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Wag The Dog 1998 R CC

After being caught in a scandalous situation days before the election, the president does not seem to have much of a chance of being re-elected. One of his advisors (Deniro) contacts a top hollywood producer (Hoffman) in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media. Political satire.

Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro
1 hour, 37 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Barry Levinson
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro
Supporting actors Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Kirsten Dunst, William H. Macy, John Michael Higgins, Suzie Plakson, Woody Harrelson, Michael Belson, Suzanne Cryer, Jason Cottle, David Koechner, Harland Williams, Sean Masterson, Bernard Hocke, Jenna Byrne, Maurice Woods
Studio New Line Cinema
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
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...
Comment 15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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