109 user 77 critic

Game Change (2012)

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska becomes Senator John McCain's running mate in the 2008 Presidential election.


Jay Roach


Danny Strong, Mark Halperin (book) | 1 more credit »
4,601 ( 449)
Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 28 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Julianne Moore ... Sarah Palin
Woody Harrelson ... Steve Schmidt
Ed Harris ... John McCain
Peter MacNicol ... Rick Davis
Jamey Sheridan ... Mark Salter
Sarah Paulson ... Nicolle Wallace
Ron Livingston ... Mark Wallace
David Barry Gray ... Todd Palin
Larry Sullivan ... Chris Edwards
Mikal Evans ... Bexie Nobles
Colby French ... Tucker Eskew
Bruce Altman ... Fred Davis
Spencer Garrett ... Steve Biegun
Brian Howe ... Randy Scheunemann
John Rothman ... A.B. Culvahouse


Summer, 2008: John McCain secures the nomination, but polls behind Barack Obama. Strategist Steve Schmidt suggests a game changer: picking a conservative female with media savvy, unknown Alaska governor Sarah Palin, as vice president. She's an immediate hit and a quick study - the gap closes. Then, Tina Fey's impersonation, a raft of criticism, and missing her family send Palin into a near-catatonic state: she doesn't prepare for her Katie Couric interview and bombs. Schmidt searches for an answer: don't expect her to learn the issues, but give her a script. Palin does well in the debate with Biden; she finds her voice, goes off script, and goes rogue. A mistake? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Politics would never be the same.


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Woody Harrelson previously had a cameo in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), also directed by Jay Roach. See more »


John McCain's headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia, though when his staff are watching Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric pizza boxes from Fresh Brothers, a Southern California chain, are visible. See more »


Steve Schmidt: [prepping Palin for national interviews] Let's start with something simple: how do you plan on maintaining our alliance with Great Britain on Iraq even though support for the war there is at an all-time low?
Sarah Palin: I think the United States has always maintained a great relationship with the Queen, and John McCain will continue to have an open dialogue with her.
Steve Schmidt: [perplexed] Um, Governor, the Queen is not the head of government in England, she's the head of state.
Sarah Palin: Well, then who's the head of government?
Steve Schmidt: [...]
See more »


Featured in The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards (2012) See more »


NBC Nightly News Theme
Written by John Williams
Courtesy of NBC Studios
See more »

User Reviews

I can't see much wrong with this: there's no gratuitous nastiness - Palin wasn't the sharpest blade in the box but at least she stood up for herself and her beliefs
21 April 2012 | by pfgpowell-1See all my reviews

Well, there's the usual proviso that any film purporting to portray real people, real events and 'what really happened' has to be taken on trust, and I have no way of knowing just how accurate or not this film is.

Game Change has been accused of being liberal propaganda but to be honest if that's the case everyone apart from La Palin herself doesn't come out of it too badly, and Ed Harris's John McCain presents us with a principled, decent and honest man. And even Palin is shown to be more out of her depth than anything else, the wrong choice despite at first seeming like the right one. Out of curiosity I watched two clips from the film (interviews with Palin) side-by-side with the real thing after a search on YouTube and, well, they were virtually identical. Some scenes, by their very nature - Palin alone with her husband Todd - have to be fiction, but yet again none actually puts the boot in Palin. What is notable, and the continuing (at the time of writing) campaigns by several men to represent the Republicans in November 2012's election is in a way pertinent, is the amount of grassroots support Palin seemed and still seems to have: there are apparently a lot of Republicans out there who prefer to call a spade a bloody shovel and can't be doing with all the sophisticated film-flammery of the Washington elite. And for them Palin was a voice, she was their woman. You might disagree - and disagree fundamentally as I do - with what she has to say, and you might even conclude that but for an engaging manner, a pretty presentable face and a team of desperate spin doctors, she might well have remained an unknown everywhere except Alaska, but you cannot, in all honesty, deny her the right to say what she says. If we have the right, then so does she.

If we deny her that right, then we shouldn't be surprised if sooner or later some crud will try to deny us that right, too. Palin dropped out of the current race quite early on, but her brand of downhome republicanism still has a lot of supporters, and it would be wise to take note of that fact. Like it or not, Palin spoke and speaks for quite a few people. She articulates for them what they would like to say but cannot themselves articulate. Perhaps liberals reading this review would have preferred that the film slags off Palin in no uncertain terms, but it doesn't. It does show her to be finally an endorsement short of the winning ticket, but I think she was that any way.

Overall, I thought Game Change is a reasonable account of part of the political process. Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore and the rest get top marks for their performances, and for me there was nothing bogus about it and, above all, the film was very entertaining. So what's there not to like about it?

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 109 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Site - HBO





Release Date:

10 March 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Game Change See more »

Filming Locations:

Brooklandville, Maryland, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed