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Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 484 users   Metascore: 66/100
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The Murrow, Polk, and IDA Award-winning documentary Boogie Man is about Lee Atwater, a blues-playing rogue whose rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star. ... See full summary »


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Title: Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008)

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Credited cast:
Eric Alterman ...
Lee Atwater ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Connie Chung ...
Herself (archive footage)
Joe Conason ...
Himself (as Rep. Tom DeLay)
Tucker Eskew ...
Howard Fineman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Willie Horton ...
Himself (archive footage)
Chuck Jackson ...
Mary Matalin ...


The Murrow, Polk, and IDA Award-winning documentary Boogie Man is about Lee Atwater, a blues-playing rogue whose rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star. He mentored George W. Bush and Karl Rove while leading the Republican party to historic victories, helping make liberal a dirty word, and transforming the way America elects our Presidents. In interviews with Republicans and friends of Atwater, Boogie Man examines his role in America's shift to the right. To Democrats offended by the 1988 Willie Horton controversy, Atwater was a remorseless political assassin dubbed by one Congresswoman "the most evil man in America." The film examines his irreverent sense of humor, his understanding of the American heartland, and his unapologetic vision of politics as war. It ends with a portrait of a cynic's deathbed search for meaning. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"He taught the Democrats to sing the blues." -George H.W. Bush See more »



Official Sites:




Release Date:

26 September 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,939 (USA) (26 September 2008)


$60,332 (USA) (7 November 2008)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director/Producer Stefan Forbes won the 2008 International Documentary Association's Jacqueline Donnet Award for Emerging Filmmaker, an award which was won the year before by his friend Ted Braun (Darfur Now.) See more »


References Dracula (1931) See more »


Death Bells
by Lightning Hopkins
See more »

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User Reviews

Brings up some good points, but a very clear example of yellow journalism
27 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First off, this wasn't an entirely bad movie. I found it to be an interesting look into Lee Atwater and his life. It also shows his strong impact upon the Republican Party. Additionally, we get to see how Atwater's tactics may have helped play a role in Bush, Sr.'s defeat of Dukakis back in 1988.

However, this movie is yellow journalism at its finest. The director falsely portrays Atwater as a one-dimensional, evil genius (who became evil because of a tragic incident involving the death of his little brother) who was the godfather of dirty mudslinging politics as we know it, and who had nothing redeeming about him. Dirty politics have always been around, and with some comprehensive reading, it becomes obvious that Atwater was not the one who started dirty politics. Also, the film makes it seem like everyone around him was a hapless, stupid puppet who quickly became a servant (or a victim) of the godfather Atwater and his evil empire. Additionally, the only characters who appear human in this video are, of course, Atwater's Democratic and Republican political rivals, while everyone else was just puppeted by Atwater. And surely, Atwater didn't just join the GOP just because he had no competition. He would certainly have to have agreed with at least some of what the GOP was saying, rather than just trying to do nothing except win all the time and be the one who controls the political "horse race".

All in all, while this movie is interesting, it reaches very silly conclusions about Atwater as a person and his role in contemporary politics.

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