6.7/10
146
10 user 6 critic

Tail Gunner Joe (1977)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | TV Movie 6 February 1977
A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a ... See full summary »

Director:

Jud Taylor

Writer:

Lane Slate
Reviews
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Boyle ... Joe McCarthy
John Forsythe ... Paul Cunningham
Heather Menzies-Urich ... Logan (as Heather Menzies)
Burgess Meredith ... Joseph Welch
Patricia Neal ... Sen. Margaret Chase Smith
Jean Stapleton ... Mrs. DeCamp
Philip Abbott ... Sen. Scott Lucas
Wesley Addy ... Middleton
Ned Beatty ... Sylvester
Karen Carlson ... Jean Kerr
John Carradine ... Wisconsin Farmer
Charles Cioffi ... Logan's Boss
Diana Douglas ... Sarah
Andrew Duggan ... Dwight Eisenhower
Henry Jones ... Armitage
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Storyline

A dramatization of the life of Joe McCarthy, the alcoholic senator from Wisconsin whose tactics of accusing prominent people of Communist sympathies were initially designed to give him a national power base when he later planned to run for President. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La chasse aux sorcières See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burgess Meredith, who plays the attorney Joseph Welch who finally stood up to Senator McCarthy, was himself named an unfriendly witness by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which nearly ruined his acting career. See more »

Quotes

JOSEPH WELCH: Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream that you could be so reckless, and so cruel, as to do an injury to that lad. Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency?
See more »

Crazy Credits

This program presents a dramatized interpretation of the life and times of Senator Joe McCarthy. Some of the names have been changed and the reporters and some of the persons interviewed have been created to serve as narrators of incidents based upon actual occurrences. See more »

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User Reviews

Peter Boyle is brilliant!
3 September 2003 | by dtucker86See all my reviews

Peter Boyle is a truly amazing character actor! He is perhaps best known for his role on the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He has an amazing body of work to his credit. He first became a star in 1970 when he played a hardhat bigot in the sleeper hit Joe and then in 1974 he gave a funny and yet at the same time rather touching performance in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein. Three years after that, he starred in this television film as one of the most controversial political figures of the twentieth century, Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. There are certain figures in our American culture, that defy definition or description. You could read every article and headline and book about them and they would remain a puzzling enigma and McCarthy was certainly one of these. Was he a true American patriot who just got carried away in his own crusade? or a selfish and brutal demagogue who only cared about the headlines that his wild charges made and got him re-elected to the Senate? McCarthyism became a byword of our culture, it began as a speech that this man made in my homestate of Wheeling, West Virginia when he waved that infamous piece of paper above his head and said that he had in his hand a list of 205 persons who were members of the Communist party who were members of the State Department and it snowballed into a tornado that shook the very fiber and walls of Representative American Government. This movie, or rather I should say that writer of this film has no love for this man. It presents him as an unalloyed sleaze and an almost Shakespeare like villian. You almost expect Boyle to say "Now is the winter of our discontent...." I recently read a more balanced biography of Joe that shed him in a different light. Its true that he did bad things, but his good was presented as well. Maybe McCarthy's greatest tragedy was his own recklessness. His motto in life seemed to be. He who does not live dangerously, does not live at all. Boyle still did an amazing job and Burgess Meredith is wonderful as the lawyer who opposed him at the Army McCarthy hearings.


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