A portrayal of the Lyndon B. Johnson (Sir Michael Gambon) Presidency and its spiralling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara (Alec Baldwin) 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 Robert F. Kennedy (himself) and Governor George Wallace (Gary Sinise). Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford (Donald Sutherland), 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
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 »
George Ball, Undersecretary of State:
[Looking at McNamara and being slightly drunk]
Look at him! His wife's got an ulcer. His kid's got an ulcer. Everybody's got Bob McNamara's ulcer but Bob McNamara. Sometimes I think it's all just a Goddamn academic exercise to him.
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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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