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Live From Baghdad

44 customer reviews

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(May 30, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Platform:  DVD MOVIE Publisher:  MOVIE Packaging:  DVD CASE

Live from Baghdad tells the story of how CNN became the only news agency to cover the first Gulf War from within Baghdad. Michael Keaton stars as CNN executive producer Robert Wiener, who took a small news team into the Iraq capital after the invasion of Kuwait. Along with producer Ingrid Formanek (Helena Bonham Carter), Wiener jousted with teams from other networks, fought with antiquated equipment, and wrestled with Iraqi attempts to control information--in particular with an information minister named Naji (the outstanding David Suchet). After numerous setbacks, Wiener's team triumphed when they had the only connection from inside Baghdad as the American forces began dropping bombs. Though a TV-movie about TV news coverage is a bit incestuous, Live from Baghdad makes for compelling viewing; the script and direction are taut, performances are excellent all around, and the perspective on the war is multilayered. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Keaton, Lili Taylor, Helena Bonham Carter
  • Directors: Mick Jackson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 30, 2006
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009ATK1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,839 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Live From Baghdad" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 13, 2003
Format: DVD
From the opening frames of Michael Keaton trying to weasel his way into what he suspects will become the assignment of a lifetime, this production of CNN producer Robert Wiener's best-selling book, "Live from Baghdad" is a tightly shot, nerve-racking melodrama depicting how the CNN team bribed, cajoled and maneuvered their way into the story about the road to war in Iraq in 1990-91 and wound up being the only news network to cover the actual outbreak of the American bombing campaign. In the process they also single-handedly vaulted the reputation and stature of CNN into becoming the premier news source for the world at large. In one provocative scene, it shows the eyes of Saddam Hussein and George Bush after the first night of the war, both of them focused on the TV screen before them, tuned in to CNN.
Wiener literally sneaks the small and ill-regarded CNN team into Baghdad after the invasion of Iraqi forces into Kuwait amid threats form American President George Bush that the Iraqi invasion meant a certain American military response with an international coalition. Keaton plays the ambitious and neurotically-driven Wiener quite well, and he has an excellent leading lady by way of Helena Bonhan Carter, playing his erstwhile assistant producer, Ingrid Formanek. By far the most interesting character depicted is the Iraqi Information Minister Naji, is played to perfection by David Suchet (of Poirot fame on BBC TV). What ensues is a clever and dangerous `cat and mouse' game in which Wiener takes what victories as can be grabbed and dispersed over the secure lines he has conned the Iraqis into allowing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rochambeau Fan on January 8, 2004
Format: DVD
Who would have thought that one of the best producers of quality films these days is a premium, cable television channel? It's one thing to have terrific shows like THE SOPRANOS & CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, but to consistently put out films that are, in most cases, better than what gets released to local movie theatres is no small feat.
With "Live From Baghdad," HBO has outdone themselves, once again. Based on a true story and a book by Robert Wiener, this film tells the story of how the 1991 Gulf War put a fledgling news network, CNN, on the map.
Wiener (played by the always excellent and underrated Michael Keaton) and his crew set up shop in Baghdad on the eve of the war and, while all the other major networks bail as the Americans eventually strike Baghdad, they make the bold decision to stay and report.
I remember, clear as day, sitting in my living room, with my father, watching the coverage of CNN that night America first attacked. I was amazed at how daring and amazing the three reporters (John Holliman, Peter Arnett & Bernard Shaw) were at that time, as they remained in their room of the Al-Rashid hotel in downtown Baghdad with a microphone put up right by the window so that viewers could hear all the bombing. Director Mick Johnson perfectly recreates this scene and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.
Keaton receives excellent support from the likes of Helena Bonham Carter (wonderful and sexy, as always), Lili Taylor and, especially, David Suchet, who plays Naji, an Iraqi gentleman from the Ministry of Information who assists Wiener and, eventually, befriends him.
Perhaps what's most effective with LIVE FROM BAGHDAD is that it doesn't take the easy way out and tell a one-sided view of the Gulf War.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nearly Nubile on August 4, 2004
Format: DVD
Yet another crisp production from HBO, a glimpse into the life and travails of reporters who covered the first Gulf War. Adapted from the memoirs of a real reporter, Bob Wiener.

How easily this could have gone down as a lame self-aggrandizing project underwritten by one member of the Time Warner family on behalf of another. But it's riveting drama instead, with dollops of integrity thrown in for good measure.

While the film is surely guilty of toting the CNN badge at times (it's just a TV channel folks) it does a remarkable job in capturing the grim realities of war time coverage, including many honest protrayals of the failings of the crew. The horror wreaked on Kuwait is brought back vividly during a sequence in which Wiener and his team travel to Kuwait to investigate allegations that Iraqi troops had ripped babies out of incubators as part of their plundering. Such news is hard to come by though, as is palpably evident in the hunt for that prize interview with Saddam Hussein.

Blood-curdling mindgames, inscrutable obstacles, ethical question marks, even a romantic subplot (which I believe could have been snipped a bit) -- the movie has oodles smooshed in, most of which have a powerful ring of truth and a striking sense of authenticity, as relevant, insane, urgent as tomorrow morning's headlines.

Heartily recommended all-round entertainer for discerning viewers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. McAndrew on October 18, 2005
Format: DVD
This captured the competitiveness the networks had and still have regarding war coverage. Michael Keaton is great as the somewhat overanxious and egotistical CNN producer Robert Weiner. As a journalist myself, I enjoyed seeing how the press would jockey for the story and try to get the fresh angle, the upperhand with the news consumer. Helena Carter is excellent in the film in her role as a CNN co-producer, contrasting Weiner's brash ego with good old common sense. One of the big messages in the movie is that persistence pays and CNN was the most persistent network, it appeared as the Gulf War broke out.
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