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Path to War (2002)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, War | TV Movie 18 May 2002
In the mid-1960s, President Johnson and his foreign-policy team debate the decision to withdraw from or escalate the war in Vietnam.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writer:

Daniel Giat
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Popularity
4,921 ( 177)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Gambon ... Lyndon Johnson
Donald Sutherland ... Clark Clifford
Alec Baldwin ... Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense
Bruce McGill ... George Ball, Undersecretary of State
James Frain ... Richard Goodwin
Felicity Huffman ... Lady Bird Johnson
Frederic Forrest ... General Earle G. Wheeler
John Aylward ... Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
Philip Baker Hall ... Everett Dirksen
Tom Skerritt ... General William Westmoreland
Diana Scarwid ... Marny Clifford
Sarah Paulson ... Luci Baines Johnson
Gerry Becker ... Walt Rostow
Peter Jacobson ... Adam Yarmolinsky
Cliff De Young ... McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor (as Cliff DeYoung)
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Storyline

A portrayal of the Johnson presidency and its spiraling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers, President Johnson finds his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also depicts his political skills as he crosses swords with political foes such as Bobby Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people and announces that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968 election. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond the battlefields of Vietnam. Inside the halls of power. A different kind of war would decide the fate of a nation. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

HBO Films [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Path to War See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the 8th John Frankenheimer movie scored by composer Gary Chang. See more »

Goofs

Lyndon B. Johnson was a native Texan. However, Michael Gambon's native British accent occasionally slips in, particularly in the pronunciation of some words ("taught", "fought", "should" or "heart") and the use of some terms that a would be unfamiliar to an American, such as "goobledygook". See more »

Quotes

McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor: The South Vietnamese are useless, Mr. President. They've lost four battalions in the last month. Desertions are at record levels. They're losing, and they're losing fast.
Lyndon Baines Johnson: I know they're losing! I don't need a Phi Beta Kappa key to know they're losing! Anyone smart enough to pour piss out of a boot knows they're losing!
See more »

Connections

References Goldfinger (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Taps
(aka "Butterfield's Lullaby" and "Day Is Done") (uncredited)
Composed by Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield (1862 arrangement of earlier melody "Scott Tattoo")
Played during necrology of Vietnam dead on TV.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent and truly compelling...
4 October 2003 | by OnthethresholdSee all my reviews

effort at depicting the essence of Lyndon Johnson and his tragic presidency. Michael Gambon is a superb actor and his portrayal of the 36th president is by far the best I've seen yet. Most films depict LBJ as essentially some Texan buffoon without a clue. In reality, Johnson was a superb politician whose hopes and dreams for his country were ultimately thwarted by a war he never wanted in the first place. 'Path to War' shows how a man with all the strength, talent and skill to do potentially great things finds himself losing the battle on both fronts. The war on poverty that he so dearly cared for being defeated by the war in Vietnam, and as his own administration and the country turn against him, the downfall of a political giant.

I would suggest that this film be shown in high school classrooms as a way to educate our young people about LBJ, the man, his times and his legacy. Vilifed though he may be by many, 'Path to War' is truly a fantastic portrayal of the human side of the man and how he struggled to do what he thought was right for his country and for the world.


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