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Path to War brings Lyndon B. Johnson's full term to vivid life with terrific performances and a screenplay that provides an intimate look into a president's psyche along with the far-reaching consequences of his decisions. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This film is a dramatization of the decision-making behind the Johnson administration's escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s. As Lyndon Johnson (Michael Gambon) agonizes over sending more troops to Southeast Asia, he is given contradictory advice from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Alec Baldwin) and Secretary of State Dean Rusk (John Aylward). The president also attempts to build his Great Society at home, while balancing the war's increasing drain on the nation's resources.

Cast & Crew

Michael Gambon
Lyndon Johnson
Donald Sutherland
Clark Clifford
Alec Baldwin
Robert McNamara
Bruce McGill
George Ball
James Frain
Richard Goodwin
Felicity Huffman
Lady Bird Johnson
Frederic Forrest
Gen. Earle G. Wheeler
Philip Baker Hall
Everett Dirksen
Tom Skerritt
Gen. William Westmoreland
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Critic Reviews for Path to War

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (11)

Audience Reviews for Path to War

  • Feb 25, 2012
    A thorough and effective examination of the Johnson presidency, focusing on the escalating involvement in Vietnam that would eventually undue his administration. Very well written, the film always feels realistic, often re-creating scenes with verbatim historical transcripts. Michael Gambon's Lyndon Johnson is uncanny, he captures the overbearing, homespun demeanor he was known for, while also replicating his mannerisms perfectly. Overall, I would argue the film was far too kind to Johnson, conveying him as more of a victim of circumstance, who found himself in over his head and refusing to cut his losses, and whose otherwise lofty achievements (the mythical "Great Society" programs of dubious effectiveness) go unnoticed. Still, it was very effective in showing a conflicted man, reminding me almost of Oliver Stone's Nixon. Similarly, Alec Baldwin's McNamara was surprisingly authentic, showing a brilliant, though naive, man of cool demeanor. The running time is a bit bloated, but well worth it for history/political buffs. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer

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