Path to War

Synopsis: A portrayal of the Johnson presidency and its spiraling descent into the Vietnam War. Acting on often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers, President Johnson finds his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also depicts his political skills as he crosses swords with political foes such as Bobby Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people and announces that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968 election.
Genre: Biography, Drama, War
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Production: HBO Video
  Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 27 nominations.
165 min

Congratulations, Mr. President.

Just the beginnin, Bob.

Sir! Mr. President, over here, please.

Thank you.

She is pretty.

Havin a good time, George?

Great night, Mr. President.

What a night.

Senator Dirksen,

the President would be delighted

if you'd join him in the Oval Office

after the ball.

I will.

One thing I can say

about the Great Society:

it sure is crowded!

Up all night writing this one, Dick?

Uh, this is one speech

I'll gladly disavow.

Got a clippin here.

Quotes my honorable defeated opponent,

Senator Goldwater.

Calls my Secretary of Defense

an IBM machine with legs!


Now, I stand here tonight

to tell you this,

that I regard Bob McNamara here

as not only one of the smartest

but one of the most humane men I know.

Right here.

And that goes

for all my blue ribbon men

you see here tonight.

Never in our history

has there been such

an abundance of brain and talent,

why I've got three

our four Rhodes scholars,

four or five graduates of Harvard,

a couple from Yale, and why,

there's even one here tonight

from Southwest Texas

State Teachers College!

And don't you know,

that one rules the roost!

Thank you.

Watch broken, Jack?

Timin it.

Timin what?

The applause. He'll ask.

In a land of great wealth,

families must not live

in hopeless poverty.

In a land rich in harvest,

children just must not go hungry.

In a land of healing miracles,

neighbors must not suffer

and die unattended.

In a great land of learning

and scholars,

young people must be taught

to read and write.

A bit more volume, please,

Mr. President.

I want to hear every brilliant word

that Dick Goodwin wrote

for your marvelous speech.

Goodwin!? Who told you Goodwin wrote

that speech?

A dozen people work on my speeches,

and nobody more than I do.

Why Jack here's been writin some

of my best stuff for seven years.

My penance for marryin away

his last secretary.

But, thank you for the credit,

Mr. President.

All right, good night, Jack.

Good night, Mr. President.

Good night, Senator.

Good night, Jack.

Yeah, Goodwin wrote

maybe a word or two.

Mhm. Great being one.

Society the other.

Smart sonovabitch got

that out of a book.

Now, listen to me, Ev and listen well.

You're a good friend,

I don't want to see

you retire prematurely.

But as this reception

plainly shows you,

the American people ain't

gonna stand for you

fellahs in the other side

of the isle draggin your feet

in any of my programs.

Now, FDR passed a handful of bills

in his first hundred days.

I'm gonna pass a bucketful.

Poverty, education, healthcare.

I'm gonna finish what I started

on Civil Rights, too.

I'm tellin ya, Jim Crow put a collar

on more smart men,

sure as they were sentenced

to an Illinois chain gang.

Whoa-whoa-whoa. I take offense, sir.

We are most humane to our condemned.

The Great Society

is my beautiful woman, Ev,

and I'm takin her by the arm.

And as the greatest republican leader

in this century,

Edward Dirksen's gonna take her

by the other

and help me escort that lady home.

Yes, and knowing what is likely

thence to ensue, Mr. President,

that is where I shall take my leave.

Lyndon, I apologize for interruptin,

I thought

perhaps you'd like some sandwiches

from the kitchen.

Mrs. Johnson, my most abject apology.

I have kept your husband far too long

on this most festive occasion.


Mr. President,

my heartfelt congratulations, sir.

Outta here.

Good night.

Good night. abundance of what we'e learned

from heartache.

Democracy rests upon the people.

Freedom is a gift,

the judgment is God's...

It was a wonderful speech.

Full of such hope and promise.

Dick Goodwin asked what I thought

and I told him it

was a magnificent job.

And you delivered it so very well.

Thank you, honey.

Yes, you did

Nine p.m. unless you hear from me.

Good morning. How are you?

Yes, thank you

Good morning.

Good morning.

Good morning, Mr. Secretary.

What have we got here?

A crisis in every capital?

Uh, just one.

This is one cable?

Not quite.

Here's the rest of it.

The situation in Viet Nam

is continuing to deteriorate,

we've been able

to keep the noise level down

since your campaign but

my guess is you'll be faced

with a tough decision soon.

How soon?

I've got 19 million older folks

can't see a doctor,

33 million under the poverty line,

I can't have Congress distracted.

Now how soon, Bob?

Very soon, Mr. President.

I hate to have to report this to you,

but Max Taylor says here that

Vietcong enlistment

is increasing rapidly

and that uh,

Saigon can't continue must longer

to provide security

for our advisors down there

and fight an insurgency

at the same time.

Why not?

How many men does South Vietnam

have out there fightin ?

Two hundred thousand.

VC have about thirtyfour thousand.

Well, how the hell

can thirty-four thousand

lick two hundred thousand?

Well, historically a ten

to one ratio minimum is required

for a guerrilla situation

and there's no way

that South Vietnam can achieve

that on their own.

Now, we've kept our powder dry through

the elections and holidays

waiting for some stability

in the South,

waiting for the cycle of coups to end,

during which we've had five killed

in the attack at Bien Hoa,

two at our Saigon officers quarters

and scores wounded

with no retaliation

from us whatsoever.

Rate this script:4.3 / 6 votes

Daniel Giat

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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