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Fail-Safe (1964)

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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 13,056 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 31 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?

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(screenplay), (from the novel by), 2 more credits »
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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 ...
Russell Hardie ...
General Stark (as Russell Hardy)
Russell Collins ...
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Nancy Berg ...
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Frank Simpson ...
Hildy Parks ...
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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:

The screen zeros in on the most suspenseful adventure drama of our age! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1965 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Angriffsziel Moskau  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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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 sequence that shows the B-58 bombers taking off from Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, is incorrect. There were never at any time any SAC bases in Alaska, that's all Alaskan Air Command in that area. Moreover, the B-58 "Hustler" has a combat radius of only 1,740 miles, not close to the 4,000 miles each way from Alaska to Moscow. The bomber in real life, unless refueled in air by an Air Force KC-135 tanker somewhere over enemy territory (one thing the Air Force did not do), would run out of fuel not even half way to Moscow. Only the B-36 (with an un-refueled range of 8,000 miles) or the B-52 (with aerial refueling before entering enemy airspace) could possibly have flown the mission depicted in the film. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: The Matador, the Matador... me... me
See more »

Crazy Credits

[FINAL CREDIT]: The producers of this film wish to stress that it is the stated position of the Department of Defense and the United States Air Force that a rigidly enforced system of safeguards and controls insure that occurrences such as those depicted in this story cannot happen See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fonda on Fonda (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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