• Wag the Dog (1998)

Wag the Dog

Release Date: January 2nd, 1998

DVD Release Date: July 29th, 1998

R |1 hr 37 min

Plot Summary

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: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Michael Belson

Director: Barry Levinson

Genres: Comedy drama

Production Co: Tribeca Productions, New Line Cinema, Baltimore Pictures, Punch Productions

Distributors: New Line Cinema

Keywords: Deception, Quest, Amusing, Fall, 1990s

Ratings & Reviews

  • 88
    James BerardinelliReelViews

    This is one of Levinson's best films, and the screenplay, co-penned by noted writer David Mamet (along with Hilary Henkin), is brilliantly on-target. show more

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    The movie is a satire that contains just enough realistic ballast to be teasingly plausible; like "Dr. Strangelove," it makes you laugh, and then it makes you wonder. show more

  • 75
    David SterrittChristian Science Monitor

    Barry Levinson's dark comedy is sly, funny, and unnerving. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Adapted Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1999)
Nominated Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Nominated Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published)