The War Room

The War Room

DVD - 2004
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Documentary about the Clinton presidential campaign, from the New Hampshire primary to the victory party 10 months later. At the center are the two men most responsible for Clinton's victory- James Carville, the campaign manager, and George Stephanopoulos, the communications director. This is a compelling portrait of the two men and the skill and determination required to bring about a victory.
Publisher: Universal City, CA : Universal Studios Home Video, [2004]
Edition: Full frame
ISBN: 9781417026067
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Aug 26, 2016

"It's the economy stupid."
Watching this 1993 documentary about the Clinton campaign shows you how much has changed in documentary filmmaking over the past 2 decades. "The War Room," which refers to where the Clinton campaign team, led by James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, met to plan. Co-director D.A. Pennebaker emerged from the documentary movement sometimes called direct cinema or cinema verite, which avoided voice over narration, non-digetic music, and overtly cinematic techniques. His best known films are about music: "Don't Look Back," "Monterey Pop," and "Ziggy Stardust." He and co-director Chris Hegedus apply those techniques here and offer little commentary or context, which may be the source of confusion and frustration for some viewers. Now we're used to political documentaries that have an obvious point of view (Michael Moore) or use a wide variety of film techniques to create the story (Errol Morris). "The War Room" lets the story emerge somewhat more organically and in that case, the story is Carville and Stephanopoulos, more so than Clinton. While we know much more about how campaigns are run now, it was a unique behind the scenes documentary at the time and, as such, has historical importance. This deluxe edition features commentary, a follow up documentary, and an essay.

Aug 16, 2013

This is a 1993 documentary about Bill Clinton's campaign for President of the United States during the 1992 presidential election---from the New Hampshire primary to the victory party 10 months later.
The film follows Stephanopoulos and Carville at first during the New Hampshire Primary and then mostly in Little Rock, Arkansas at Clinton Campaign Headquarters.
It also depicts several key 1992 Campaign events such as the Clinton Campaign's attack on "Read my lips: no new taxes", the Gennifer Flowers scandal, the New Hampshire primary upset and others as they played out inside of the Clinton 1992 Campaign.
The documentary uses many media headlines from the day, including media coverage of the election and other news stories such as Ross Perot's presidential exit and re-entrance, among other topics.
Although the film adequately portrays the two important men at work, the unique and effective skills required to bring about the victory are not clearly shown to the audience.

Oct 18, 2012

This is not your usual documentary. My husband and I found it kind of hard to follow in places and would have found some kind of narrative over some of the scenes helpful, since we are not familiar with how campaigns were run before this one so didn't "get" that this was a radical new way to run a presidential campaign. There is no voice-over whatsoever. We wound up having a love/hate relationship with this movie. It was interesting, but could have been a lot more interesting.


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