Wag the Dog 1997

Wag the Dog

Critics Consensus

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

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 75

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 44,593

Where to watch

Show all services

Other Movies

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

Wag the Dog Photos

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

News & Interviews for Wag the Dog

Critic Reviews for Wag the Dog

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (11)

  • Hilary Henkin and David Mamet's script is gleefully hyperbolic without ever straying from its political target.

    March 30, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Lazily assembled by director Levinson, it slides into a series of soft, extended skits on engineering a media war, not helped by several badly handled leaps in the story.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Amusing as it is, Wag The Dog does what it purports to sat irize -- the bark is real but the teeth aren't.

    April 12, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A wicked smart satire on the interlocking worlds of politics and show business, Wag the Dog confirms every awful thought you've ever had about media manipulation and the gullibility of the American public.

    February 14, 2001 | Full Review…
  • The pacing is crisp, the dialogue quippy and fast, the tone arch but energetic.

    February 14, 2001
  • A bright idea well realized by director Barry Levinson.

    January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Wag the Dog

  • 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
  • Mar 09, 2013
    Brilliant and well-crafted, Wag the Dog is an inspired and entertaining satire. When the President faces a scandal that could cost him the election he calls in a spin-doctor that decides to concoct a phony war in order to squash the scandal. The cast is excellent, and includes Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche, and Denis Leary. The script is also especially good, and is full of witty political satire. Still, there are some cheesy parts and the plot gets a little contrived at times. Wag the Dog has its flaws, but overall it's and an enjoyable and fun look at the audaciousness of politics.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

Wag the Dog Quotes

Movie & TV guides