Wag the Dog

1997, Comedy/Drama, 1h 37m

76 Reviews 25,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Smart, well-acted, and uncomfortably prescient political satire from director Barry Levinson and and all-star cast. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Two weeks prior to reelection, the United States president lands in the middle of a sex scandal. In need of outside help to quell the situation, presidential adviser Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) enlists the expertise of spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), who decides a distraction is the best course of action. Brean approaches Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) to help him fabricate a war in Albania -- and once underway, the duo has the media entirely focused on the war.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Wag the Dog

Audience Reviews for Wag the Dog

  • May 26, 2021
    This screenplay likely shook things up during the Clinton administration, yet, tragically by this point, seems like what an average week for Trump's press secretaries must've been like. 'Wag the Dog' still lands its ceaselessly relevant satire with a steady stream of sass (anchored by a spicy, blithering Dustin Hoffman) and the wrap-up delivers the right amount of bite.
    Marisol M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 22, 2019
    Great film that is a black satire on politics and the many scandals surrounding officials in the oval office. This is a mainstream indie film that works well and provides evidence of the importance of storytelling and character. A strong script in development is a must and you can see this is a passion film for everyone involved. The film was made in 28 days, that fact should entice you all the more, structured film. Hoffman and Levinson are a dynamite team and they offer a film that is more commercial compared to Sphere, which I did review favourably. Wag the Dog is a great film and one film you should watch before reviewing the events of the Clinton scandal. 18/04/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2014
    Hoffman and De Niro seem to have a contest as to who can bore the other more effectively. This film which could have been an interesting talking point instead becomes a forgettable food note.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2013
    Wag the Dog is an average dark comedy that relies on a great cast and an effective script. Enjoyable, but could have been better, this film is a bit dull at times and suffers from a so-so script. The idea is good, but the result is a decent film that just touches the surface of what it tries to accomplish. The cast were quite good and they clearly try to elevate film's material. This is a decent affair, but it could have been much better than what it turned out to be. I was really looking forward to seeing this one, but I was slightly let down. I expected a much better film than this and though it has a great cast, it never becomes anything truly worthwhile to rewatch again. With its ideas, Wag the Dog could have been a standout feature, but it just ends up being a so0so movie that never really takes off. I thought that there could have been more effort put into this one, and though it is a decent film, it's also quite dull in places and it should have been better. This may appeal to viewers looking for satire, but there are some elements missing to make it the film that it should have been. Enjoyable, but flawed, Wag the Dog is decent fun with a cast that try their best at making this a film watchable experience. The idea makes this film enjoyable, but simply can't shrug off how could this one could have been otherwise. Wag the Dog is fun, and quite decent, but it could have been much better.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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