7.1/10
71,130
219 user 136 critic

Wag the Dog (1997)

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.

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Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Liz Butsky
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Grace
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Michael Belson ...
President
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Amy Cain
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A.D.
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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

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

9 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bite the Bullet  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,778,122 (USA) (11 January 1998)

Gross:

$43,022,524 (USA) (3 May 1998)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"This is nothing!", the recurring phrase spoken by Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) in the movie, was nominated for the AFI's (American Film Institute's) "100 Years . . . 100 Movie Quotes" list. See more »

Goofs

One of the first opening shots shows an exterior view of the White House with the rooftop flag clearly raised signifying the President is in residence, yet during the first meeting it is said that the President is in China. Another shot of the White House is shown with the flag raised again. See more »

Quotes

[Stanley, sitting in the Oval Office, has just reduced a room full of White House secretaries to tears with his speech for the President]
Stanley Motss: [looking around the Office] I could have gone here.
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Crazy Credits

Dustin Hoffman's main title credit is faded in over a close up of a vacuum cleaner. See more »


Soundtracks

News And Presidential Campaign Music
Written, Arranged, Produced and Performed by Evan Kopelson and Walter Werzowa
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User Reviews

 
The Best Political Satire Since Dr. Strangelove
25 November 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Rarely can film satire make you laugh and be worried about the future at the same time. Levinson's film does just that, with a great cast and great writing, this film succeeds.

You may have noticed that many of the posts and reviews argue that this is not plausible. Obviously these posters do not realize that satire is supposed to be over the top and show what can happen in extremes, and ironically, this came out just after Clinton's sex scandal, and is still relevant today with George W. and will continue to be regardless of the president. Also, some may think it oversimplifies the public as idiots, but this isn't true, especially if they are being deceived and information is withheld. There are some implausibilities, as in why no reporters went to Albania or how other countries didn't get involved other than denying the charges, but these are small and even addressed in scenes with the rival candidates, news reporters and even CIA head William H. Macy.

Really I don't know how anyone can not like this film since it is smart, funny and scary all at once with fine performances and direction all around. This is an American political satire classic that is sadly becoming less satire as time goes on.

OVERALL: 9/10. Buy or at least rent before the satire becomes reality.


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