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Path to War (2002)

In the mid-1960s, President Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Frain ...
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General Earle G. Wheeler
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Marny Clifford
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Walt Rostow
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Adam Yarmolinsky
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Storyline

A portrayal of the Johnson presidency and its spiraling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers, President Johnson finds his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also depicts his political skills as he crosses swords with political foes such as Bobby Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people and announces that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968 election. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond the battlefields of Vietnam. Inside the halls of power. A different kind of war would decide the fate of a nation. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

18 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sur le chemin de la guerre  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast unites three actors who portrayed American presidents: Michael Gambon plays Lyndon Johnson in this film; Gary Sinise played Harry Truman in _Truman (1995)(TV)_ and Philip Baker Hall portrayed Richard Nixon in Secret Honor (1984). See more »

Goofs

At one point Robert McNamara tells President Johnson that there are 13 US battalions in Vietnam, and goes on to say this is 51,000 troops. This would mean approximately 4,000 troops per battalion. Given that a US battalion would only have 500-800 troops he is actually talking about 13 brigades (each containing several battalions) and not 13 battalions. See more »

Quotes

Lyndon Baines Johnson: How many planes will we lose?
Gen. Earle 'Buzz' Wheeler: 20 to 25.
Lyndon Baines Johnson: How many casualties?
Gen. Earle 'Buzz' Wheeler: 50.
Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense: 50 to 300 is my estimate, and if the bombs miss, it can go as high as 12,000, with fifty percent of these civilians and fifty percent of those killed.
Gen. Earle 'Buzz' Wheeler: Of course, we don't plan these strikes to miss our targets.
Lyndon Baines Johnson: But you do miss sometimes. And this time you could hit a Russian ship. And the bomber pilot will be a kid from Johnson City, Texas, and that'll be the kid that starts World War III, thank you very much.
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Connections

Featured in The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(aka "Butterfield's Lullaby" and "Day Is Done") (uncredited)
Composed by Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield (1862 arrangement of earlier melody "Scott Tattoo")
Played during necrology of Vietnam dead on TV.
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User Reviews

 
Excellent and truly compelling...
4 October 2003 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

effort at depicting the essence of Lyndon Johnson and his tragic presidency. Michael Gambon is a superb actor and his portrayal of the 36th president is by far the best I've seen yet. Most films depict LBJ as essentially some Texan buffoon without a clue. In reality, Johnson was a superb politician whose hopes and dreams for his country were ultimately thwarted by a war he never wanted in the first place. 'Path to War' shows how a man with all the strength, talent and skill to do potentially great things finds himself losing the battle on both fronts. The war on poverty that he so dearly cared for being defeated by the war in Vietnam, and as his own administration and the country turn against him, the downfall of a political giant.

I would suggest that this film be shown in high school classrooms as a way to educate our young people about LBJ, the man, his times and his legacy. Vilifed though he may be by many, 'Path to War' is truly a fantastic portrayal of the human side of the man and how he struggled to do what he thought was right for his country and for the world.


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