I am watching, and really enjoying, the movie, "Charlie Wilson's War".

How historically accurate is this movie?

  • Did Charlie Wilson play as big as role as is portrayed?
  • Is the movie accurate regarding Russia's activities in Afghanistan?


  • Genuinely interested, can somebody explain why this is a bad question, and how I can improve?
    – JMK
    Sep 15, 2014 at 21:59
  • 3
    Can you give a brief description of what this movie is about and how it relates to your question? As it stands, it would be impossible to answer your question without being familiar with the movie. Sep 15, 2014 at 23:53
  • 1
    Not my downvote, but it'd be more generally useful to the community, if the question elaborates on the film portrayal of Charlie Wilson and Russian activities. It'd also help focus the question, and perhaps someone familiar with Operation Cyclone but didn't watch the movie could weigh in too.
    – Semaphore
    Sep 16, 2014 at 3:46
  • 1
    What research have you done so far?
    – MCW
    Sep 16, 2014 at 11:37
  • 1
    The concept of "historical accuracy" is suspect, though I suspect you're using it as a proxy for "history as practiced by historians." Fictive films never meet the standards of historiography as works of history. In particular, this film's Whiggish moralising, simplification, and biographic fixation make the film's "accuracy" a trivial: of course not. Dec 14, 2014 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


It was Zbigniew Brzezinski who was the real architect. It was his grand strategy to deliver to the Soviets what he called the "Soviet Vietnam".

It was Zbigniew Brzezinski who wanted to engage the Soviets but faced opposition on the home front when it came to funding and supply of weapons.

In comes Charlie Wilson, a flamboyant cowboy with a boyish charm and a lot of contacts with lobbyists, evangelists and Senators. He took an unusually high interest in Afghanistan even when many of his own partymen concentrated their efforts on Central America and the drug wars. He was discreetly called in by the Reagan administration.

It was Zbigniew Brzezinski's brains with Charlie Wilson's charms coupled with Avrokatos' team's analytical skills and planning and detailing of the plans.

There is another figure who was ignored that was a guy called Raymond Casey who pulled all the strings to make all this possible. He pulled up an unwilling or rather incapabale CIA to pool their resources to support the Mujahiddeen. He didn't play any role in the actual strategic decisions though.

The movie portrays the defeat of the Soviets as Charlie Wilson's idea from start to finish. He was a just one of the big team who made all this possible. In fact, he was a tool in the hands of Zbigniew Brzenzski who lacked his charm and contacts.

Charlie Wilson is potrayed as a lone ranger figure taking on the Indians all by himself. The movie isn't complete fantasy. But it was a cowboy movie in a political drama setting with a fake hero. The real heroes were Zbigniew Brzezinski and Raymond Casey.

  • 4
    We generally prefer our answers to have more than two words. Even if they are big ones with lots of Zs.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 13, 2014 at 22:50
  • 2
    Sorry, -1 for now. Please expand the answer and I will be happy to reverse my vote. Dec 13, 2014 at 23:54
  • @FelixGoldberg Looks like the answer has been expanded now, I gave an upvote, interesting stuff
    – JMK
    Dec 14, 2014 at 17:59
  • well, I wanted to gather more information in the meantime so I just reserved my place
    – user8718
    Dec 14, 2014 at 18:59
  • Okay, I upvoted now (but it'd be better to have a source too). Dec 15, 2014 at 14:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.