7.1/10
69,707
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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Popularity
4,080 ( 1,952)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Urban Dictionary, the meaning of the phrase 'Wag the Dog' is "when something of secondary importance improperly takes on the role of something of primary importance. The expression pre-dates the movie by the same name [Wag the Dog (1997)], and was NOT coined by said movie." 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

Stanley Motss: I'm in show business, yes? Why come to me?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Well I'll tell you why, Mr Motss. '54-40-Or Fight', what does that mean?
Stanley Motss: It's a slogan, it's from the, uh...
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: 'Remember the Maine'!
Stanley Motss: Oh yeah, that's from - that's gotta be from the, uh...
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: 'Tippecanoe and Tyler Too'!
Stanley Motss: No, that's not, uh...
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: They're war slogans, Mr. Motss. We remember the slogans, we can't even remember the fucking wars. You know why? That's show business. That's why we're here. Naked girl covered in Napalm. 'V for Victory'. Five Marines ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #1.4 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I Like The Nightlife
Written by Alicia Bridges & Susan Hutcheson
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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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