In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson is a womanizing US congressional representative from Texas who seemed to be in the minor leagues, except for the fact that he is a member of two major foreign policy and covert-ops committees. However, prodded by his major conservative supporter, Houston Socialite Joanne Herring, Wilson learns about the plight the people are suffering in the brutal Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. With the help of the maverick CIA agent, Gustav "Gust" Avrakotos, Wilson dedicates his canny political efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with the weapons and support to defeat the Soviet Union. However, Charlie Wilson eventually learns that while military victory can be had, there are other consequences and prices to that fight that are ignored to everyone's sorrow.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An early draft of the script made the connections between the mission in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks much more explicit. It was dropped when both Mike Nichols and Tom Hanks cut those scenes and made the subjects present but more implicit. See more »
The modern digital thermostat by the door in Joanne's bedroom was not available in 1980. See more »
CIA Award Presenter:
The defeat and break up of the Soviet empire, culminating in the crumbing of the Berlin wall, is one of the great events of world history. There were many heroes in this battle but to Charlie Wilson must go this special recognition. Just thirteen years ago the Soviet army appeared to be invincible. But Charlie, undeterred, engineered a lethal body blow that weakened the communist empire. Without Charlie, history would be hugely and sadly different. And so for the first time a ...
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Opening statement: The following is based on a true story. See more »
I like Tom Hanks, and he is one of few actors who will draw me into the theatre regardless of any misgivings I may have concerning the film. I worried about Mr. Hanks return to "light comedy" as this is the arena where he made the transition from TV to film- remember "Big"? Well, "Charlie Wilson's War" is not light comedy. It is political satire, and extremely well-written political satire at that. The script is the star of this film, and the word-smithing by Aaron Sorkin is some of the best on offer this year.
Mike Nicols holds the entire escapade together, delivering a film that zips along in a very quick 90 minutes (timing is everything in comedy, and nothing is ever funny if it drags). Nicols' choice in sets and lighting are also very reminiscent of '70's and '80's TV, a move used deliberately to root the piece in period.
The return to the use of model work and stock photography over digital special effects also enhances the retro look and believability. Note to the production designers in your choice of stock footage: I know the difference between an F-16 and a MiG, and a Bell and a Hind. But that may have been part of the joke, too.
I saw this film in Philadelphia. It was interesting to watch and listen to the audience NOT get the historical references to their own history. History tends to repeat because the recidivists have forgotten what happened the first time around.
Kudos to both Mr. Hanks and that chameleon Phillip Seymore Hoffman. Sorkin's script is brought to life by these actors, and the entire production team is on the top of their game.
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