8.0/10
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144 user 37 critic

Fail-Safe (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 15 January 1965 (Finland)
American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

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Writers:

(screenplay), (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »
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United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Colonel Grady (as Ed Binns)
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William Hansen ...
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General Stark (as Russell Hardy)
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Nancy Berg ...
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Frank Simpson ...
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Storyline

A series of human and computer errors sends a squadron of American 'Vindicator' bombers to nuke Moscow. The President, in order to convince the Soviets that this is a mistake, orders the Strategic Air Command to help the Soviets stop them. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will have you sitting on the brink of eternity! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1965 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Fail Safe  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal Schaefer wrote a score for the film but director Sidney Lumet decided to release it without any music. However a promotional single by The Hal Schaefer Quintet, "Fail Safe Parts 1 and 2" was released on the Colpix label. There is music on the trailer, and it is probably extracted from Schaefer's score. See more »

Goofs

Just before Mrs Grady tries to speak to her husband, the Ultimate 1 war room display shows 3 Vindicator bombers when at this time there is only one left. See more »

Quotes

Defense Secretary Swenson: The President says he may have to order our fighters to shoot down Group Six. He wants our opinion.
Prof. Groeteschele: I oppose it, sir, on the grounds that it's premature. Our planes have not yet reached Soviet territory, they're still hundreds of miles away.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: We've got to do it, and fast! Right now before it's too late!
Gen. Stark: It might be too late anyway. Those fighters swung away from the bombers when they got the all-clear signal, they've been flying in opposite directions.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The sounds of a bullfight crowd is heard in reference to Black's matador dream. Then, the squeal of the Russian ambassador's melted phone which the President stated would be heard when New York City was bombed. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fonda on Fonda (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the very best movies ever made.
5 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just bought a copy of this movie after hemming and hawing for several years. I have both read the book and seen the film several times.

This is without a doubt one of the very best motion pictures ever made. The cast is exceptional and features actors that went on to be type cast as either comic or hack, Dom De-louis, Walter Matthau, Larry Hagman, in some unbelievably well done dramatic parts.

Along with Henry Fonda as the most realistic president ever put to film, The entire cast is magnificent.

Just as an aside try getting both this film and Kubricks Dr. Strangelove and watch the both. Fail Safe first the Strange Love and enjoy the juxtaposition. Basically the same story, but with a wildly divergent take on the situation.

Get some popcorn and enjoy.

Btw: 1. FAIL SAFE is a very intense film. watch it early in the evening.

2. Dr Strangelove is a comic masterpiece but pails in comparison.

3. Read the book of FAIL SAFE as well. It will chill your soul.


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