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

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The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara -- Academy Award(r)-winner for Best Documentary Feature, THE FOG OF WAR is the story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President Kennedy and President Johnson, Robert S. McNamara.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara -- A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara -- HV post

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   18,879 votes »
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View company contact information for The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 March 2004 (USA) See more »
Plot:
A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 14 wins & 11 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Still Confident and Brilliant, Still Seeking to Hold the Moral High Ground See more (153 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Robert McNamara ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Fidel Castro ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Barry Goldwater ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Lyndon Johnson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

John F. Kennedy ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Nikita Khrushchev ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Curtis LeMay ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Errol Morris ... Interviewer (voice) (uncredited)

Richard Nixon ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Harry Reasoner ... Himself - TV interviewer (archive footage) (uncredited)

Franklin D. Roosevelt ... Himself (voice) (archive footage) (uncredited)
Woodrow Wilson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Errol Morris 
 
Produced by
Julie Ahlberg .... producer
Robert Fernandez .... co-producer
Jon Kamen .... executive producer
Adam Kosberg .... associate producer
Jack Lechner .... executive producer
Robert May .... executive producer
Errol Morris .... producer
Ann Petrone .... associate producer
Frank Scherma .... executive producer
John Sloss .... executive producer
Michael Williams .... producer
 
Original Music by
Philip Glass (original music by)
 
Cinematography by
Robert Chappell (director of photography) (as Bob Chappell)
Peter Donahue (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Doug Abel (edited by)
Chyld King (edited by)
Karen Schmeer (edited by)
 
Production Design by
Ted Bafaloukos 
Steve Hardie 
 
Set Decoration by
Liz Chiz 
 
Makeup Department
Donyale McRae .... make-up
Maria Scali .... makeup: interviews
 
Production Management
Tonya Bertram .... production supervisor
Brad Fuller .... post production supervisor
Sarah Gold .... production supervisor: China
Dia Sokol Savage .... production supervisor (as Dia Sokol)
Ben Schneider .... production supervisor: Berlin shoot (uncredited)
Ronald Vietz .... production manager: Germany (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lennie Appelquist .... first assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Jennifer Ho .... art department coordinator
Steve McNulty .... art director: interviews
Gary Shartsis .... property master
Chris Tragert .... prop assistant
Daniel Turk .... construction coordinator (as Dan Turk)
Jim Utter .... leadman
 
Sound Department
Coll Anderson .... supervising sound editor
Dan Bora .... additional engineer
Stephen Bores .... production sound mixer: interviews (as Steve Bores)
Brian Bowles .... dialogue editor
Hector Castillo .... recording engineer
Lee Dichter .... re-recording mixer
Sean Garnhart .... sound effects editor
Harry Higgins .... recordist
Terrance Laudermilch .... recordist (as Terry Laudermilch)
Ichiho Nishiki .... technical assistant
Tom Paul .... sound designer
Christian Rutledge .... production assistant: sound department
Marilyn Teorey .... assistant sound editor
Sean Garnhart .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Daniel Perlin .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Robin Hobart .... visual effects supervisor
Zachary Morong .... 3D animator
Evan Olson .... animation
Evan Olson .... visual effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Sumaya Agha .... still photographer: interviews
Martin Albert .... gaffer: interviews
Dave Cambria .... gaffer: interviews
Steve Cardellini .... key grip
John Cardoni .... gaffer
Tim Carr .... key grip
Joe Christofori .... first camera assistant: interviews
Gregory Daniels Jr. .... first assistant camera (as Greg Daniels)
Elsa Dorfman .... portrait photographer: interviews
Claire Folger .... still photographer: interviews
Aaron Kaikko .... video assistant
Roger Marbury .... key grip: interviews
Robert Ragozzine .... first assistant camera (as Bob Ragozzine)
John Raugalis .... gaffer (as John Ragaulis)
Daisy Smith .... second assistant camera
Timothy M. Sweeney .... second camera assistant: interviews (as Tim Sweeney)
Peter Thomas .... gaffer
Brett Van Ort .... second assistant camera
Frans Wetterings III .... best boy: interviews (as Frans Weterrings)
Billy Witherington .... best boy grip (as Bill Witherington)
Eric Zimmerman .... first assistant camera
Glenn Corbett .... best boy (uncredited)
Tyrone Hoogendyk .... dolly grip: Germany (uncredited)
Charlie Newberry .... camera loader: Washington D.C. (uncredited)
Mark Walpole .... second assistant camera: Washington D.C. (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eddie Marquez .... wardrobe
Critter Pierce .... wardrobe assistant
Julie Vogel .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Eric Alvarado .... digital intermediate systems colorist
Steven Hathaway .... associate editor
Peter Heady .... high definition on-line editor
Fred Heid .... color timer
Danny Hogan .... editorial assistant: io (as Dan Hogan)
Tom Karras .... colorist assistant
Dan Mooney .... associate editor (as Daniel Mooney)
Benjamin Murray .... digital intermediate titling
Charles Silver .... editorial consultant
Joe Violante .... coordinator: Technicolor
Tricia Wilk .... post-production assistant
 
Music Department
Cat Celebrezze .... associate music producer
Don Christiansen .... producer: CD soundtrack
Jim Keller .... executive music producer
John Kusiak .... additional music
Nico Muhly .... score preparation
Kurt Munkacsi .... music producer
Ichiho Nishiki .... music assistant
Michael Riesman .... musical director
 
Other crew
Christian Akers .... production assistant
Jamie Anschultz .... production assistant
Heidi August .... production accountant
Sarah Belanger .... intern
Kara Bilof .... studio manager
James Blight .... special advisor
Paul Brennan .... production counsel: Sloss Law Office
John Cefalu .... location manager
Karen Corsica .... production coordinator: interviews
Jeff Crocker .... research assistant (as Jeffery Crocker)
Matthew Davey .... laser film recording: Arri
Christopher Fadale .... technical supervisor: interviews (as Chris Fadale)
Joe Harley .... intern
Kevin Hayes .... production coordinator
Peter Heady .... io data editorial
Paul Hu .... photo: McNamara and Nguyen Co Thach
Jeff Huston .... laser film recording: Arri
Claire Jones .... research assistant
Chris Kasick .... assistant to the director (as Chris 'Ox' Kasick)
Dan Kemp .... location manager
Katherine Kim .... intern
Jason Kohn .... research assistant
Alex Kreuter .... graphics supervisor
Jeff Krulik .... research assistant
Janet Lang .... special advisor
John Latenser V .... location manager
Paul Loram .... research assistant
Justin Milner .... intern
Nico Muhly .... assistant: to Philip Glass & Michael Riesman
Ann Petrone .... archival research supervisor
Dina Marie Piscatelli .... production coordinator
Luke Poling .... production assistant
Andy Rice .... research assistant
Justin Rice .... assistant to the director
Ben Schneider .... assistant to production
Julia Sheehan .... special advisor
John Sloss .... production counsel: Sloss Law Office
Tim Spitzer .... executive producer: HD & data services
Shawn Tabor .... military consultant
Shawn Tabor .... research assistant
Jared Washburn .... office production assistant
 
Thanks
James Blight .... acknowledgment: archival footage and photographs provided by
Tim Bono .... special thanks
John Canaday .... special thanks
Jonny Cranson .... special thanks
Frances Fitzgerald .... special thanks
Ellen Fitzpatrick .... special thanks
Chris Florio .... special thanks
Deborah Fortson .... special thanks
Jim Gardner .... special thanks
Jane Gillooly .... special thanks
Harvey Goldberg .... in memory of: University of Wisconsin history professor
Alfred Guzzetti .... special thanks
Peter Hall .... special thanks
Alison Harris .... special thanks
Steven Harris .... special thanks
Paul Jankowski .... special thanks
Caroline Kaplan .... very special thanks
Alice Kelikian .... special thanks
Craig McNamara .... acknowledgment: archival footage and photographs provided by
Craig McNamara .... special thanks
George L. Mosse .... in memory of: University of Wisconsin history professor
Jamie Mylar .... special thanks
Tom O'Malley .... special thanks
Kenn Rabin .... special thanks
Deborah Ricketts .... special thanks
Ron Rosenbaum .... special thanks
Jay Rubin .... special thanks
Elizabeth Sadoff .... special thanks
Jonathan Sehring .... very special thanks
Gary Stern .... special thanks
Rosemary Taylor .... special thanks
Kathryn Tucker .... special thanks
Patricia Vanderbeek .... special thanks
Lawrence Waschler .... special thanks
Lewis D. Wheeler .... special thanks (as Lewis Wheeler)
Bonnie Willette .... special thanks
Kyla Wilson .... special thanks
Dino Zervos .... special thanks
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Fog of War" - International (English title), USA (short title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for images and thematic issues of war and destruction
Runtime:
95 min | USA:107 min (theatrical version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Errol Morris's wife jokingly nicknamed his interviewing device the Interrotron, which is what it later became known as.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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
67 CitiesSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
155 out of 168 people found the following review useful.
Still Confident and Brilliant, Still Seeking to Hold the Moral High Ground, 20 December 2003

My first encounter with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara was in the late spring of 1966 when, as a young Army Intelligence officer just rotated back from Asia, I was assigned to the General Staff in the Pentagon and directed to brief him. The first of a number of occasions when I either briefed the secretary or, more often, was a resource aide to a senior officer, I was cautioned by a nervous lieutenant colonel to expect questions but never, absolutely never, to ground my response in "intuition." It was the pre-Powerpoint age but all briefers were admonished to either have facts best supported by charts and numbers or to simply confess ignorance.

I acquitted myself reasonably well and there followed almost a year and a half of observing the nation's highest defense officials and generals in the superheated pressure cooker atmosphere of what we called the "Puzzle Palace."

Gifted documentarian Errol Morris's "Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" is a vital and presciently timely examination of a past that can repeat itself with incalculable harm to the United States. Interpolating documentary film clips from World War II through Vietnam with excerpts from an extensive interview with McNamara, the camera always focused on the alert, articulate and still (controllingly) brilliant eighty-six year old former secretary, Morris quickly takes viewers through his early life getting quickly to World War II. Then as an officer specializing in systems analysis he became a significant analyst whose studies supported the carpet bombing of Japan. His comments about General Curtis "Bombs Away with Curt LeMay" LeMay reflect his transition from wartime admiration for a superb combat leader to distrust of a four-star Air Force chief of staff champing at the opportunity to use nuclear weapons while we still had a commanding edge in what came to be called Mutual Assured Destruction.

Interesting and important as McNamara's early war activities were, the crux of his life and the undying source of charge, defense and recrimination is his stewardship of the Defense Department during the early and mid years of the Vietnam conflict.

Where Michael Moore wears his views on his sleeve and on the screen through entertaining ridicule and now predictable pillorying of his subjects, Morris wisely and effectively lets McNamara tell his story, prompted by an off-screen inquisitor whose tone is neither hostile nor friendly. The evidence supports McNamara's claim that he sought disengagement during the Kennedy years and he repeats the unprovable belief that J.F.K. would never have permitted the escalation that followed his death (McNamara's account of being Kennedy's right-hand cabinet man during the Cuban Missile Crisis can only leave viewers dry-mouthed as the implications of the Cold War cat-and-missile game clearly emerge as truly bringing the specter of nuclear conflagration to near reality).

McNamara frames his eleven life lessons, none startling new advances in philosophical thought. He joins many scholars and advocates of binding international law, the majority of whom have never heard a shot fired, in arguing for the concept of proportionality in the exercise of force. He never seems to realize that contemporary armed conflict is very different, politically and militarily, from his wars.

While stating sorrow for what war has wrought, and recognizing his own role, he never apologizes and credibly advances his message for the future through the technique of universalizing: mankind has a problem with violence. I was doing the best I could.

Tapes of conversations with President Johnson, who eventually fired him with such subtlety that the Defense Secretary had to ask a friend whether he had resigned or been canned, are especially fascinating. Fractal shards of a once close and then disintegrating relationship, the brief excerpts illustrate just how little both the President and McNamara actually knew (McNamara made many trips to Vietnam-I remember them well. Each time he came back with a positive spin on what was an unraveling military and political situation).

At the Pentagon I was struck by the almost total concurrence McNamara's policies and statements enjoyed among civilian leaders and generals alike. McNamara, I thought then and now, was not a man who needed sycophants. He was simply so sure he was right that it probably never occurred to him to wonder why he rarely encountered disagreement. I particularly remember Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Earle Wheeler as a mindless echoer of the secretary's thoughts.

A brilliant documentary and a fair one too. McNamara clearly wants this film to be part of his legacy without it being an apologia.He does admit the United States was wrong in misjudging the nature of Vietnam and its history, wrong about assessing on-the-ground intelligence and wrong in not securing support from nations with traditions and values similar to ours (a curious and somewhat Europhilic anachronism). At the end he clearly and brusquely cuts off questions about personal guilt that, I'm sure, he will never be ready to address. Fair enough.

I generally dislike any music by Philip Glass but in this film the minimalist score works very well against the documentary images. It would have been a big mistake for Morris to use the folk and protest music of the past.

Morris is probably the finest, from an intellectual standpoint, documentarian working today in the U.S.

10/10 (because of its enduring archival and current thought-provoking value)

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Am I the only one bothered by the targeting of 'wooden houses' of Tokyo Errand
would rumsfeld do one of these? Main14
Lesson #11 'You can't change human nature' is wrong. CougherNL
Flat out Brilliant chris-1149
No Allied support ? Really kittyandme-412-615199
What is it that McNamara isn't saying in the epilogue? albin-morner
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