7.1/10
72,160
219 user 137 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

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ON DISC
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
2,392 ( 86)
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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Liz Butsky
Michael Belson ...
President
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Amy Cain
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A.D.
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Pet Wrangler
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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:

Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog. 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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,079, 28 December 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,022,524, 3 May 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$64,217,092
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jay Leno: As himself. See more »

Goofs

On the blackboard stating the days until the election, the number 8 is written twice. See more »

Quotes

[discovering that their "hero" is actually a convict]
Winifred Ames: When we asked for "special programs", they gave us special prisons.
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Yeah, well... little bit of a difference.
Winifred Ames: Has he been in jail long?
Stanley Motss: [reading a file] Twelve years.
Winifred Ames: Does he have much longer to serve?
Stanley Motss: Mmm.
Winifred Ames: What did he do?
Stanley Motss: He raped a nun...
Winifred Ames: Oh, God. Oh, God. Jes... oh, God!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Bob Roberts (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

I Guard The Canadian Border
Written by Tom Bähler and Willie Nelson
Performed by Willie Nelson
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User Reviews

 
Doesn't quite hit it's stride...
16 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

As the calibre of the talent involved would suggest Wag The Dog is a very well acted and directed film, however for some strange reason it isn't a particularly satisfying one.

Perhaps that is mainly due to the fact that it is somewhat of a one joke idea, or maybe it's due to the fact that with current events as they are it's all too plausible and the whole thing of late is somewhat comically overexposed. Whatever it may be in the end you can't help but feeling that the film somehow missed a beat somewhere along the line and ultimately wasn't all that it should or could have been.

That is not to say that this isn't an entertaining film, it is. From the fistful of great performances from Robert Deniro, Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson and especially Dustin Hoffman who seems to be relishing his role here, to the well played supporting roles filled out by the likes of William H. Macy, Craig T. Nelson, Kirsten Dunst et al 'Wag The Dog' has all the talent performing admirably. It also has a sharp, amusing script (by Hilary Henkin & David Mamet, based on the novel "American Hero" by Larry Beinhart) going for it and Barry Levinson's direction is top notch, but despite being quite entertaining, it also seems too slight by half, and just not focused or funny enough to quite make everything work successfully at the end of the day.

Regardless of it's flaws Wag The Dog is still a fun, well made and entertaining film that deserves to be seen and enjoyed, it just isn't quite able to reach the lofty peak that it aspires to. But just so long as you don't go in expecting an hilarious rib tickler of political satire it's a pretty fair bet that you will be suitably entertained.

One man's opinion. 7.5/10


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