. Charles Buford
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Storyline

An interesting story about a future United States where immigration has gone too far. Through a series of mishaps and mayhem several state 'militias' assist Idaho in order to protect them from the LONG ARM of the Federal government. Written by Walt Adkins <walt@dtcc.edu>

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It's not just a war anymore. It's a media event. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some war violence | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La segunda guerra civil  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was produced for American cable television, but received a theatrical release in several West-European countries. See more »

Quotes

Governor of Idaho: Politics is just another form of sex.
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Connections

References All My Children (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, criminally overlooked satire
25 December 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Joe Dante's brilliant, stinging political satire The Second Civil War was awarded a pitifully limited cable release on HBO instead of the wide distribution it deserves, and I think that may have something to do with the fact that it hit a bit too close to home for some people with scarily accurate portrayal of the thoroughly idiotic state of mind that is present in every aspect of American politics. Come to think of it, the film was really prophetic when I think of how mangled things are in our neighbours disillusioned abode. Dante is a director who usually sticks to gooey fantasy/horror/comedy such as Gremlins or The Burbs, but here he ventures into the real world, without losing an ounce of his comic streak. There's trouble brewing stateside when renegade Idaho Governor Jim Farley (daft Beau Bridges) announces that he's closing his state's borders to immigrants, conveniently right at the time when Mexican refugees are scheduled to be brought in. This causes an uproar across the land as his immature antic catch the attention many different key players across the board. Ironically, he's shagging a sexy Mexican publicist (Elizabeth Pena, RIP) who is appalled with his behaviour. The frustrated US President (Phil Hartman) sends dapper 'fixer' Jack Buchan (James Coburn nails the darkly odd tone) who finds himself in over his head. Suddenly the Governor mobilizes troops to secure the state border, and schit gets real when the President retaliates by stationing forces of his own surrounding Idaho. The country seems to be on the brink of a ridiculous yet very plausible conflict of 'civil' proportions. Tension gets widespread when a hotshot New Network CEO (Dan Hedaya) and his drastic right hand man (Ron Perlman) send rogue report Denis Leary to cover the story. There's also additions to the unbelievably good cast from James Earl Jones, Roger Corman, Brian Keith, Johanna Cassidy, Dick Miller and more. The comedic tone abruptly shifts to deadly serious as actual violence erupts and we know that the film means business as our laughs go up in tank smoke as we get uncomfortable at the mirror being held. It's satire, it's fun but it's also a warning at the dangers of impulsive decision making and uneducated lunacy. At heart it's a comedy though, and a criminally overlooked one at that.


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