Charlie Wilson’s War

A stiff drink. A little mascara. A lot of nerve. Who said they couldn’t bring down the Soviet empire.

Emily as: Jane Liddle
Genre(s): Biography | Comedy | Drama
Written by: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), George Crile (novel)
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Other Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Release Date: December 21, 2007
Production Budget: $75m
Total Worldwide Gross: $119m
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA and Marrakech, Morocco

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.

Charlie Wilson (Hanks) was a bachelor congressman from Texas who had a habit of showing up in hot tubs with strippers and cocaine. His “Good Time Charlie” exterior, however, masked an extraordinary mind, a deep sense of patriotism and a passion for the underdog, and in the early 1980s the underdog was Afghanistan–which had just been brutally invaded by the Russians.

Charlie’s longtime friend and patron and sometime lover was Joanne Herring (Roberts), one of the wealthiest women in Texas and a virulent anti-communist. Believing the American response to the Russian invasion was anemic at best, she prods Charlie into doing more for the Mujahideen (Afghan freedom fighters).

Charlie’s partner in this uphill endeavor is CIA Agent Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), a blue-collar operative in a company of Ivy League blue bloods. Together, the three of them–Charlie, Joanne and Gust–travel the world to form unlikely alliances among the Pakistanis, Israelis, Egyptians, arms dealers, law makers and a belly dancer.

Their success was remarkable. Funding for covert operations against the Soviets went from $5 million to $1 billion annually. The Red Army retreated out of Afghanistan. When asked how a group of peasants was able to deliver such a decisive blow to the army of a superpower, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq responded simply, “Charlie did it.”

Production Info

  • Emily Blunt filmed her part in two days.
  • Director Mike Nichols’ final theatrical film.
  • Though recuperating from heart transplant surgery, the real Charlie Wilson made it to the red carpet premiere of the film.
  • In the film, Charlie Wilson’s aides were all beautiful well-endowed women nicknamed “Charlie’s Angels”. In real life, his chief aide was a man named Charlie Schnabel.
  • Towards the end of the movie, Charlie Wilson is presented with one of the Stingers he helped provide to the Afghanis. In an interview, the real Charlie Wilson said the Stinger is one of his most prized possessions, kept in “a very honored spot in my home.”
  • Charlie Wilson said in a USA Today article that he had no qualms about the film, saying “Anything I might have objected to was provable”.
  • Character Quotes

  • It’s hotter here in D.C. than in Nacogdoches, so I hope you don’t mind, I took off a few of my clothes.
  • How about I show you the second best view in the District?
  • Quoting: Emily Blunt

    On working with Tom Hanks: I mean he’s just such a pro. He’s been doing it for so many years and he’s so good at what he does. He’s also an impossibly nice guy who the crew all love. So I’ve tried to follow his work ethic as well.