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Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's War

4.2 19
Director: Mike Nichols

Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman


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Produced by Tom Hanks, written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Mike Nichols, this adaptation of George Crile III's incendiary bestseller tells the remarkable story of the Texas congressman whose efforts to prevent the Red Army from overtaking Afghanistan eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union


Produced by Tom Hanks, written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Mike Nichols, this adaptation of George Crile III's incendiary bestseller tells the remarkable story of the Texas congressman whose efforts to prevent the Red Army from overtaking Afghanistan eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union while simultaneously fueling the rise of radical Islam. In the early 1980s, a hastily assembled army of Afghan "freedom fighters" achieved the remarkable feat of fending off Soviet invaders despite the fact that the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against them. At the time, Texas congressman Charlie Wilson (Hanks) was a key member of the hugely powerful House Appropriations Committee. Illuminated to the specifics of this remarkable war by a high-profile Houston socialite, Wilson spearheaded an effort to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and training to the Mujahideen with more than a little help from brilliant but prickly CIA operative Gust Avrokotos.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
From his very first film, a blistering version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mike Nichols has proven over and over again that he is arguably the finest adaptor of plays for the screen. His stage work -- in both improv theater and his legendary time with Elaine May -- taught Nichols the power of exquisite timing. He understands not only how a line should be delivered, but also when. Charlie Wilson's War continues this fine history. As Charlie Wilson, a Texas senator familiar with the shadier sides of his private appetites, Tom Hanks embodies someone who both enjoys the privileges of and respects the power he possesses. He embodies the seemingly sexist career politician with a winning good ol' boy charm. He hires only attractive women to staff his office, but they are all smart and politically savvy, and he listens to their advice. After seeing a news report about Afghani rebels fighting the Soviet invasion of their country, and being egged on by a very wealthy hardline Anti-Communist Texas socialite (Julia Roberts -- reteaming with Nichols after Closer) interested in funding his reelection, Wilson decides to covertly fund the rebels. The large portion of the film is a nearly journalistic revelation of the steps he took to achieve this. The script, adapted by Aaron Sorkin from a non-fiction book, has the snap of the best West Wing episodes. You feel as if you are seeing how politics really works -- how idealism and intelligence and humor can be used to manipulate the seemingly unmovable bureaucracy of the Federal government -- a process full of unique types like a youthful weapons expert and a spineless diplomat. This is not a dry history lesson, but a fast-paced, witty exposé of a man who found himself in the right place at the right time to affect history. The film maintains a sarcastic tone thanks to the crack writing, and the presence of the always brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman. As a violently moody, fiercely intelligent CIA man, Hoffman gets the kind of role good actors dream of and great actors, like him, make unforgettable. His impeccable delivery draws huge laughs from the script's best lines, and in a subtle final speech he offers the film's surprisingly pointed moral. For 90 minutes, Charlie Wilson's War is a portrait of American can-do ingenuity, but the final ten minutes offer a reminder of what can be expected from any change made in the world -- a lesson that couldn't be timelier. With Wit, Angels in America, the aforementioned Closer, and now Charlie Wilson's War, a 76-year-old Mike Nichols has proven over the course of this decade that while other skills might erode with age -- perfect timing does not have to be one of them.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

The Making of Charlie Wilson's War; Who Is Charlie Wilson?

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Charlie Wilson
Julia Roberts Joanne Herring
Philip Seymour Hoffman Gust Avrakotos
Amy Adams Bonnie Bach
Ned Beatty Doc Long
Emily Blunt Jane Liddle
Om Puri President Zia
Ken Stott Zvi
John Slattery Cravely
Denis O'Hare Harold Holt
Jud Tylor Crystal Lee
Peter Gerety Larry Liddle
Brian Markinson Paul Brown
Christopher Denham Mike Vickers
Tracy Phillips Belly Dancer
Wynn Everett Charlie's Angel
Mary Bonner Baker Charlie's Angel
Rachel Nichols Charlie's Angel
Shiri Appleby Charlie's Angel

Technical Credits
Mike Nichols Director
Mary Bailey Associate Producer
Maria Teresa Barbasso Art Director
John Bloom Editor
Celia Costas Executive Producer
Gary Goetzman Producer
Stephen Goldblatt Cinematographer
Michael Haley Asst. Director,Co-producer
Tom Hanks Producer
Petur Hliddal Sound/Sound Designer
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Edward Hunt Associate Producer
Ryan Kavanaugh Executive Producer
Victor Kempster Production Designer
Paul A. Levin Associate Producer
Ellen Lewis Casting
Josh Lusby Set Decoration/Design
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Aaron Sorkin Screenwriter
Antonia Van Drimmelen Cinematographer,Editor
Albert Wolsky Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Charlie Wilson's War
1. Highest Honor [3:07]
2. Current Events [4:58]
3. Bigger Budget [9:07]
4. Killing Russians [4:16]
5. Ultra Right-Wing [4:17]
6. Fake War [2:58]
7. Meeting Leaders [6:13]
8. Firsthand Account [4:04]
9. Debriefed [4:44]
10. Jefferson vs. Bond [9:02]
11. Choice of Weapons [4:21]
12. On the Front [2:47]
13. Politics and Belly Dancing [:51]
14. Modulating Religion [3:22]
15. Getting the Money [3:02]
16. On the Good Side [7:09]
17. Fighting for Freedom [3:11]
18. Making Progress [4:57]
19. Fall of an Empire [4:36]
20. End Titles [6:39]


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Charlie Wilson's War 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much later we figured out that it was a Soviet psyop mission. The Russians were brainwashing and creating Manchurian Candidates they were not defeated they left because they finished their mission.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie in theatres on a bit of a whim, and I really enjoyed it. The on-screen chemistry between Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman is such fun to watch. The story it tells is also a great one, well-deserved of such an awesome film.
Raverrow More than 1 year ago
I am surprised this movie wasn't more popular. Very relevant to events occurring now, it proves that not only does history repeat itself but it particularly does when one does not finish what one starts. The script is wonderful and so is the acting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie details the real life initiative of a US congressman that allowed the US to provide assistance to the Afghanistan guerillas in ther fight against the Russian invasion. It if script has many humorous interactions and the manipulation of other congressmant to get millions of dollars in assistance is at the same time educational and scary. Tom Hanks provides a believable performance and his final efforts to get help to rebuild schools for the Afghan children gives us an understanding of why we are still fighting there today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stellar subject material written brilliantly by Sorkin and translated into interesting and highly entertaining history lesson by Hanks, Roberts and Hoffman, who, as CIA operative Gust Avrokotos, steals the show. Great casting in all parts!
RanchLadyTX More than 1 year ago
NOT APPROPRIATE for young viewers in my estimation. Too much foul language, however Tom Hanks was superb as usual. His acting just gets better and better. The story he portrayed comes to life right in front of your eyes. It really "tells" what our Congress is all about! He did a remarkable thing (Charlie Wilson) in funding the Afghanistan War to remove Russia from that country. However the language is pretty strong in some cases, for younger viewers. As far as the facts go, they are as accurate as a person can get. Julia Roberts is also outstanding. She can portray just about any character she so chooses and this is no exception. She is paired perfectly with Tom Hanks. They are both STRONG character actors at their finest. Other than the language, this was an outstanding movie and you can forgive the language when you realize this is the way it ususally happens. Their ( Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts) co-star is equally good with his character portrayal. If you like politics, and story lines based on "facts" this is definitely a movie to watch.
niafong More than 1 year ago
This movie is for the times. The best movie of how we screwed up our own foreign policy is clear as Afghan mujahadeen leaders who were our allies turns into enemies. Charlie Wilson, although a debutante, he could make deals with anyone and he was the one that dealt the final blow to the Soviets. He also truly cared for the Afghan people.
irina_ramos More than 1 year ago
I'm always curious about movies inspired on true stories. But I have to confess that this one was a surprise because I haven't heard about this "Charlie" and his challenged work, in a political environment. Today we might be able to explain a lot of wars, terrorism and consequences of the American involvement in Afghanistan history, that we see today. I found this story very interesting. Strongly recommend it.
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