7.2/10
77,104
233 user 145 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
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:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

Larry Beinhart (book), Hilary Henkin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Stanley Motss
Robert De Niro ... Conrad Brean
Anne Heche ... Winifred Ames
Woody Harrelson ... Sgt. William Schumann
Denis Leary ... Fad King
Willie Nelson ... Johnny Dean
Andrea Martin ... Liz Butsky
Michael Belson Michael Belson ... President
Suzanne Cryer ... Amy Cain
John Michael Higgins ... John Levy
Suzie Plakson ... Grace
Kirsten Dunst ... Tracy Lime
Jason Cottle ... A.D.
David Koechner ... Director
Harland Williams ... Pet Wrangler
Learn more

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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the filming of this movie, director Barry Levinson and Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro had an impromptu co-incidental meeting at a Washington, D.C. hotel with President Bill Clinton. Clinton asked De Niro: "So what's this movie about? De Niro looked over to Levinson, hoping that he would answer the question. Levinson, in turn, looked over to Hoffman. Hoffman, realizing there was no one else, to whom to pass the buck, is quoted as saying, "So I just started to tap dance. I can't even remember what I said." See more »

Goofs

When the CIA pulls over Conrad's and Winifred's limousine, Winifred says "Uh, Connie..." and "What's happening?" In that brief moment between lines, her arm changes position and her cell phone disappears. 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

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

Connections

References Capricorn One (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(uncredited)
Composed by Daniel Butterfield (as Butterfield)
[heard when Schumann's body arrives]
See more »

User Reviews

 
A truly great satire
21 June 2002 | by Agent10See all my reviews

It had been a while since I last watched this film, but I once again remembered the reasons why I loved it so. Thoughtful and evocative, this film really captured the nature of politics and spin doctoring. This certainly ranks as one of the best political comedies of all time. The over-the-top attitude of the film didn't detract from anything, making this still quite believable. It also demonstrated how people's emotions can be manipulated when aggressively attacked. The fragile nature of the human spirit tends to make us more susceptible to such manipulations, as demonstrated in this film. With the exception of Anne Heche, everyone's performance in this film was rather good. The only other downside was Mark Knopfler's score, which was completely out of place in this film.


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Details

Official Sites:

Barry Levinson | Production Notes 1 | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Albanian

Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bite the Bullet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,079, 28 December 1997

Gross USA:

$43,061,945

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$64,256,513
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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