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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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(screenplay), (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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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

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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

Some reference works (eg Colonna Sonora) credit Hal Schaefer as composer of the music score. In fact, the Columbia record division did issue his five minute Fail Safe suite on a 7-inch disc in 1964 (Colpix Records CP 751) with the film promoted on the actual label: FAIL SAFE - A Columbia Pictures Release. Schaefer's music, performed by the Hal Schaefer Quintet, was a somewhat nervous and dissonant jazz work, fairly appropriate to the film's content. However, director Lumet decided to release the film with no background score, so Schaefer's music only exists on the promotional disc. See more »

Goofs

The interpreter is repeatedly described as a "translator". These are quite distinct professions (even though some people pursue both). Translators work on written texts, interpreters help people speaking different languages to communicate verbally. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Groeteschele: In my opinion they will take no action at all.
Gen. Stark: They're not going to just sit there, Professor
Prof. Groeteschele: I think if our bombers get through the Russians will surrender.
Gen. Bogan: Who's this professor, Mr. Secretary? What's he doing there?
Defense Secretary Swenson: Professor Groeteschele is a civilian advisor to the Pentagon, General. Will you explain your statement, Professor?
Prof. Groeteschele: The Russian aim is to dominate the world. They think that Communism must succeed eventually if the Soviet Union is left reasonably intact. They know that a war would ...
[...]
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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 Watchmen (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Film!
23 January 2006 | by (Independence, CA USA) – See all my reviews

I have watched "Fail-Safe" more than once and consider it to be a classic film which shows the anxiety and fear which we faced with the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The cast is top notch, Dan O'Herlihy, Henr Fonda, Frank Overton, Walter Matthau, and all the other fine performers. In comparison to "Dr. Strangelove, which I have also seen repeatedly, I must say that the main reason for my enjoyment of that dark comedy is the performance of Peter Sellers, as the Nazi scientist who is still devoted to the fuhrer; while in "Fail-Safe" I am involved throughout the film. It resembles a documentary and, interestingly, in some ways reflects Stanley Kubrick's tone in the "Paths of Glory", which I consider to be his greatest film.

Sidney Lumet direction is superb, maybe even excelling his direction in "Twelve Angry Men". I consider "Fail-Safe" as a thoughtful anti-war film in the company of "All Quiet on the Western Front and "The Paths of Glory". I recommend this fine film .


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I don't buy one of the underlying premises in the film robert3750-92-607013
Very moving conversation between Gen. Bogan and his Soviet counterpart mase-6
Dan O'Herlihy: harmless old man, or left-wing nut? Bob_Schuka
What does 'I hear you five by five' mean? Lukerdog
Would YOU sacrifice New York City ...? blubb06
More terrifying than any horror film I've seen mase-6
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