7.1/10
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222 user 137 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

Trailer
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:

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
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

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, 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 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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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

The small private jet which the main characters and Sgt. Schumann board has two engines. When the jet is about to crash, a shot of the cockpit shows throttle and engine controls for a four-engine plane. See more »

Quotes

[Commissioned to write a propaganda song about war with Albania]
Johnny Dean: Albania's hard to rhyme.
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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 DVTV: Jakub Michálek (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The American Dream
Written by Tom Bähler
Performed by Tom Bähler and Friends
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User Reviews

The greatest political satire ever
11 October 2004 | by msapirSee all my reviews

I do not understand the people who did not like the movie. For me this is the greatest political satire since Chaplin's "The great dictator". Both de Niro and Hoffman are great as well. This movie is not about Clinton although they did predict correctly the Kosovo war, and Albanian terrorists. It is about American political system which is made by and for TV. Several lines from that movie ("Why Albania?" - "Why not?", "Albania does not rhyme", "What do you remember about the Gulf war? One smart bomb... I was in that building when we shot that shot", and many more) are impossible to forget because everyday political life does not let us forget them.


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