7.1/10
70,308
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.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

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 comedy about truth, justice and other special effects. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

With a twenty-nine day production schedule and a modest US $15 million budget, the picture relied on an intelligent storytelling and genteel character development to dramatize the ultimate whitewash at the White House. See more »

Goofs

When the CIA pulls over Conrad's and Winifred's limousine, Winifred says "Uh, Connie..." and "What's happening?" In that brief moment between lines, her arm changes position and her cell phone disappears. See more »

Quotes

Tracy Lime: What would they do to me if I did tell someone about this?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: They could come to your house in the middle of the night and kill you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Macy About Mamet (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Good Old Shoe
Written by Edgar Winter
Performed by Willie Nelson & Roebuck 'Pops' Staples (as Pops Staples)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Short & sharp satire on media manipulation
4 January 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

During the campaign to re-elect the president of America, an underage sex scandal between a girl scout and the president in the oval office. To divert attention spin doctor Conrad Brean is called in to manage the fall out and hold it off for the 11 days till the election. Conrad employs Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to produce a war in Albania to divert the media away from the real story.

This was made before Clinton was accused of misconduct with Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent re-start of military action in Iraq. This seemed to give it a much greater feel of realism and much more credibility. However even before this happened it was still a very sharp and very good satire on political spin, but also managing to have a dig at Hollywood movie types. The story is told in a very stage-play fashion and is dialogue driven with very funny moments throughout. It's not as terrifying as a real look at media manipulation could be because it chooses to be a comedy instead but it still makes plenty of valid points.

The two leads are excellent at the head of an all-star cast. De Niro manages to be a professor-style character while at the same time having an easily accessible sense of menace just beneath the surface. Hoffman is good sending up Hollywood producers well and drawing parallels between the creation of a film and the creation of political news stories. The cast also has a series of cameos and extended cameos who add both humour and quality to the film - Willie Nelson, Denis Leary, James Belsuhi, William H Macy etc.

Recently in the UK we've had huge problems with spin doctors running the Labour Government - to the extent that 11th September was described as "good" by one as it gave them the chance to bury several bad news stories that they had stored up. And more recently with various Governments' waging a media war to win support their stance regarding military action. This film doesn't make hugely serious points but it does make you think about how the media is used to shape public perception and make us think what those in charge want us to think.

Overall a very funny, very clever satire that has a great cast, the only criticism being that it stretches it's point a little too far with the "old shoe" section.


32 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?