Video Release: November 10, 1998
Theatrical Release: 1992
Rating: PG (MPAA)
Studio: Trimark Home Video
- Dolby Surround
- Closed Captioned
- Digitally Mastered
- Runtime: 96 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
- Released in English
The inimitable "ragin' Cajun" James Carville and his preppy pundit sidekick George Stephanopoulos are in rare form here as Bill Clinton's top campaign strategists. Together, Carville and Stephanopoulos coin resonant campaign witticisms replete with biting commentary on the Bush administration's outmoded leadership and management. With their media finesse, both men adroitly deflect the slanderous remarks thrown Clinton's way.
The film is a vociferous political document plotting the nine month race for the White House from the Democratic stategists' holy ground -- better known as The War Room.
Watch James Carville, George Stephanopolous and the entire crew of the War Room search out and destroy George Bush's campaign and launch Bill Clinton into the White House in this text book of modern political tactics.
"The War Room" is cinTma vTritT pioneer D.A. Pennebaker's first political film since the 1977 document "The Energy War." Other films by Pennebaker include: "Don't Look Back," a portrait of Bob Dylan, "Crisis," which features Bobby Kennedy, and a picture about Jimi Hendrix titled "Monterey Pop." According to reports, Pennebaker and Hegedus started filming just before the Democratic National convention held in New York City.
The concept for the film came from Wendy Ettinger and R.J. Cutler, two theater producers in their 30's, who were greatly excited by the Clinton campaign. "Clinton was doing something that had never been done as long as I had been able to vote. It reminded everyone of the Kennedy era, in terms of intelligence and charisma," Ettinger told Phillip Weiss of the New York Observer.
Once Ettinger and Cutler decided to film the campaign they viewed D.A. Pennebaker's "Crisis" at the Museum of Broadcasting. Deeply moved by Pennebaker's document Ettinger and Cutler decided to locate the filmmaker. Ettinger contacted friends in Washington, as well as the Little Rock headquarters, after sending important political pundits copies of "Crisis," in hopes that they would respond favorably to the idea.
On the eve of the Democratic convention, the production crew learned there would be no access to Clinton. Instead they could set up shop in the strategical office, better known as the war room. The production crew filmed for 8 days in Little Rock, and ended up with what amounted to 40 hours of footage. The directors also used stock footage of earlier campaign highlights.
Before its limited release, the film was screened privately for Pennebaker's and Hegedus's friends Susan Saranson, Sam Cohn of ICM and Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The film was produced on a "shoestring budget" of $140,000.
"The War Room" premiered at the 1993 New York Film Festival, running time 94 minutes.