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Wag the Dog [VHS] (1998)

Dustin Hoffman , Robert De Niro , Barry Levinson  |  R |  VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)

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Wag the Dog [VHS] + All the President's Men (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson
  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Writers: David Mamet, Hilary Henkin, Larry Beinhart
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Claire Rudnick Polstein, Eric McLeod, Ezra Swerdlow
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: November 3, 1998
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 078062467X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,601 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time...literally May 30, 2002
By jon
Format:VHS Tape
A lot of people knocked this film for being a rip-off of current events. Nothing could be further from the truth! What makes this satire so amazing is that its all coming true. For example:
1) This movie was made BEFORE the lewinsky/clinton scandal but the details were frighteningly similar
2) It told us the war of the future would be against dissident terrorists plotting against the US from camps in some remote country...years before we had heard of al Qaeda, 9/11, or a war in afghanistan
3) Watching Willie Nelson leading the 9/11 Tribute to Heroes telethon in singing "God Bless America" seemed like it was a rip-off of this movie.
To many, the premise of this movie may have seemed absurd when it was released. But each passing year reveals how closer it is to the truth than we think. For a scary, thought-provoking satire of Hollywood and Washington, check this movie out.
If it was a 2002 film, people would say it was a clever satire. That it was made in 1997 qualifies it as an absolute classic.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film grows on you ...... September 24, 2004
When I saw this film at the cinema I thought it was a half decent parody of the Clinton administration, and the devious behaviour of politicians in general. As an ex civil servant I thought it was an extreme piece of satirical commedy with a clear message on the dangers of "spin". Had I rated it at he time, I would have given it a strong 3 star rating.

Given the events since the film, it's message and relevancy have become more important. The writers and director weren't intending to be prophetic (unlike Chaplin's the great dictator), but real world events have given this film a second lease of life! Great example of reality imitating art ......
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deny! Deny! Deny!... June 15, 2005
It's only 11 days before the presidential election. All is well until- OOPSY DAISY!! The president himself rapes a visiting firefly girl, in the whitehouse! Enter Anne Heche as the press secretary and Robert De Niro as Conrad Brean, spin-god and clean-up man extraordiaire. Together, they must find a way to divert the public's attention until after the election. They enlist the help of hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) in order to fabricate something big in a hurry. Can they get the current scandal wiped from the front pages of the papers in time? Yes, of course they can! With the help of a small army of actors, singers, advertising types, etc., Motss delivers a war with Albania! Why? Because they have "the bomb"! Not only that, but it's a suitcase bomb, and it's already in Canada, waiting to cross the border and destroy us! Watch as theme songs are concocted to fit the pre-arranged outcome! See slogans and catch-phrases on t-shirts and TV screens! Wonder at the gung-ho spirit of the manipulated masses as they participate in the greatest scam ever conceived! I love WAG THE DOG. It is a perfectly executed lampoon of all things political / commercial. This is the cynic's dream and the paranoid conspiracy theorist's nightmare! There are no good guys in this movie. Everyone is either dirty or totally oblivious. The words "republican" or "democrat" are never mentioned (the president's face is never shown), after all, party affiliation is irrelevant when we're all just an audience for the great charade. WTD is a movie that everyone should see at least twice. Once for the acidic humor, then again for the lurking truth behind it! Anne Heche's verbal assault on Hoffman's character (right after the plane crash) is priceless! Highly recommended...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truer with age.... May 31, 2003
This satire directed by Barry Levinson (And Justice For All) rather than becoming 'dated' gets more delicious and enlightening with age.
The title 'Wag The Dog', originally referred to the need for reality to fashion itself to conform to the power of television. In order to play to the people, the facts had to be styled to meet the method of distribution.
The film now offers a much greater lesson and a warning to the population of the great lengths to which politicians and the government might go to deceive the American people and/or fabricate 'truth' to suit their own end.
The commentary, although only five years old, has become the most 'dated' feature on the DVD.
The multiple occurrences of: the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, the terrorists and 09/11/2001, colored ribbons, 'spontaneous' waves of patriotism, and the recent war in Iraq (particularly the revelation of the true facts surrounding the rescue of Jessica Lynch) have made 'Wag The Dog' more cutting edge with the advent of each individual incident.
Today's viewers must continually and repeatedly jolt themselves back to reality with reminders that they are NOT viewing an educational documentary on 'spin' or a how-to-film outlining methods for fabricating and implementing diversion, but are instead viewing an entertaining and satirical film developed well before the occurrence of any of the events listed above.
This is a film where David Mamet, well known for his realistic dialogue, had the character's speaking the future in a most frightening way.
'Wag The Dog' is great viewing for new and repeat viewers alike. It is a reminder of how we the public can be misled by what we see and hear in the press and on television. The film itself is however not misleading, but thought-provoking, and as it chillingly turns out, perhaps even more realistic than we knew in 1997.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie to watch again as it really gives you ...
Good movie to watch again as it really gives you insight into the workings of our government and the elections.
Published 3 days ago by Desiree Lotz
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
would not play on our DVD player, but did on the neighbors???
Published 18 days ago by Rebecca Pryor-Maddy
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed very much recent events in politics fall right in ...
enjoyed very much recent events in politics fall right in line good job
Published 22 days ago by yvonne scott
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY clever and funny - Deniro, Hoffman, Heche and Harrelson-a combo...
This is one of the best stories you've never heard of and will never be able to tell when you recommend it to others. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Kathleen Wielatz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie. Actually could be rated as fact
Great movie. Actually could be rated as fact.( just insert a few of our White House Politician names in place of the actors.
Published 1 month ago by The-Greggster
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and educational
This is a classic.
Published 2 months ago by Professor
5.0 out of 5 stars Too frightening if True
This is the scariest movie I have ever watched. what if it were true? It Sure explains alot about D.C. spin.
Published 2 months ago by Kenneth T. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you
EVERYONE should watch this flick! Most all our current news are contrived. Highly recommend listening to Max Ratt podcasts for more insight:... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Could be true in the day we live every one should watch this one
Published 2 months ago by William H Wrenn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything as described
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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