Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Charlie Wilson's War is the true story of how a playboy congressman, a renegade CIA agent, and a beautiful Houston socialite joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history. Their efforts contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, with consequences that reverberate throughout the world today. (Universal Studios) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. 90
    The two actors (Hanks/Seymour Hoffman) have terrific chemistry and riff off one another like partners in a veteran comedy team.
  2. Hanks has a good time, romping around with the assurance of a holy fool. He and Roberts seem "actorish," putting on accents and mannerisms, but they're entertaining. Hoffman is something more, a scenery-devouring force of nature irresistible as a cyclone and irreverent as a stand-up comedian at a midnight show.
  3. 83
    Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Julia Roberts has never played a dowager before, but heaven knows she makes a good, and funny, one.
  5. Like Sorkin's D.C.-set TV series, "West Wing," his script for Charlie Wilson's War is full of rapid-fire badinage, with movers and shakers moving smart and shaking snappy as a squad of aides trot along behind, briefcases and coffee cups in tow. A decade - not to mention a war - never went by so quickly.
  6. Philip Seymour Hoffman carries the movie. As the CIA operative who hates Communists and his myopic superiors in equal measure, he has a wily, don’t-give-a-shit drive that makes you wish he’d been in Baghdad in 2003.
  7. 30
    As creator and head writer of "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin had a gift for making policy debate seem sexy, but what worked in the context of that liberal fantasy founders badly amid the realpolitik of this cold war drama.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 53
  2. Negative: 1 out of 53
  1. TimH
    Jun 29, 2008
    Anyone who doesn't give this movie an 8, 9, or 10 must not have gone to the movies lately. This movie is funny, intelligent and the acting goes from very good (Hanks and Roberts) to great (Hoffman). It also is about real life important events that have been shot as an entertaining story that never lets the pace slow down. I just wish I had seen ot on the big screen rather than on a DVD, it probably would have been even better. Expand
  2. RichardW.
    Dec 25, 2007
    Witty cynical rendition of real history
  3. JeffJ.
    Jan 13, 2008
    First, it was funnier than I expected. I guess you shouldn't be surprised by an "expose" of what being a Congressman is like but Hanks' portrayal of the womanizing Wilson is good (although he did seem less into women than someone who hires them for their looks would be). The real prize here is Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the CIA analyst that partners with Wilson to bring weapons to the Afghan mujahedeen. It's very entertaining and has no dull spots. Trying to tell a complex real-life story like this in a 2 hr movie is hard and this is the film's only weakness IMO. Expand
  4. DanB.
    Jan 2, 2008
    Despite a few structural flaws, it is highly enjoyable--well written, well acted, funny, and occasionally even poignant. For what more can one ask, really? Hmmm? Expand
  5. May 29, 2012
    First and foremost, Charlie Wilson's War is extremely well-performed, with Tom Hanks giving his best performance in years as the Texas Congressman who transforms from an irresponsible playboy scumbag to a moralistic defender of Afghanistan. Julia Roberts also impresses as Joanne Herring, a manipulative and religious socialite, as does Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos. Aaron Sorkin's script is an absolute joy, full of fun, energy and satire not only of the past, but the present as well. It's really a wonder why the events shown are not more widely known about, or heavily appropriated for film, as "the largest covert operation in history" makes for cinematic gold. Everyone thinks of this fascinating period of history as simply another war (albeit without actual military engagements) between the USA and the USSR, and it's easy to forget how many other countries were drawn into this conflict between two superpowers. The film does attempt to address this oversight in cinema, and its hugely gratifying to witness lesser-known history on the big screen. The finale is a little generic and disappointing in comparison to the rest of the film, and you could certainly ccuse director Mike Nichols and Sorkin for presenting a rather rose-tinted view of the controversial Wilson. Though the congressman's intentions may have been noble, you cannot ignore the fact that he lent substantial support to groups and individuals whose intentions were decidedly less so. Romanticised though it may be for the sake of empathy and dramatic resonance, the film is still an enjoyable insight into an extraordinary figure in the history of international politics, and a fitting and intelligent tribute to a man who many remember with much admiration. Collapse
  6. C.B.
    Dec 30, 2007
    PSH rules this film.
  7. EricB.
    Dec 27, 2007
    This movie takes complex historical events and simplifies them to the point of idiocy. It's pretense to historical reality is garbage. Its basically well produced piece of junk from people who get their history from comic books. Don't waste your money; nothing going for this film that was neither "rational" nor "inspirational", but rather demonstrates the problems with people who are specialists in acting thinking that they actually understand international politics. Don't waste your money. Expand

See all 53 User Reviews