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Path to War (2002)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, War | TV Movie 18 May 2002
In the mid-1960s, President Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writer:

Daniel Giat
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Gambon ... Lyndon Johnson
Donald Sutherland ... Clark Clifford
Alec Baldwin ... Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense
Bruce McGill ... George Ball, Undersecretary of State
James Frain ... Richard Goodwin
Felicity Huffman ... Lady Bird Johnson
Frederic Forrest ... General Earle G. Wheeler
John Aylward ... Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Philip Baker Hall ... Everett Dirksen
Tom Skerritt ... General William Westmoreland
Diana Scarwid ... Marny Clifford
Sarah Paulson ... Luci Baines Johnson
Gerry Becker ... Walt Rostow
Peter Jacobson ... Adam Yarmolinsky
Cliff De Young ... McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor (as Cliff DeYoung)
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Storyline

A portrayal of the Johnson presidency and its spiraling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers, President Johnson finds his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also depicts his political skills as he crosses swords with political foes such as Bobby Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people and announces that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968 election. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

While one war was being fought in Vietnam another was being fought in the White House. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

HBO Films [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Path to War See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Frankenheimer was a close friend of Lyndon Johnson's political rival Bobby Kennedy (having even driven Kennedy to the Ambassador hotel the night he was assassinated). Frankenheimer admitted that his view of Johnson was negative at the time, but he gradually came to have a more sympathetic perspective and that was his motivation for making the film. See more »

Goofs

At one point Robert McNamara tells President Johnson that there are 13 US battalions in Vietnam, and goes on to say this is 51,000 troops. This would mean approximately 4,000 troops per battalion. Given that a US battalion would only have 500-800 troops he is actually talking about 13 brigades (each containing several battalions) and not 13 battalions. See more »

Quotes

Lyndon Baines Johnson: Pack your suitcase, we're goin' to Vietnam.
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Connections

Featured in The 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Eyes of Texas
Written by John Lang Sinclair
Performed by The Rick Fleishman Orchestra
Played as theme song for LBJ
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent and truly compelling...
4 October 2003 | by OnthethresholdSee all my reviews

effort at depicting the essence of Lyndon Johnson and his tragic presidency. Michael Gambon is a superb actor and his portrayal of the 36th president is by far the best I've seen yet. Most films depict LBJ as essentially some Texan buffoon without a clue. In reality, Johnson was a superb politician whose hopes and dreams for his country were ultimately thwarted by a war he never wanted in the first place. 'Path to War' shows how a man with all the strength, talent and skill to do potentially great things finds himself losing the battle on both fronts. The war on poverty that he so dearly cared for being defeated by the war in Vietnam, and as his own administration and the country turn against him, the downfall of a political giant.

I would suggest that this film be shown in high school classrooms as a way to educate our young people about LBJ, the man, his times and his legacy. Vilifed though he may be by many, 'Path to War' is truly a fantastic portrayal of the human side of the man and how he struggled to do what he thought was right for his country and for the world.


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