7.1/10
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221 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 »
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:

Is this life imitating art in the film that preceded the biggest news story of 1998. 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

The talk show phone number, 1-800-555-0199, is common to many films and television shows, because this is the only number that has been reserved by the phone company as an allowable fake 1-800 number for media usage. See more »

Goofs

While Conrad and Winifred are on the airport to fly to L.A., on the TV screen during the news report, Santa Fe is written Sante Fe. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Motss: Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud, and it looks a hundred percent real. It's the best work I've ever done in my life, because it's so honest.
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Crazy Credits

Dustin Hoffman's main title credit is faded in over a close up of a vacuum cleaner. See more »

Connections

Referenced in From Washington to Hollywood ...And Back (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

I Like The Nightlife
Written by Alicia Bridges & Susan Hutcheson
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User Reviews

Fascinating and Interesting.
3 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

Barry Levinson's under-rated "Wag the Dog" is a brilliant piece of satire which is to the 1990s what "All the President's Men" was to the 1970s. The president is in trouble after a sexual scandal with an under-aged girl. Enter Robert DeNiro and Anne Heche who want to distract the nation with something else as they try to get their boss out of the hot seat. The only problem is: nothing is going on. So it is up to them to create something to rally the country around the executive-in-chief. Now enter sleazy, but high class Hollywood director Dustin Hoffman (in a well-deserved Oscar-nominated turn) who is contacted to start an imaginary war. He agrees and the plan works, but as time goes by more and more problems occur and the lies continue to snow-ball. Levinson's excellent direction and Hilary Henkin's clever screenplay raise the performances of all involved. Naturally DeNiro and Hoffman are guaranteed to excel in a film like this, but good work is also done by people like Heche, Denis Leary, William H. Macy, Woody Harrelson and even Willie Nelson (!?). Somewhat ignored in 1997, but still one of the best films of that year and one of the more important films of the 1990s. 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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