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Charlie Wilson's War

524 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (524 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LSE4JC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,204 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on January 6, 2008
Congressman Charlie Wilson from Lufkin, Texas, a ruggedly handsome man, who was a committed anti-Communist, with a few character flaws, who loved to have a good time, enjoyed alcohol and was a ladies' man ... became one of the unsung heros of the Afghanistan War. He was the only civilian to ever receive recognition and honor by the C.I.A. for his part in helping to drive the Russians out from Afghanistan. This film is based on the true stories written by the author George Crile in his book, "Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times". Essentially, there are two formulas to win this war on a global scale: the first is, "money + power = secret arms deals" and the second is, "clandestinely obtained weapons + motivated Afghani fighters = success". Serendipity often comes into play when success occurs on a global scale and Charlie Wilson seemed to benefit both from the unexpected and unknown ...

Charlie Wilson was sitting in a hot tub at Caesar's Palace with three young ladies, two of whom were strippers, and some male business partners, when he first saw Dan Rather on assignment in Afghanistan, presenting the plight of the mujahideen. Dan Rather described the difficulty they had fighting the Russians who had superior technology and arms. When he returned to Washington, he read the teletype from API, UPI, and Reuters and asked the C.I.A. how much was in their budget for clandestine operations in Afghanistan. He was told $5 million dollars, he quickly told them, "double it" [Charlie Wilson happened to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee]. From that point forward, Charlie Wilson was committed to helping free the Afghanistan people from Russian control ...
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carlberg on February 22, 2009
Format: DVD
Mike Nichols was not unaware of the irony in Charlie Wilson's story. Late in the film he has Philip Seymour Hoffman, in the character of Gust Avrakotos, recite a story on the balcony of Charlie's apartment. "Listen, not for nothin' but do you know the story about the Zen master and the little boy? There was a little boy, and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse, and everybody in the village says 'How wonderful, the boy got a horse.' And the Zen master says, 'We'll see.' Two years later the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg and everybody in the village says 'How terrible' -- and the Zen master says 'We'll see.' Then a war breaks out, and all the young men have to go off and fight, except the boy can't because his leg's all messed up and everybody in the village says 'How wonderful...'" and Tom Hanks (as Congressman Wilson) completes the story, "And the Zen master says 'We'll see.'" Avrakotos: "So you get it?" Wilson: "No, no I don't 'cause I'm stupid."

But Nichols isn't stupid, and he knows his audience isn't either. Charlie Wilson armed the Mujahideen against the Soviets, allowing a ragtag band of freedom fighters to defeat and ultimately destroy a mighty empire of invaders.

And everybody at Charlie Wilson's victory party is saying "How wonderful."
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Karen Joan VINE VOICE on April 7, 2008
Format: DVD
I knew next to nothing about the events depicted in this film prior to watching it. It is a real eye opener. Charlie Wilson's War is based on a true story. It is proof that, in this country at least, one caring, determined man can make a difference to the world.

This is a fast paced story, based on real events of the early 1980s. Essentially, Texas' colorful 2nd District US Congressman, in just 7 years, enables Afghanistan to be the first country to defeat the Russian Army, signaling the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

This film has an outstanding cast, all of whom deliver strong, believable performances. Tom Hanks is true standout, playing Charlie Wilson to a tee, depicting him in full-blown real life with all of his flaws and foibles, as well as his patriotism, big heart, determination, and guts. Julia Roberts is excellent as a wealthy Texas society woman who is used to getting what she wants. Philip Seymour Hoffman truly amazing as the CIA agent on Charlie's side. His comic timing is superlative, making you laugh out loud. Amy Adams is beautiful as always as Wilson's much put upon administrative aide. The entire supporting cast is top notch.

The script is just plain fantastic. It teaches us as well as being extremely entertaining. The dialogue is interesting and witty, and it rings true. The story is told with a host of emotions from plain amusement to sheer horror. The viewer becomes invested in this story and these people.

I highly recommend this film. You will enjoy it, and you will learn a little history.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on December 24, 2007
It's amazing what a few committed believers can do. In 1979, Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks), a good timin' Texas Congressman finds Dan Rather doing a remote report in war-torn Afghanistan more interesting than a hot tub full of gorgeous naked women, drugs, and booze.

Next thing he knows, the sixth wealthiest woman in Texas and his sometime lover, Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) invites him to a fundraiser. She's a bit right of center for him, but he goes--for the sex as much as anything probably.

He comes away with a mission. Start a war. If the US can arm Afghani rebels, they can stop Soviet encroachment into the Middle East--which would probably have ended with the Russians owning most of the oilfields and us out in the cold--quite literally.

"Charlie Wilson's War" is based on the true story of Texas' 2nd District US Congressman who literally did initiate the clandestine help the US gave the Afghani rebels. He, with a little help from his friends, increased the budget for help for these efforts from 5M to 1B within a 7 year time frame enabling the Afghanis to be the first country to defeat Russia and effectively end the "Cold War."

"Charlie Wilson's War" is by far the best film I've seen this Christmas season and I would not be surprised if it didn't win Oscars for picture of the year. Tom Hanks does an amazing job as the flawed man, who was a true patriot and humanitarian. Ms. Roberts does the over-the-top Texas heiress just right. Also, no surprise that Philip Seymour Hoffman blew us away as the rogue CIA agent, Gust Avrakolos.

The soundtrack, by Toto alumnus James Newton Howard, was the perfect accompaniment to the visuals. Mr. Howard has a way of picking just the right song to illustrate a time, emotion, or place.
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