Charlie Wilson's War (2007) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

  • 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.

  • Congressman Charlie Wilson represents the second congressional district in Texas. For those few who know or know of him, he is seen as a lightweight congressman, who is more than willing to sell his votes in the house. As such, he has collected more IOUs than any other congressman. He is also an illicit drug user and womanizer, who staffs his office with attractive young women. He is able to get away with all this behavior since little scrutiny is placed on him because no one pays any attention to him. In 1980, he begins an interest in the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan after seeing network news reports and speaking to one of his women friends, the wealthy Joanne Herring, a right wing, fundamentalist Christian zealot. He is dismayed to learn that the US has no official policy on the Afghan situation, only supporting the Afghan side of the war - the mujahideen - with a meager $10 million. And within the CIA, there is only an unofficial and clandestine policy of wanting to bleed the Soviets at the expense of the Afghan people. Charlie wants to speak to a high ranking CIA official about the situation, but instead is sent Gust Avrakotos, a committed but disgruntled CIA operative working the Afghan file, whose appointment was not meant to be meritorious. Charlie and Gust end up working together on a covert mission toward the common goal of arming and training the mujahideen to defeat the Soviets. Gust works the strategic side within the CIA, and Charlie, calling in whatever favor he can, works the political and diplomatic side. Charlie's tasks are not easy as he has to bring together not only disparate but often hostile opposing political and religious forces to achieve his goal. Charlie learns that his personal life may come back to haunt him, and that winning the war may come with unexpected consequences.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • "Good-Time Charlie" Wilson, a flawed and fun-loving Congressman from the piney woods of East Texas, deftly operates the levers of power to funnel money and weapons to the Mujahideen of Afghanistan following the Soviet invasion of their country in late 1979. Charlie finds assistance in the oddest of places -- a renegade CIA agent whose outsider status and womanizing ways endears him to Wilson; a Houston socialite who leads Wilson to the cause; the willing Pakistani dictator fascinated by the socialite; the Israelis who modify and manufacture Soviet weapons to maintain the wink-and-nudge illusion of American neutrality; and the women -- ooh the women.

    Based on the story (and the excellent book of the same name) that is so true and engaging that artistic liberties are not needed, even if they are taken in the film.

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