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Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (2008)

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The Murrow, Polk, and IDA Award-winning documentary Boogie Man is about Lee Atwater, a blues-playing rogue whose rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star. ... See full summary »


Stefan Forbes
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Atwater Lee Atwater ... Himself - RNC Chairman (archive footage)
Tucker Eskew Tucker Eskew ... Himself - Atwater Aide & McCain Advisor
Joe Sligh Joe Sligh ... Himself - Friend & Bandmate
Eric Alterman Eric Alterman ... Himself - Journalist & Professor
Jim McCabe Jim McCabe ... Himself - Lifelong Friend
Stephen Raper Stephen Raper ... Himself - President, Regent Republicans
Christopher Stark Christopher Stark ... Himself - Chairman, NJ College Republicans
Joe Conason Joe Conason ... Himself - Journalist, Salon.com
Roger Stone ... Himself - Atwater Friend & Republican Operative
Howard Fineman Howard Fineman ... Himself - Senuir Editor, Newsweek
Henry Eichel Henry Eichel ... Himself - Writer, Charlotte Observer
Chuck Jackson Chuck Jackson ... Himself - R&B Artist & Atwater Friend
Tom Turnipseed Tom Turnipseed ... Himself - Former State Senator, South Carolina
Ishmael Reed Ishmael Reed ... Himself - Writer & Media Critic
Lee Bandy Lee Bandy ... Himself - Political Writer, The State


The Murrow, Polk, and IDA Award-winning documentary Boogie Man is about Lee Atwater, a blues-playing rogue whose rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a political rock star. He mentored George W. Bush and Karl Rove while leading the Republican party to historic victories, helping make liberal a dirty word, and transforming the way America elects our Presidents. In interviews with Republicans and friends of Atwater, Boogie Man examines his role in America's shift to the right. To Democrats offended by the 1988 Willie Horton controversy, Atwater was a remorseless political assassin dubbed by one Congresswoman "the most evil man in America." The film examines his irreverent sense of humor, his understanding of the American heartland, and his unapologetic vision of politics as war. It ends with a portrait of a cynic's deathbed search for meaning. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"He taught the Democrats to sing the blues." - George H.W. Bush. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

26 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Boogie Man See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,939, 28 September 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$60,332, 9 November 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

InterPositive Media See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Boogie Man won several journalism awards, including the national Edward R. Murrow Award, and the George Polk Award for Excellence in Journalism. See more »


References Dracula (1931) See more »


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User Reviews

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30 December 2015 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

This is an investigative documentary about Republican operative Lee Atwater. He's a blues-playing hyper-competitive southerner from South Carolina rising to be GOP Chairman. Supposedly, he picked Republicans because of their inferior state and therefore greater opportunity to advance. He interns for Strom Thurmond. In 1973, he becomes the head of college Republicans with his protégé Karl Rove beating the expected winner by challenging every vote and handed the victory by George H.W. Bush. He is able to tap into southern white resentment using every trick possible as long as he gets the win. He is instrumental in Reagan and becomes the favorite hired hand of the Bushes. However it's George W. Bush that is his true soulmate. Both men have been in the rougher street-level world unlike the high class Bush family. He is unrelenting in his drive and remorseless to his enemies.

This is a damning indictment on politics and a compelling personal study. It's easy to understand the Democrats hating the man and his methods. It is more fascinating to hear it from his former Republican colleagues like Ed Rollins. That's behind the scenes from somebody who was actually behind the scenes. It probably needs to expand on his childhood. Of course, the right has bones to pick about this movie. It has a point of view and it's not a fluff piece of Lee. The funny thing is that Lee would probably be secretly proud of this assessment of his work while railing against it as all lies.

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