Echo Spot countdown boutiques-francophones Introducing Fire 7 tablet, starting at $59.99 WFM home Kindle Paperwhite Explore the Vinyl LP Records Store sports Tools

Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
The War Room (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
Price:$39.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on November 5, 2015
Not what I was expecting to see. Interesting to see the behind the scenes of an election campaign.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on July 13, 2004
"The War Room" is an interesting documentary that shows you just exactly what goes on behind the scenes of a presidential campaign and all of the problems that can arise. Mostly centered around the Clinton campaign, we get a look at a man who is determined to be the next President of the United States. James Carville and George Stephanopoulos are the main brains behind the campaign, and they show it with their rapid thinking and reactions. The road to the White House proves to be a bumpy one for Clinton and company, as scandals surface and tabloid articles flood the newsstands. The people behind the campaign of Bill Clinton never get a break as they always have to be on their toes and figure out damage control. Even though you know how it all ends, it is still a tense and shocking film.
What I love the most about this documentary is that there is no overall narrator, and there really isn't an agenda to it. The film doesn't force-feed you a likable Clinton. The film's real purpose is to show you what happens during these campaigns. Even though it's centered around Clinton, this film really could've been about anyone. The film doesn't sugarcoat anything as it gives you the raw footage and shows you how both sides can play dirty. It was amazing to watch Carville and Stephanopoulos work the way they did, as I had no idea how much of an important role they played in Clinton's campaign.
I think this documentary can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in how the system works. You really don't even have to like Clinton in order to enjoy it, as the film isn't trying to make it look like Clinton is a saint or anything like that. It is about how dirty people in these campaigns can fight, and it occurs on both sides. And since there is no overall narrator, there is really nothing in here that tells you that you should feel a certain way about it all. The DVD contains no special features, which is a shame.
I really enjoyed "The War Room," and I'm not a real big fan of politics. I think it presents an interesting look at what goes on behind the scenes. If you're looking for an entertaining documentary that is funny and tense, then this is definitely something you should consider checking out. A big triumph on all fronts, if you want my honest opinion. -Michael Crane
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on May 9, 2000
The War Room is an excellent documentary that takes the viewer behind the scenes of the Clinton 1992 campaign. This video shows more of the tactics, strategies and means of how the Clinton campaign operated. James Carville and George Stephanopolus truly were masterminds in orchestrating an excellent presidential campaign. This video should be viewed by any political science major, or individual who plans to go into political consulting. Then again, having just about any individual watch the video will educate the viewer about an important component and function of any election process - the campaign.
The War Room - a phrase which is ever so fitting and appropriate for Clinton's campaign operations - represents the concept of strategizing and winning.
It has a superb touch to it, in the respect that it not only shows the process of campaigning, but it also shows the feelings and the "human side" of the individuals involved.
Highly recommended!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on June 1, 2001
What gauled his 1992 Democratic rivals in the primaries, infuriated Ross Perot all summer long, belittled George Bush in the general election, and humiliated Bob Dole four years later, was Bill Clinton's seemingly effortless ability to out-campaign anybody. Say what you want about Clinton as President, as a campaigner he was absolutely invincible.
THE WAR ROOM turns part of that perception on its head: the '92 Clinton campaign was anything but effortless. From the get-go, Carville and Stephanopoulus are scrambling to stay ahead of the scandal-a-day strategy the GOP used.
Luckily for them, the Bush team focused on spinning rooms full of political reporters and forgot to campaign.
If I could change one thing about THE WAR ROOM it would be to have spent more time with Carville. The Rajin' Cajun may annoy his opponents to distraction, but the man can talk, and he's the most successful campaign strategist of our time.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 3, 2001
The completely naive idea that this campaign was some kind of new groundbreaking approach to presidential campaigning, or that Carville and Stephanopolis re-wrote the book on such campaigns is sadly nothing more than left wing revisionist thinking being pasted across America's forehead once again. The fact that a decade earlier Michael Deaver orchestrated an even greater victory against Jimmy Carter and then again against Walter Mondale is the timeless proof that a successful and seemingly steamroller campaign strategy is nothing new to American Politics. Moreover it must be noted that the Carville/Stephanopolis duo were not the do-all/end-all vehicle that handed Mr. and Mrs. Clinton the Presidency. What this colorful documentary fails to note is that it was neither Clinton nor his campaigners that defeated George Bush in 1992. Three is indeed a crowd.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on August 6, 2001
This movie is the current state of the art look into a political campaign on the run.
Carville and Stephanapoulos are really the central characters in this documentary, not Clinton. The action is very entertaining, even though we all know how the story will end.
Watching the movie now, it is a bit interesting to see if you can sense the impending fallout between Clinton and Stephanapoulos.
Watch this movie, and read either "What It Takes" or "The Boys on the Bus" as an essential primer on how political campaigns are waged in the television age.
My only complaint is that this is exactly the type of movie that can take advantage of the opportunities offered by DVD: Historical charts, timelines, bios, etc. These were opportunities that were missed in this version.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on October 25, 2002
Ok, so The War Room is really pre-West Wing. This is a great behind the scenes tale of how Clinton beat Bush. In fact, I would give it 5 stars if it was a bit longer.
The leadership and strategy of James Carville coupled with the style and substance of George Stephanopolous led the Clinton campaign to the ultimate prize.
The viewer sits in on many strategy sessions, hears a portion of phone calls with others in the Clinton camp and sees the behind the scenes maneuvering of other staff members in creating the atmosphere for Clinton's election. The other side is studied briefly, too.
George Bush's words and appearances serve as a counterpoint to illustrate the reasons for the tactics of the Clinton team.
A great study of a political campaign in action.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 29, 2002
One of my all time favorite documentaries, The War Room depicts the behind the scene machinations of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. The documentary was originally supposed to be about the romance between chief Clinton strategist, James ( the "Ragin' Cajun") Carville, and Marlee Matilin, who, at the time, was a chief advisor to the George Bush campaign. But documentaries, like politics, have a way of taking on a life of their own, and The War Room turned into a cinema verité examination of a presidential election at work, through the eyes of the master, Carville, and George Stephanopoulos, Clinton's press secretary, with whom the audience identifies, idealist that he is.
The War Room gives one an opportunity to see up close the salesmanship, competitiveness, sincerity, frustration, and the unrelenting pace of king-making in politics. Carville and Stephanopoulos' work is exhilarating and exhausting. They are men of conviction, and have the battle-scars to prove it. As we watch the Convention showmanship, the strategies, the debates, and the cabin-fever come election day, we find ourselves knuckling down with our two guides and crossing our fingers as the results come in.
Hegedus and Pennebaker do a remarkable job of making the audience feel part and parcel of the Clinton campaign. Even more impressive, election strategy successes and failures come across as well. We see the Clinton strategists impressive "quick-response" system in action, as they do battle with the media over the Gennifer Flowers nightmare, and we see what at first seems to be a promising lead on the Bush campaign financing their sign-printing with foreign laborers fall off the nightly
news schedule.
Nobility and venality can coexist in the most talented and altruistic of people, but cannot be painlessly reconciled in the eyes of those who follow and admire them. This is a lesson lightly touched on by The War Room, and beaten over our heads by eight years that followed.
The War Room was an Academy Award nominee in the category of "Best Documentary."
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 14, 2001
A true classic of American politics, THE WAR ROOM, like the Carville/Matalin book ALL'S FAIR, makes it abundantly clear why Clinton beat Bush in one of the most unwinnable elections of the last half century.
To put it bluntly, Clinton and his campaign stayed in touch with the electorate and worked their tails off, while Matalin and the Bush campaign made weekly pronouncements about "the people's will" and through boozy parties for themselves.
Perhaps most fascinating in THE WAR ROOM is the relationship between Stephanopoulos, Carville, and Clinton, the three-headed Republican-killing dragon from Little Rock by way of Manhattan. Like a good sports team they are simultaneously loose and intense, kicked-back and on-issue.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on October 2, 2000
Perhaps I was looking for something that wasn't advertised, but I didn't find The War Room to be a particularly revealing look at Clinton's 1992 campaign. The advertised thrust that they changed the way campaigns were won is lost because the movie provides no point of reference to other ways to run a campaign.
It's pretty obvious that Carville is aware of the camera (though Stephanopolous seems more genuine) and the only time we get a real insider's look at the campaign is when they discover that Bush campaign materials were being printed in Brazil and attempt to orchestrate network coverage. That's what I was looking for in The War Room and it dissipates as quickly as it materializes. Carville's performance, given to rants and explitives, shows either 1) he is a very enigmatic figure or 2) cultivating an image of being a very enigmatic figure. Someone that not only gets Clinton elected but re-elected simply cannot be that impulsive.
Finally, it ends too soon. Stephanopolous' enthusiasm at Clinton's election didn't make it through the Clinton administration, and this might suggest dissolutionment that would be very interesting juxtaposed with his enthusiasm on election night (maybe room for a sequel?)
In the end, The War Room ends up being voyeurism for political junkies without the experience to know what really goes on in a campaign and with insufficient context to answer the question posed: Why was Clinton/Gore 92 a different kind of campaign? It was, but The War Room doesn't tell us why it was.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here