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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2008
I had never heard of this documentary until I first viewed it on THE HISTORY CHANNEL. Initially I thought it was some "action adventure" fiction type. It did not take long to figure out this was a real event that changed the history of the world: was responsible for kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan and led to the demise of the Soviet Union.

What is so amazing is that one "on the wild side" U.S. senator and one "shunned/rouge" CIA agent was responsible for all of this. They did not just sit behind some desk either! They were on their own. Of course that is until near the very end when the CIA wanted some of the glory too.

This is a documentary you do not want to miss! The Hollywood version, "Charlie Wilson's War" staring Tom Hanks is; I'm sure a good movie but in no way can portray the real life events of of Charlie Wilson and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2008
I am a lawyer and actually knew Charlie Wilson from his first term in Congress--he appointed me an intern in his Washington office in 1974. I used a 4-minute clip from this movie of his explaining how he got into politics (a neighbor poisoned Charlie's dog when he was 13, and he skillfully organized constituents to vote the guy out of office by 16 votes) in a guest lecture I gave to a college government class on local politics. It was a big hit with the students. The movie is much more interesting than the Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks (even though Hanks does a great job) because it shows the real people and events, not actors and graphics.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2008
If you want to meet the real Charlie Wilson and the real exchanges that took place as he forstered the Afgan effort to drive the Russians out of of Afganistan, then you'll want to see the History Channels "True Story". It involves so much detail about how things get done in Washington and in Congress that if your like me you'll watch it over and over. This is no movie made up by Hollywood, but, except for some parts, it puts together documentary scenes with the protagonist himself, Congressman Charlie Wilson, telling story, how he got Congress to fund the weapons and supplies to the Afgans, how he made visits to the right world leaders to help instigate it, and without a lot of publicity.

One scene that the History Channel had that unfortunately did not get onto the DVD is the finale of the Russians, as they were leaving Afghanistan across freedom bridge, requested that Charlie show up in military uniform. Charlie thought the Russians were going to shoot him since he was not at that moment a civilian, but they wanted to salute the man who pulled off uniting a people who drove them out.

Unfortunately also, we never got hear Charlies views and efforts to overcome the Pakistani's who never could be trusted in the beginning and are doing everything they can today to support the middle-east terrorists following the Bin Laden cult, and of course to continue to be one of the 80 or so despot governments that now run the UN.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2009
My introduction to Charlie Wilson was through the movie starring Tom Hanks. This however got me interested enough to look for both the book and the History Channel documentary. The documentary while interesting dove tailed in some ways almost too closely with the movie. It is only after about the half way point that it goes into greater detail about what really happened, and even still it offers only a bare bones sketch compared to the book. While I do think the documentary is interesting and worthwhile, I would recommend it as a companion to the movie and book, as I do not think it is strong enough on its own merits.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2008
I had never heard of Charlie Wilson before. Back when all these events were taking place in the '80s I was busy having babies and (to my deterrment) ignored politics. No interest at all; blissfully ignorant. I did not bother seeing the move Charlie Wilson's War at the theater, and actually had never heard of it till it was nominated for some Oscar Awards. I was channel surfing one day and came across this documentary on the History channel. I watched it and was so uplifted by it that I had to see the Tom Hanks movie. Charlie Wilson is no saint, which he readily admits.

This is a wonderful American story and I think the documentary is even more entertaining than the movie. I haven't bought this DVD yet, but I think I will. It's excellent!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2008
I haven't yet seen "Charlie Wilson's War" but I am watching the HIstory Channel's "The Truth @ Charlie Wilson's War," which thankfully is free of the bombast that nearly spoils some History Channel documentaries. But then the presentation doesn't really need it. The real life Charlie Wilson's Afghanistan adventure makes for a wild story, complete with high class 'socialites' determining the fate of nations, party-boy politicians, drug use scandals, illegal arms smuggling operations, and the lives of millions on the line - at least the Afghans wanted Wilson's help (and that makes a big difference for me), and whatever has followed since, he definitely delivered, in his own unique way. There's nothing fancy about the storytelling here, but the story doesn't need the embellishment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
The True Story of Charlie Wilson, 2007 film

"This program contains scenes that have been dramatized with special attention given to historical accuracy." Drama is ordinary life with the dull parts edited out. The biggest operation in CIA history. "Charlie Did It". On July 27, 1980 Congressman Charlie Wilson saw "60 Minutes" about the Afghan war. He doubled their $5 million appropriation for Afghan rebels. The Soviet Army only intended to stay 5 or 6 months. [Really?] The people of Afghan resisted for their freedom (growing opium poppies). The CIA only supplied weapons that couldn't be traced back to the supplier. Their intent was to use the Afghans as an expendable annoyance. Teenager Charlie Wilson shuttled voters to the polls to defeat a neighbor in East Texas. [In 1945?] After serving in the Navy, he was elected to the state legislature. Then he ran for Congress as a selfless patriot. Elected, he hired "Charlie's Angels". Charlie supported the underdog. Charlie could increase appropriations without any vote!

The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan generated refugees who fled to Pakistan. [No mention of land reform.] Charlie met Joanne Herring, a wealthy Houston socialite with powerful connections. [Oil?] Charlie and others supported the Mujahadeen. The Russian soldiers were barbaric against the Afghan people. Small toys were mined as booby traps. The MI-24 `Hind' helicopter had no opposition. The Afghan leaders wanted better weapons. The CIA didn't want to escalate the war. An operations officer was assigned to Charlie. Support for the Afghans was aimed as payback for the Soviet support for the Vietnamese. In 1983 there was a report on Charlie's drug use. "Cocaine Charlie." Charlie went to Egypt, they had warehouses of Soviet-made arms. Could a modern-day belly dancer be as effective as `Mata Hari'? Excitement? Note the differences in culture between Egypt and Pakistan. The Khyber Pass links Pakistan to Afghanistan, it was used by refugees and for arms transportation.

Could Charlie escape a criminal investigation? Yes, a Playboy model testified to clear him in an adroit fashion. [Was a deal made?] They needed another Congressman to help with the funding. The film explains how this was engineered. A DUI and hit-and-run wasn't a problem for Charlie. They gave Doc Long special treatment in Paris, and a show in Pakistan. It worked! The CIA became more involved in supplying arms like anti-tank weapons and mines. A terrorist attack on a gas station in Washington? But what if he lost the election? How did he win against the odds? The Afghans needed a weapon against the MI-24 helicopter, a "flying tank", like the `Stinger' SAM missile. In 1985 Charlie developed heart problems. [Whiskey?] Then President Reagan chose to overrule everyone's advice and supply `Stingers' to the Afghan rebels. These missiles worked as designed. This changed the war. The new leader Gorbachev set a time limit to win or withdraw' they did the latter.

This was followed by the end of the Cold War and great political changes. Charlie Wilson was given an award. Was the 9/11/2001 attack an unforeseen consequence of the rebel triumph in Afghanistan? The Taliban and Al Qaida came to power there. How was the powerful Soviet Army defeated? "Charlie did it." But this simple answer overlooks a lot of other events that were going on at the same time. Machiavelli wrote about the politics where an ally is built up to oppose a common enemy. The end of the alliance can lead to diverging interests. The British fought two wars around 1877-1880 to gain control of the opium trade and its profits. Will another country waste men and money to try to conquer Afghanistan? Was there an increase in opium and heroin since 1990? Who benefits?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2011
This is a great video that clarifies the role of Charlie Wilson and the years of combat between the Afghan people and the Soviets. The repurcussions of that still reverberates in that part of the world. Wilson was a maverick and championed the downtrodden but the US failed to follow up with aid to that part of the world once the Soviets left although Wilson attempted to orient congress in that direction. Another case of too little and too late and soon we were involved in that area ourselves as a nation. Truly a case of irony in action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
Well done, well paced, and even handed, this documentary is the disc to watch after (or before) you see Charlie Wilson's War.

From the hallowed halls of the Capitol to the mud of Afghanistan, you will see where Charlie Wilson put his heart, his blood, and his effort for most of his 20+ years in Congress.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
Just love this movie God bless Charlie Wilson, and Gust Avrocotos.
I think that this is one of the best movies ever its a must see for all !
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