7.1/10
69,472
219 user 135 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a presidential sex scandal.

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Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,645 ( 288)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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CIA Agent Charles Young
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John Levy
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Grace
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Michael Belson ...
President
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Amy Cain
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A.D.
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Director
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Storyline

After being caught in a scandalous situation days before the election, the president does not seem to have much of a chance of being re-elected. One of his advisers contacts a top Hollywood producer in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media. Written by Christy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Hollywood producer. A Washington spin-doctor. When they get together, they can make you believe anything. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bite the Bullet  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$92,079 (USA) (26 December 1997)

Gross:

$43,022,524 (USA) (1 May 1998)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of five cinema movie collaborations of actor Dustin Hoffman and director Barry Levinson. The films are Sphere (1998), Sleepers (1996), Rain Man (1988), Wag the Dog (1997), and Tootsie (1982). The latter was the only one of these five pictures that Levinson did not direct as he was one of the movie's uncredited screenwriters. Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for Rain Man (1988), which also won the Best Picture Academy Award, and the Best Director Oscar for Levinson, winning 4 Academy Awards in total. See more »

Goofs

Air Force One is diverted to Boca Raton, which does not have a runway big enough to handle it. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Motss: [Referring to Schumann] It's okay, he's not dead.
Stanley Motss: [after a gunshot is heard] Uh, strike that.
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Crazy Credits

"Special Thanks to The Cast and Crew for Completing Principal Photography in 29 Days!" See more »

Connections

References The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Barracuda
Written by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Michael DeRosier and Roger Fisher
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User Reviews

 
The Best Political Satire Since Dr. Strangelove
25 November 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Rarely can film satire make you laugh and be worried about the future at the same time. Levinson's film does just that, with a great cast and great writing, this film succeeds.

You may have noticed that many of the posts and reviews argue that this is not plausible. Obviously these posters do not realize that satire is supposed to be over the top and show what can happen in extremes, and ironically, this came out just after Clinton's sex scandal, and is still relevant today with George W. and will continue to be regardless of the president. Also, some may think it oversimplifies the public as idiots, but this isn't true, especially if they are being deceived and information is withheld. There are some implausibilities, as in why no reporters went to Albania or how other countries didn't get involved other than denying the charges, but these are small and even addressed in scenes with the rival candidates, news reporters and even CIA head William H. Macy.

Really I don't know how anyone can not like this film since it is smart, funny and scary all at once with fine performances and direction all around. This is an American political satire classic that is sadly becoming less satire as time goes on.

OVERALL: 9/10. Buy or at least rent before the satire becomes reality.


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