“Charlie did it.”
—Pakistani President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq,
explaining the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan

Congressman Charlie Wilson (TOM HANKS) and Houston socialite Joanne Herring (JULIA ROBERTS) in the film that tells the raucous true story of the largest covert operation in history: "Charlie Wilson's War".Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel Copyright: © 2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

A stiff drink. A little mascara. A lot of nerve.

Who said they couldn’t bring down the Soviet empire. Charlie Wilson’s War is the outrageous true story of how one congressman who loved a good time, one Houston socialite who loved a good cause and one CIA agent who loved a good fight conspired to bring about the largest covert operation in history.

Oscar® winners TOM HANKS (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia), JULIA ROBERTS (Erin Brockovich, Closer) and PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (Capote, The Savages) team with Academy Award®-winning director MIKE NICHOLS (Closer, The Graduate) and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter AARON SORKIN (A Few Good Men, television’s The West Wing) to bring GEORGE CRILE’s best-selling book to the screen.

Charlie Wilson (Hanks) was a bachelor congressman from Texas whose “Good Time Charlie” personality masked an astute political mind, deep sense of patriotism and compassion for the underdog. In the early 1980s, with the looming advance of a Russian invasion, that underdog was Afghanistan.

Charlie’s longtime friend, frequent patron and sometime lover was Joanne Herring (Roberts), one of the wealthiest women in Texas and a virulent anticommunist.

Believing the American response to the invasion of Afghanistan was anemic at best, she prodded Charlie into doing for the Mujahideen—the country’s legendary freedom fighters—what no one else could: secure funding and weapons to eradicate Soviet aggressors from their land. Charlie’s partner in this uphill endeavor was CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), a bulldog, blue-collar operative who worked in the company of Ivy League blue bloods dismissive of his talents.

Together, Charlie, Joanne and Gust traveled the world to form an unlikely alliance among Pakistanis, Israelis, Egyptians, lawmakers and a belly dancer. Their success was remarkable.

Over the nine-year course of the occupation of Afghanistan, United States funding for covert operations against the Soviets went from $5 million to $1 billion annually, and the Red Army subsequently retreated from Afghanistan.

Congressman Charlie Wilson (TOM HANKS) tries to persuade Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Doc Long (NED BEATTY) in the film that tells the raucous true story of the largest covert operation in history: "Charlie Wilson's War". Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel Copyright: © 2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Joining the acclaimed cast are a group of seasoned performers and promising up- and-coming actors, including AMY ADAMS (Junebug, Enchanted) as Charlie’s right- hand-woman, Bonnie Bach; NED BEATTY (Network, Deliverance) as the chairman of the House’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Doc Long; EMILY BLUNT (The Devil Wears Prada, Jane Austen Book Club) as a randy constituent of Charlie’s district, Jane Liddle; OM PURI as Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq; KEN STOTT as arms dealer Zvi Rafiah; and JUD TYLOR as aspiring starlet/former Playboy cover girl Crystal Lee.

To re-create the early 1980s world of Charlie Wilson’s War, the filmmakers have assembled an acclaimed creative team that includes director of photography STEPHEN GOLDBLATT (Closer, The Prince of Tides); production designer VICTOR KEMPSTER (Miami Vice, Any Given Sunday); composer JAMES NEWTON HOWARD (King Kong, Michael Clayton); two-time-Academy Award®-winning costume designer ALBERT WOLSKY (Across the Universe, Bugsy); two-time-Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor RICHARD EDLUND (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark); and the editing
team of Oscar® winner JOHN BLOOM (Notes on a Scandal, Gandhi) and ANTONIA VAN DRIMMELEN (Notes on a Scandal, Closer). Charlie Wilson’s War is produced by Tom Hanks and GARY GOETZMAN (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Mamma Mia!).

The executive producers for the film are CELIA COSTAS, RYAN KAVANAUGH and JEFF SKOLL.

"Charlie Wilson's War" Index

Film Home Page | Entertainment Magazine

2007 Film Entertainment Magazine / EMOL.org. All rights reserved.

Film Entertainment Magazine

From Publishers Weekly: Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman,liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill. Only slightly less improbable is Gust Avrakotos, a blue-collar Greek immigrant who joined the CIA when it was an Ivy League preserve and fought his elitist colleagues almost as ruthlessly as he fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War's waning years. In conjunction with President Zia of Pakistan in the 1980s, Wilson and Arvakotos circumvented most of the barriers to arming the Afghan mujahideen-distance, money, law and internal CIA politics, to name a few. Their coups included getting Israeli-modified Chinese weapons smuggled into Afghanistan, with the Pakistanis turning a blind eye,and the cultivation of a genius-level weapons designer and strategist named Michael Vickers, a key architect of the guerrilla campaign that left the Soviet army stymied. The ultimate weapon in Afghanistan was the portable Stinger anti-aircraft missile, which eliminated the Soviet's Mi-24 helicopter gunships and began the train of events leading to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites. A triumph of ruthless ability over scruples, this story has dominated recent history in the form of blowback: many of the men armed by the CIA became the Taliban's murderous enforcers and Osama bin Laden's protectors. Yet superb writing from Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, will keep even the most vigorous critics of this Contra-like affair reading to the end.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal
A longtime Sixty Minutes producer investigates the expenditure of what eventually amounted to $1 billion a year to support Afghanistan's Mujahideen in their battle against the Soviets.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

• Paperback: 560 pages
• Publisher: Grove Press (April 22, 2004)
• Language: English

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