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Wag the Dog (1997)

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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.



(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,508 ( 258)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
CIA Agent Charles Young
John Levy
Michael Belson ...
Amy Cain


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


Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bite the Bullet  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dustin Hoffman ad-libbed the line, "He didn't sell it." See more »


The small private jet which the main characters and Sgt. Schumann board has two engines. When the jet is about to crash, a shot of the cockpit shows throttle and engine controls for a four-engine plane. See more »


Conrad 'Connie' Brean: A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dustin Hoffman's main title credit is faded in over a close up of a vacuum cleaner. See more »


Referenced in S1m0ne (2002) See more »


Courage Mom
Written by Merle Haggard
Performed by Merle Haggard and The Strangers
See more »

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User Reviews

A truly great satire
21 June 2002 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

It had been a while since I last watched this film, but I once again remembered the reasons why I loved it so. Thoughtful and evocative, this film really captured the nature of politics and spin doctoring. This certainly ranks as one of the best political comedies of all time. The over-the-top attitude of the film didn't detract from anything, making this still quite believable. It also demonstrated how people's emotions can be manipulated when aggressively attacked. The fragile nature of the human spirit tends to make us more susceptible to such manipulations, as demonstrated in this film. With the exception of Anne Heche, everyone's performance in this film was rather good. The only other downside was Mark Knopfler's score, which was completely out of place in this film.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A really BAD film!! teekay70
Wouldn't the Albanian government have been able to refute the "war"? highlandpercussion
Please explain why it wasn't BORING + CHILDISH kag2-1
Patronising godels_sprog
Was DeNiro the 'real' president? mrbisco
They did this movie already in 1995 dreamerboi23
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