7.1/10
70,314
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 »

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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:

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:

 »
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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dustin Hoffman based the mannerisms and delivery for his film industry producer character of Stanley Motss on both his father and on real life legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans. See more »

Goofs

While Conrad and Winifred are on the airport to fly to L.A., on the TV screen during the news report, Santa Fe is written Sante Fe. See more »

Quotes

Conrad 'Connie' Brean: You watched the Gulf War, what do you see day after day? The one smart bomb falling down the chimney. The truth? I was in the building when we shot that shot - we shot in a studio, Falls Church, Virginia. One-tenth scale model of a building.
Stanley Motss: Is that true?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: How the fuck do we know? You take my point?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Green Berets (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guard The Canadian Border
Written by Tom Bähler and Willie Nelson
Performed by Willie Nelson
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User Reviews

Fascinating and Interesting.
3 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Barry Levinson's under-rated "Wag the Dog" is a brilliant piece of satire which is to the 1990s what "All the President's Men" was to the 1970s. The president is in trouble after a sexual scandal with an under-aged girl. Enter Robert DeNiro and Anne Heche who want to distract the nation with something else as they try to get their boss out of the hot seat. The only problem is: nothing is going on. So it is up to them to create something to rally the country around the executive-in-chief. Now enter sleazy, but high class Hollywood director Dustin Hoffman (in a well-deserved Oscar-nominated turn) who is contacted to start an imaginary war. He agrees and the plan works, but as time goes by more and more problems occur and the lies continue to snow-ball. Levinson's excellent direction and Hilary Henkin's clever screenplay raise the performances of all involved. Naturally DeNiro and Hoffman are guaranteed to excel in a film like this, but good work is also done by people like Heche, Denis Leary, William H. Macy, Woody Harrelson and even Willie Nelson (!?). Somewhat ignored in 1997, but still one of the best films of that year and one of the more important films of the 1990s. 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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