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War room 1

IDFA - The War Room

Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker / US, 1993 / 96 min.

In hindsight, you could say that the “affair ghost” prophetically haunts the film that D. A. Pennebaker and his wife Chris Hegedus made during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Instead of gaining special access to the candidate himself, they get partial access to his campaign team.

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As the now proverbial “flies on the wall,” the duo shot 35 hours of footage in and around the chaotic headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, dubbed “The War Room.” We get it all: the strategic phone calls to the press, the preparations for the debates with George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot, and the excitement around the latest polls.

The War Room mostly concentrates on the charismatic and passionate campaign leader James Carville (aka “Ragin” Cajun”) and the more introverted but no less charismatic head of communications George Stephanopoulos. Together, they deliver all the ingredients of a successful campaign: shedding blood, sweat and tears while not lacking in shameless brutality—a characteristic that proves to be particularly useful when a list of alleged mistresses surfaces.



Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker

Production year





96 min.





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