7.1/10
73,684
223 user 137 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

Trailer
0:33 | Trailer
Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a Presidential sex scandal.

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

Larry Beinhart (book), Hilary Henkin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Stanley Motss
Robert De Niro ... Conrad Brean
Anne Heche ... Winifred Ames
Woody Harrelson ... Sgt. William Schumann
Denis Leary ... Fad King
Willie Nelson ... Johnny Dean
Andrea Martin ... Liz Butsky
Michael Belson Michael Belson ... President
Suzanne Cryer ... Amy Cain
John Michael Higgins ... John Levy
Suzie Plakson ... Grace
Kirsten Dunst ... Tracy Lime
Jason Cottle ... A.D.
David Koechner ... Director
Harland Williams ... Pet Wrangler
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Storyline

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 advisers contacts a top Hollywood producer in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media. Written by Christy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Albanian

Release Date:

23 April 1998 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Des hommes d'influence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,079, 28 December 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,022,524, 3 May 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$64,217,092
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hilary Henkin as the same sounding first name as former U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. At the time that this movie was released, Hillary Clinton was the First Lady. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, when the Secret Service escorts Stanley to his car, one of the men repeatedly tries to open the car door, but it has been accidentally locked. See more »

Quotes

Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Would you go to war to do that?
CIA Agent Mr. Young: I have.
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Well, I have, too. Would you do it again...? Isn't that why you're here? I guess so. And if you go to war again, who is it going to be against? Your "ability to fight a Two-ocean War" against who? Sweden and Togo? Who you sitting here to Go To War Against? That time has passed. It's passed. It's over. The war of the future is nuclear terrorism. It is and it will be against a small group of dissidents who, unbeknownst, perhaps, to their own governments, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Special Thanks to The Cast and Crew for Completing Principal Photography in 29 Days!" See more »

Connections

References The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(uncredited)
Composed by Daniel Butterfield (as Butterfield)
[heard when Schumann's body arrives]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A truly great satire
21 June 2002 | by Agent10See all my reviews

It had been a while since I last watched this film, but I once again remembered the reasons why I loved it so. Thoughtful and evocative, this film really captured the nature of politics and spin doctoring. This certainly ranks as one of the best political comedies of all time. The over-the-top attitude of the film didn't detract from anything, making this still quite believable. It also demonstrated how people's emotions can be manipulated when aggressively attacked. The fragile nature of the human spirit tends to make us more susceptible to such manipulations, as demonstrated in this film. With the exception of Anne Heche, everyone's performance in this film was rather good. The only other downside was Mark Knopfler's score, which was completely out of place in this film.


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