7.1/10
72,471
219 user 137 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

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0:33 | Trailer

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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 »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Stanley Motss
... Conrad Brean
... Winifred Ames
... Sgt. William Schumann
... Fad King
... Johnny Dean
... Liz Butsky
Michael Belson ... President
... Amy Cain
... John Levy
... Grace
... Tracy Lime
... A.D.
... Director
... 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:

A comedy about truth, justice and other special effects. 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dustin Hoffman and Barry Levinson did this movie while on a break from making Sphere (1998). See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Stanley Motss: The war isn't over 'til I say it's over. This is my picture - this is NOT the CIA's picture. You think you're in a tight spot now? Alright, Conrad, try making The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse - tell 'im, King.
Fad King: Three of the horseman died.
Stanley Motss: Hear what he's saying? Three of the horseman DIED. Two weeks before the end of principal photography. This is NOTHING. This is nothing, this is - this is - this is just, "Act One, The War". Now we really do need an Act Two.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Reese Witherspoon/Alicia Keys (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Wag The Dog?
Written and Performed by Mark Knopfler
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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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