MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 4,946 this week

Fail Safe (1964)
"Fail-Safe" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |  15 January 1965 (Finland)
8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,896 users  
Reviews: 130 user | 33 critic

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?

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (from the novel by), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

Interview: Magic Mike

The Magic Mike XXL guys give some relationship advice to a 74-year-old fan.

Watch Now

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 41 titles
created 19 Oct 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 05 Feb 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 25 Jan 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 21 Nov 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 20 Jan 2014
 

Related Items

Search for "Fail Safe" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Fail Safe (1964)

Fail Safe (1964) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Fail Safe.

User Polls

3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Fail Safe (TV Movie 2000)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Cold War tensions climb to a fever pitch when a U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered to drop a nuclear warhead on Moscow.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Walter Cronkite, Richard Dreyfuss, Noah Wyle
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Four Jewish intellectuals carpool to the funeral of their old friend Leslie Braverman, who died suddenly at age 41.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: George Segal, Jack Warden, Jessica Walter
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After winning a game show contest, a newlywed couple travels to New Orleans where the husband seeks to collect back his ancestral plantation mansion from his biracial step-brother.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Coburn, Lynn Redgrave, Robert Hooks
Vu du pont (1962)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman is unhappily married to Beatrice and unconsciously in love with Catherine, the niece that they have raised from childhood. Into his house come two ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Raf Vallone, Jean Sorel, Maureen Stapleton
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Simone Signoret
The Hill (1965)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen
The Sea Gull (1968)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Film adaptation of Anton Chekhov's story of life in rural Russia during the latter part of the 19th century. An aging actress Arkidana pays summer visits to her brother Sorin and son ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Mason, Vanessa Redgrave, Simone Signoret
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters
The Group (1966)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

It's 1933, and eight young women are friends and members of the upper- class group at a private girl's school, about to graduate and start their own lives. The film documents the years ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman
Lovin' Molly (1974)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Spanning nearly 40 years from 1925 to 1964, two Texas farm boys; straight-arrow Gid and laid-back Johnny fight over the affections of the beautiful and headstrong Molly Taylor, who ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Beau Bridges, Blythe Danner
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The lawyer Federico Fendi has reasons to believe that his wife Carla in secret is Rome's highest paid prostitute.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Omar Sharif, Anouk Aimée, Didi Perego
Stage Struck (1958)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young woman arrives in New York City determined to become a great theatrical star, but discovers that her goal may not be as easily attainable as she had hoped.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Joan Greenwood
Edit

Cast

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

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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1965 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Fail Safe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

With one exception (see goofs entry), all shots of US Air Force "Vindicator" bombers are views of the same Convair B-58 Hustler, taken from a stock piece of film after the Department of Defense declined to cooperate with the filmmakers. See more »

Goofs

After professor Groeteschele concludes his remarks on the casualties that NYC will suffer and the need for excavating large corporations' records (which are vital to the economy), he crosses in front of the "tactical" screen. The screen displays the sixth "defensive" bomber (which carried no bombs) and its spread of "decoy" transmissions. At this point in the film, the Russian fighters have already focused on and destroyed this bomber (to general Bogan's dismay) and the final bomber (which has no decoy capability) has dropped below radar, never to be seen on the tactical screen again. It is likely that this scene was moved during editing. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Stark: They're good men, we've seen to that. If their orders are attack, the only way you're going to stop them is to shoot them down.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: We've got no alternative! This minute the Russians are watching their boards, trying to figure out what we're up to. If we can't convince them it's an accident we're trying to correct by any means, we're going to have something on our hands that nobody bargained for, and only a lunatic wants!
See more »

Crazy Credits

introducing Fritz Weaver See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Walker (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
How do you show your good will when your own bombers are about to mistakenly nuke Moscow?
17 February 2000 | by (Twin Cities, Minnesota) – See all my reviews

That's the biggest moral dilemma this movie puts in front of its characters. It falls to the President (ably played by Henry Fonda) to make the agonizing decision of how to handle the situation without causing a global thermonuclear war.

From the Soviet point of view, here's what happens. The hot line in Moscow rings. The premier picks it up to hear the American president explaining that three unstoppable bombers are on their way to obliterate Moscow. Oh, but it was an accident. We didn't mean to send them out, sorry. And we can't call them back, because they're beyond their fail safe position (and thus are trained to maintain complete radio silence and ignore any communication they may receive), and we can't shoot them down because they're way out of our range. Sorry. Our bad.

The pacing of the movie moves from a calm, cool tone while various media figures are shown around the facility in charge of all the bombers. Then it picks up a tiny bit as the facility detects a bogie over Hudson Bay. And this is where the situation begins that eventually leads to the erroneous deployment of a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. Although it seems small at the time, this is the metaphorical horseshoe nail that loses the kingdom. ("For want of a nail....") From this point, the movie steadily increases the suspence as progressively more drastic measures are taken in the effort to stop these bombers, with the situation growing more desperate by the moment. I started out firmly positioned on my seat, but by the end I had moved further and further forward towards the edge of my seat until eventually I couldn't even sit still. Too much suspense.

There are quite a lot of technical errors in the film (for instance, due to the Air Force refusing to assist in the film, they had to resort to a fairly limited set of stock footage for the shots of aircraft, which are thus extremely inaccurate) but it remains a good movie. If you can ignore the errors in set design and stock footage and concentrate instead on the dialog (which is where the action is anyway), watching people rise to the challenge or snap under the pressure, this is a movie you will never, ever forget.


58 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I don't buy one of the underlying premises in the film robert3750-92-607013
Dan O'Herlihy: harmless old man, or left-wing nut? Bob_Schuka
The Vindicator Jetfire1959
What does 'I hear you five by five' mean? Lukerdog
Would YOU sacrifice New York City ...? blubb06
Did he pick New York because they did not vote for him? sprinter1610
Discuss Fail Safe (1964) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page