Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    McNamara speaks concisely and forcibly, rarely searching for a word, and he is not reciting boilerplate and old sound bites; there is the uncanny sensation that he is thinking as he speaks.
  2. The filmmaking is meticulous and the ideas are endlessly thought-provoking.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    Though the movie may not change many minds about McNamara, it richly humanizes him, a valuable feat atop all the fascinating reflection.
  4. 100
    A chilling reminder of the precipice the world stands on nowadays, from a man who looked over the edge more than once.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hughes
    100
    The film's status as must-see documentary of the year is indisputable.
  6. In the end, The Fog of War offers a couple of hours of brilliant clarity amid the noise and chaos.
  7. Errol Morris may have been put on earth to make The Fog of War, a stunning portrait of Robert S. McNamara that closes a year of outstanding nonfiction movies on a high note.
  8. Reviewed by: Melissa Levine
    100
    Brilliant.
  9. 100
    Never one to shy away from challenges, Morris has come up with one of the best documentaries of this or any year.
  10. If there's one movie that ought to be studied by military and civilian leaders around the world at this treacherous historical moment, it is The Fog of War, Errol Morris's sober, beautifully edited documentary portrait of the former United States defense secretary Robert S. McNamara.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    This is spellbinding reality cinema about duplicity and, worse, ignorance at the highest level.
  12. 90
    Revisits the past with an eye on the present and future, hoping as McNamara does that his "lessons" are instructive and might keep history from repeating itself.
  13. 90
    No matter what your opinion of McNamara, The Fog of War is a chastening experience.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Errol Morris delivers a compelling, thoughtful and entirely involving documentary in The Fog of War.
  15. McNamara fits perfectly into Morris's canon: He tells a story that knocks you right off your feet.
  16. 88
    It will knock you for a loop like no other movie this year.
  17. 88
    The most compelling -- and horrifying -- portion of the film, which interweaves archival footage and stylish graphics with the interview segments, centers on the firebombing of Japan during World War II.
  18. McNamara, a robust conversationalist, is so lively that he bursts out of what is essentially a talking-head documentary.
  19. 88
    The film's central drama is not between the former secretary and the filmmaker. It's between McNamara and history.
  20. 88
    McNamara has a reputation for being intelligent and belligerent. The Fog of War validates the former characteristic, but not necessarily the latter.
  21. McNamara's too mentally adroit to let Morris pin blame or guilt on him, and the director's not interested in shaming him.
  22. Arguably the most conventional documentary made by Errol Morris and, perhaps equally surprising, it displays sympathy toward its subject.
  23. Reviewed by: Bob Westal
    80
    Presents us with a man who simply cannot be easily categorized, even when he looks us straight in the eye.
  24. 80
    Simultaneously offers priceless insight into the nation's past and a worrisome take on the future.
  25. 80
    No one could have held The Fog of War wanting if Morris had concluded that it's impossible to get all the way to the bottom of Robert McNamara. But explicating an enigma is not the same thing as blurring it with artistic ambitions. The thickest fog in this documentary has been conjured not by McNamara, but by Errol Morris.
  26. Reviewed by: Marc Cooper
    80
    Morris is a more talented filmmaker than he is an interviewer. Mean-while, McNamara is a subject so complex and so rich in nuance that he requires no cinematic embellishment.
  27. Haunting, troubling documentary.
  28. The film's greatest strength is its inadvertent timeliness. Parallels between LBJ's Vietnam policy and George W. Bush's Iraq policy go off in your head like flares.
  29. An extraordinary documentary about an extraordinary man that brings to urgent life potentially dry questions of American foreign policy in the 1960s.
  30. The S in Robert S. McNamara stands for Strange, which is an unusual middle name and perhaps an apt description of the man at the centre of documentary filmmaker Errol Morris's gripping character study, The Fog of War.
  31. McNamara finally gets to tell his side of the story -- and is somewhat humanized in the process -- but still comes off looking like a tragic character living in a state of denial.
  32. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    60
    They're answers that will either earn your respect, or further damn him as the architect of an American nightmare.
  33. More often McNamara comes across as Exhibit A in Morris's latest metaphysical creepshow.
  34. The film is watchable as well as informative...But I wish I had a better notion of what story he's trying to tell.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. May 25, 2013
    6
    This film really plays out as a biography of the life of Robert S McNamara, former secretary of defence for both Kennedy and JohnsonThis film really plays out as a biography of the life of Robert S McNamara, former secretary of defence for both Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Unlike many current politicians though he comes across as both honest and sincere, readily admitting that he made mistakes during his time in office.

    The main focus of the film is on WWII, Vietnam and the Cold War with some frightening insights into just how close seemingly reasonable people can come to nuclear war. McNamara discusses the role of himself and others in a frank manner communicating what he has learnt in his remarkable life.

    It would have been nice to hear from others involved in the eras discussed but overall The Fog of War is a fairly intriguing watch.
    Full Review »
  2. May 16, 2011
    10
    The best documentary ever made.

    The music is beautiful and haunting, The film is a fantastic send off to McNamara, a man who is certainly
    The best documentary ever made.

    The music is beautiful and haunting, The film is a fantastic send off to McNamara, a man who is certainly going to hell when he dies.
    Full Review »
  3. ShannonP.
    Jul 10, 2006
    10
    This should be required viewing in every college and high school history class touching on American history. Those who would so readily crown This should be required viewing in every college and high school history class touching on American history. Those who would so readily crown WW II era Americans as "the greatest generation" can contemplate the little discussed fire bombing and burning of dozens of Japanese cities and tens of thousands of civilian women and children. If, as McNamara argues, "proportionality" is a key standard for judging war time behavior, then. Full Review »