6.7/10
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9 user 6 critic

Tail Gunner Joe (1977)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | TV Movie 6 February 1977
A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a ... See full summary »

Director:

Jud Taylor

Writer:

Lane Slate
Reviews
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Boyle ... Joe McCarthy
John Forsythe ... Paul Cunningham
Heather Menzies-Urich ... Logan (as Heather Menzies)
Burgess Meredith ... Joseph Welch
Patricia Neal ... Sen. Margaret Chase Smith
Jean Stapleton ... Mrs. DeCamp
Philip Abbott ... Sen. Scott Lucas
Wesley Addy ... Middleton
Ned Beatty ... Sylvester
Karen Carlson ... Jean Kerr
John Carradine ... Wisconsin Farmer
Charles Cioffi ... Logan's Boss
Diana Douglas ... Sarah
Andrew Duggan ... Dwight Eisenhower
Henry Jones ... Armitage
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Storyline

A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a national power base when he later planned to run for President. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La chasse aux sorcières See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burgess Meredith, who plays the attorney Joseph Welch who finally stood up to Senator McCarthy, was himself named an unfriendly witness by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which nearly ruined his acting career. See more »

Quotes

JOSEPH WELCH: Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream that you could be so reckless, and so cruel, as to do an injury to that lad. Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency?
See more »

Crazy Credits

This program presents a dramatized interpretation of the life and times of Senator Joe McCarthy. Some of the names have been changed and the reporters and some of the persons interviewed have been created to serve as narrators of incidents based upon actual occurrences. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Peter Boyle and John Carradine
30 April 2017 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

"Tail Gunner Joe" was a three hour blockbuster for NBC on Feb 6 1977, detailing the rise and fall of Senator Joe McCarthy, played by the imposing Peter Boyle, then riding high on his multifaceted Creature in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." The left wing slant of the narrative shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Boyle's inherent likability shines through, enabling the more unsavory traits of McCarthy's nature to slide by in somewhat engaging fashion. Even at this length it's never really boring, guest stars galore offering their version of events to reporter Heather Menzies, the first up being John Carradine's 'Wisconsin Farmer,' discussing Joe's background before going into politics: "they say he left his mark on this country, I don't know about that, but he certainly left his chickens!" Boyle was nominated for an Emmy for his performance, as was Patricia Neal, but only Burgess Meredith took home the trophy as Joseph Welch, the attorney for the US Army who tried to turn McCarthy's accusations back on him, saved for the climax. In actual fact, Welch had indeed hired a young lawyer, Fred Fisher, who truly was employed by a Communist front group, the National Lawyers Guild, so in hindsight 'Tail Gunner Joe' successfully called out Welch, though neither man lived long after these hearings. John Forsythe, Jean Stapleton, Ned Beatty, and Andrew Duggan's Dwight Eisenhower come off best, with Richard M. Dixon still typecast as Vice President Nixon!


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