8.2/10
20,970
155 user 141 critic

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)

Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director:

Errol Morris
Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses his career in Washington D.C. from his days as a congressman in the early 1960s to planning the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Donald Rumsfeld, Errol Morris
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An exploration of the careers of four unrelated professionals: a lion tamer, a robotics expert, a topiary gardener, and a naked mole rat specialist.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks
Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis
Horror | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

John Millhouse has just returned home after four years of service in The United States Army. He wants nothing more than to return to a 'normal' life, but the horrors of war and his never ... See full summary »

Director: Les Norris
Stars: Benhur Sito Barrero, Adam Fortner, Katie Mackey
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, is one of the great minds of all time.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary on the eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Albert Bitterling, Roscoe Collins, George Harris
Tabloid (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson
Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An engaging walk through some of the key inventions of th last century and some major achievements. IBM invented the barcode. IBM created the airline reservation system. IBM created the ... See full summary »

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Homer Ahr, Fred Brooks, Gregory Chaitin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Robert McNamara ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Former corporate whiz kid Robert McNamara was the controversial Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during the height of the Vietnam War. This Academy Award-winning documentary, augmented by archival footage, gives the conflicted McNamara a platform on which he attempts to confront his and the U.S. government's actions in Southeast Asia in light of the horrors of modern warfare, the end of ideology and the punitive judgment of history. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for images and thematic issues of war and destruction | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 March 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fog of War See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,449, 21 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,193,943, 16 May 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Eleven Lessons" listed in the film are as follows:
  • 1. Empathize with your enemy.
  • 2. Rationality will not save us.
  • 3. There's something beyond one's self.
  • 4. Maximize efficiency.
  • 5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
  • 6. Get the data.
  • 7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
  • 8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
  • 9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
  • 10. Never say never.
  • 11. You can't change human nature.
See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Per contact at the Errol Morris Foundation, the date is 8/5/1964, and the clip is from Press Conference on The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, National Archives #111-LC-48220]
Robert McNamara: [archival footage from the press conference on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 5 August 1964] Is this chart at a reasonable height for you? Or do you want it lowered? All right. Earlier tonight - first let me ask the TV, are you ready? All set?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director of Officeland Security: Jackpot Junior See more »

Connections

Features CBS Reports: McNamara and the Pentagon (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Across the World
(uncredited)
by Philip Glass
Ocean Mountain Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Grappling with a Difficult Film
7 November 2004 | by PhilipSee all my reviews

If you possess an especially smug view of history's finality, this film may not do a great deal to impress you. For the rest of us, however, Errol Morris presents a truly complex picture of a clearly complex man.

Many of the reviews I read of the film complain that there doesn't seem to be a main point that emerges from the film or its eleven "lessons," which are admittedly too cute by half in many cases. The point, though, is the complexity itself. The point is that history is bigger than its main players, and inscrutably difficult to judge in a definitive moral sense. I don't think I will ever forget McNamara's probing, clearly emotional questioning of the rules of war or the lack thereof, when he discusses how one evening he and general Curtis LeMay decided to burn to death 100,000 people in the Tokyo firebombing. The portrait of McNamara, as well as the two presidents he served, is one of human beings through and through, with all the fallibility and conflictedness that entails. The central quandary of war emerges for the viewer to see: it is the business of killing people, and that means that mistakes cause people to die needlessly.

As I said, this film, taken in the right spirit, is deeply challenging. I would recommend it to anyone who has grappled with the enormity and awfulness of the history of the twentieth century.


51 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 155 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed