Box art for Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's War


Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts star in this true story about a hard-drinking, womanizing Texas congressman who, with the help of an unorthodox CIA agent, single-handedly drove the funding of Afghan guerillas in the 1980's

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5

Adult comedy takes an incisive look at politics.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie is decidedly adult. For starters, it deals with complex issues connected to political wrangling and Middle Eastern power struggles. And then there's the booze, gunfire, and sexual content (including some nudity), strong language (be ready for lots of "f--k"s)-- it's all here and then some. That said, the movie is also smart, with a main character who's infinitely more interesting than many other people in movies. While it's not perfect, it's still a worthy watch, especially for older teens and adults interested in the political process.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Wilson's motives for supporting the Afghan rebels. Does it seem realistic that he would so quickly devote himself to a cause he doesn't at first appear to understand? Is the movie subject easy or hard to understand? The film is also one in a recent rush of war-themed movies; do you think it encapsulates the issues of the time in a clear and succinct way? Why is Hollywood producing so many war-themed films lately? How do the politicians come across?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: While not deeply insightful, Charlie Wilson's War is an eye-opening and sassy tale of political will making for unlikely bedfellows.

- Claudia Puig, USA Today, Friday, December 21, 2007

Fresh: Tells a momentous story -- a story every American should know -- in a boisterous, lickety-split style that makes the history lesson go down easily.

- David Edelstein, New York Magazine, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audience Reviews

2 stars


- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

3 stars

Congressman Charlie Wilson is the most likable character as played by Tom Hanks among the three leads, in my opinion. And yet he's a womanizer without many positive personality traits. I warmed to FBI agent Gust Avrakotos as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman toward the end, mainly because I started to get his sense of humor more. Joanne Herring as played by Julia Roberts was completely unlikable and grating. Whether their motivations for raising $1 billion annually to give weapons to Afghanistan resistance fighters against the Soviet Union was based on anti-Communist sentiments, naively trying to "save" the hurting underdog from the big bad superpower, having a personal grudge to prove, or wanting to be a Christian missionary to the poor souls out there in the desert, it is the stuff that sickens me about politics and war. The story is slow moving. I suppose I could have paid better attention to catch more of the details and understand the deals that were being made between different Middle Eastern countries, but I don't have a good background on that history and it confused me. The last scene in front of the Congressional Committee made the whole movie tragically better. But my favorite part was Gust's story about the little boy and the Zen master. It is a great bit of wisdom and very relevant to life and political maneuvers toward war. "And the Zen master says, 'We'll see.'"

- hypathio7, Thursday, May 20, 2010

1 star

Not as good as I hoped it be.The previews were better

- dukeakasmudge, Tuesday, October 20, 2009