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The War Room (1994)

James Carville , George Stephanopoulos , D.A. Pennebaker , Chris Hegedus  |  PG |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Heather Beckel, Paul Begala, Bob Boorstin
  • Directors: D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus
  • Producers: Frazer Pennebaker, R.J. Cutler, Wendy Ettinger
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1573624578
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,251 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The War Room" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This celebrated documentary provides a bird's eye view into the inner sanctum of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus spent three weeks shot 33 hours of film, which was later combined with news footage to capture the cause-and-effect relationship between what happened inside "The War Room" and the election of the president. There is no voice over narration to this documentary, just clips spliced together. The dynamic behind it all is the Fire and Ice duo of chief Clinton strategist James Carville and director of communications George Stephanopoulos. Of course, both titles are gross simplifications of their roles in the campaign, and it is impossible not to see "The War Room" as being one of the inspirations for "The West Wing."
What stands out in watching this documentary is the complete sense that this is what it was really like, which, in the end, is more impressive than the fact that these guys won the election. Here you get to see the infamous Clinton "quick response" strategy at work, where every attack by the opponent is crushed in an immediate barrage of rhetoric. For me the most memorable sequences were when the Clinton brain trust discover the Bush-Quayle campaign is having its campaign signs printed in Brazil rather than in the U.S., Carville becomes emotional in the final staff meeting of the Clinton War Room, and when he and Stephanopoulos find themselves unsure as to how they are supposed to address the man who is now the president-elect.
From the perspective of today it is interesting to compare the Carville and Stephanopoulos we see behind closed doors with their more public personas as talking heads.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The real West Wing October 25, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ok, so The War Room is really pre-West Wing. This is a great behind the scenes tale of how Clinton beat Bush. In fact, I would give it 5 stars if it was a bit longer.
The leadership and strategy of James Carville coupled with the style and substance of George Stephanopolous led the Clinton campaign to the ultimate prize.
The viewer sits in on many strategy sessions, hears a portion of phone calls with others in the Clinton camp and sees the behind the scenes maneuvering of other staff members in creating the atmosphere for Clinton's election. The other side is studied briefly, too.
George Bush's words and appearances serve as a counterpoint to illustrate the reasons for the tactics of the Clinton team.
A great study of a political campaign in action.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damage Control July 13, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The War Room" is an interesting documentary that shows you just exactly what goes on behind the scenes of a presidential campaign and all of the problems that can arise. Mostly centered around the Clinton campaign, we get a look at a man who is determined to be the next President of the United States. James Carville and George Stephanopoulos are the main brains behind the campaign, and they show it with their rapid thinking and reactions. The road to the White House proves to be a bumpy one for Clinton and company, as scandals surface and tabloid articles flood the newsstands. The people behind the campaign of Bill Clinton never get a break as they always have to be on their toes and figure out damage control. Even though you know how it all ends, it is still a tense and shocking film.
What I love the most about this documentary is that there is no overall narrator, and there really isn't an agenda to it. The film doesn't force-feed you a likable Clinton. The film's real purpose is to show you what happens during these campaigns. Even though it's centered around Clinton, this film really could've been about anyone. The film doesn't sugarcoat anything as it gives you the raw footage and shows you how both sides can play dirty. It was amazing to watch Carville and Stephanopoulos work the way they did, as I had no idea how much of an important role they played in Clinton's campaign.
I think this documentary can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in how the system works. You really don't even have to like Clinton in order to enjoy it, as the film isn't trying to make it look like Clinton is a saint or anything like that. It is about how dirty people in these campaigns can fight, and it occurs on both sides.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight into a campaign August 6, 2001
By D
This movie is the current state of the art look into a political campaign on the run.
Carville and Stephanapoulos are really the central characters in this documentary, not Clinton. The action is very entertaining, even though we all know how the story will end.
Watching the movie now, it is a bit interesting to see if you can sense the impending fallout between Clinton and Stephanapoulos.
Watch this movie, and read either "What It Takes" or "The Boys on the Bus" as an essential primer on how political campaigns are waged in the television age.
My only complaint is that this is exactly the type of movie that can take advantage of the opportunities offered by DVD: Historical charts, timelines, bios, etc. These were opportunities that were missed in this version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done.
This is an interesting look at the running of a presidential campaign, besides the obvious - Bill Clinton's campaign. I enjoyed viewing this documentary.
Published 21 days ago by Mary Moritz
5.0 out of 5 stars Political medicine for those suffering between election years
Perfect movie for any political junkie. It doesn't matter if you are Republican or Democratic in your beliefs, this fascinating behind the scenes account of the Clinton campaign... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Kristi Bankston
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for any political science nerd
If you are a political junkie, then you will love this film. If you're someone who just thinks campaigns are cool, you'll still probably enjoy this film. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael Ryan Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars fund to watch
I'm one who likes politics and campaigns - found it very interesting to watch the major campaign coordinators interact and work to get the president elected.
Published 2 months ago by S. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Political documentary classic
This documentary doesn't blather at you with voiceover. Instead it just lets the subject play out in front of the cameras—in this case, the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Great insider view of the 1992 election and the strategy for the historic Clinton election. Carville and Stephanopolous at their best.
Published 2 months ago by Dee Dee Edmondson
5.0 out of 5 stars very real; very interesting
Just read Alls Fair by Matalin and Carville so it was fascinating to see the film that covers the same time period as the book. great combo
Published 3 months ago by S. Quigley
4.0 out of 5 stars An inside look at one of the most successful Presidential campaigns in...
For politics junkies--why are you even reading this? Of course you should watch the War Room. It's a classic of political documentaries. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the veil of the sausage maker
Removed 20 years from the action, I found it interesting to see how elections had changed since what was in 1992 considered a revolutionary approach by the Clinton team. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Horacio E. Schwalm
5.0 out of 5 stars I good Inside look on how to run a campaign.
This is a Great Documentry about Bill Clintons run to become president of the United States. A look into his campaign.
Published 6 months ago by Robert
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