The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara 2003

The Fog of War

Critics Consensus

The Fog of War draws on decades of bitter experience to offer a piercing perspective on the Cold War from one of its major architects.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 142

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,190

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Movie Info

Former corporate whiz kid Robert McNamara was the controversial Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during the height of the Vietnam War. This Academy Award-winning documentary, augmented by archival footage, gives the conflicted McNamara a platform on which he attempts to confront his and the U.S. government's actions in Southeast Asia in light of the horrors of modern warfare, the end of ideology and the punitive judgment of history.

Cast & Crew

Michael Williams
Producer
Jack Lechner
Executive Producer
Jon Kamen
Executive Producer
Frank Scherma
Executive Producer
Robert Fernandez
Executive Producer
Robert May
Executive Producer
John Sloss
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (137) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

  • Nov 15, 2019
    McNamara clearly agreed to do this interview as a way to take control of his own legacy. As much as he tried to appear to speak honestly about his career Morris' probing revealed McNamara to be a mostly uncomplicated and desperate man. So much of what he refuses to say speaks volumes about him and the things he did.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 19, 2013
    A mesmerizing, slightly offbeat documentary from the great Errol Morris ("The Thin Blue Line") concerning former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and his experiences in both WWII and Vietnam, and looking back on his decisions and how to pertain to the days we live in now. McNamara appears to be a very likable, flawed individual (like we all are) who seems to be historically misunderstood given his reputation that he screwed up the Vietnam War quite badly. Instead we get an honest, genuine look at a man who gives a fair look at himself and his decisions, admits to his mistakes, but remains proud of his many accomplishments. Definitely a more humanizing look at a politician, in a day and age where people love to eat these people for lunch. One of the better documentaries I can recall, and anyone from the Kennedy-Johnson era should give this a look.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2012
    Robert McNamara explains his life during the two World Wars and the Vietnam War. For those of us who are students of history but didn't live during the times of the Vietnam War and WWII, this film doesn't have the resonance it might otherwise have. What I see is McNamara the apologist and McNamara the regretful soldier, personalities that he freely oscillates between almost at will. He wags his finger at the camera so many times that I felt like he was giving me, a small boy, a lecture on how to live. The film becomes a compilation of McNamara saying, "I did my best, but I fucked up, but damn it, I did my best!" Overall, I think this film is a good introduction to people who know little about the wars, but it ultimately devolves into a talking head documentary.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 23, 2012
    It's Robert McNamara talking about his youth, his days as President of Ford and working as Secretary Of Defense for President Kennedy and LBJ. It's interesting to hear him speak and remember the turbulant times of the 1960's and even questioning his own motives of war and his controversial decisions during the Vietnam War. I particularly liked the story McNamara mentions of how America was so close to a nuclear war catastrophe and how sudden a threat like that was avoided.
    Brian R Super Reviewer

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