7.1/10
71,243
219 user 136 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 »
Reviews
Popularity
2,176 ( 3,302)

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:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Liz Butsky
...
...
...
...
Grace
...
Michael Belson ...
President
...
Amy Cain
...
A.D.
...
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:

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 »

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  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,079, 28 December 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,022,524, 3 May 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$64,217,092
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite their hectic schedules, Barry Levinson and David Mamet were able to communicate via phone and fax to put together what they felt was a viable draft script. Once the screenplay was delivered, Jane Rosenthal rallied the troops, and quickly assembled a table reading with Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, and several other talented actors and actresses, many of whom appeared in this movie. See more »

Goofs

The correct word in Spanish for senator is "Senador", not "Sénador", as it appears on Spanish-language TV when referring to the opposition leader. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Motss: Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud, and it looks a hundred percent real. It's the best work I've ever done in my life, because it's so honest.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Howdy Doody Show (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

News And Presidential Campaign Music
Written, Arranged, Produced and Performed by Evan Kopelson and Walter Werzowa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Best Political Satire Since Dr. Strangelove
25 November 2004 | by 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.


112 of 122 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 219 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Steven Spielberg's Most Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs

"The IMDb Show" takes a look at the new trailer for Ready Player One and breaks down director Steven Spielberg's five greatest Easter eggs of all time. Plus, we connect the dots between IMDb's Top 10 Stars of 2017.

Watch now