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The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, History, War  |  5 March 2004 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 18,310 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 153 user | 142 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

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Title: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Storyline

Documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, who subsequently became president of the World Bank. The documentary combines an interview with Mr. McNamara discussing some of the tragedies and glories of the 20th Century, archival footage, documents, and an original score by Philip Glass. Written by Richard Latham

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for images and thematic issues of war and destruction | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Fog of War  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$41,449 (USA) (19 December 2003)

Gross:

$4,193,943 (USA) (14 May 2004)
 »

Company Credits

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Eleven Lessons" listed in the film are as follows:
  • 1. Empathize with your enemy.


  • 2. Rationality will not save us.


  • 3. There's something beyond one's self.


  • 4. Maximize efficiency.


  • 5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.


  • 6. Get the data.


  • 7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.


  • 8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.


  • 9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.


  • 10. Never say never.


  • 11. You can't change human nature.


See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Per contact at the Errol Morris Foundation, the date is 8/5/1964, and the clip is from Press Conference on The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, National Archives #111-LC-48220]
Robert McNamara: [archival footage from the press conference on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 5 August 1964] Is this chart at a reasonable height for you? Or do you want it lowered? All right. Earlier tonight - first let me ask the TV, are you ready? All set?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director of Officeland Security: Jackpot Junior See more »


Soundtracks

Behind the Moon
(uncredited)
by Philip Glass
Ocean Mountain Music
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User Reviews

 
Honest Account of Important Lessons Learned
8 June 2004 | by (Olathe, KS, USA) – See all my reviews



I just watched the movie the "Fog of War". It is a candid interview with Robert McNamara. He is an 85 year old veteran of WWII and was Secretary of Defense under John Kennedy and Lydon Johnson. Of course, that made him Secretary during the Viet Nam war.

It is an amazing account of the lessons learned from a man who lived in interesting times in a powerful position of influence. I get the sense that it is exceptionally honest - about both the success and failures. It was directed by Earl Morris and has a kind of refreshing balance that is NOT present in the films of Michael Moore. I highly recommend this movie.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the movie is that the lessons McNamara learned are still not understood by the Bush administration with respect to the Iraq conflict. The parallels to that conflict and the conflict in Iraq are scary. Once of the eleven enumerated lessons are a need to respect and understand the culture of the people with whom you are engaged in conflict. He made the statement that he believes that the reason that the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 ended peacefully was that they reached a point where they really tried to understand the Soviets. The reason that Viet Nam failed is that we never learned to understand the culture of the people of Viet Nam. He also mentioned that none of our allies with largely shared values were opposed to our involvement in Viet Nam. We should have recognized that as a warning sign that perhaps we were doing something wrong.

Scary, isn't it!


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