IMDb > Fail-Safe (1964)
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Fail-Safe (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
8.0/10   15,576 votes »
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Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Walter Bernstein (screenplay)
Eugene Burdick (from the novel by) ...
View company contact information for Fail-Safe on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 January 1965 (Finland) See more »
The screen zeros in on the most suspenseful adventure drama of our age! See more »
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? Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Great Film! See more (141 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Sidney Lumet 
Writing credits
Walter Bernstein (screenplay)

Eugene Burdick (from the novel by) &
Harvey Wheeler (from the novel by)

Peter George  uncredited

Produced by
Charles H. Maguire .... associate producer
Max E. Youngstein .... producer
Cinematography by
Gerald Hirschfeld (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Ralph Rosenblum (film editor)
Art Direction by
Albert Brenner 
Set Decoration by
J.C. Delaney  (as J.C. DeLaney)
Costume Design by
Anna Hill Johnstone (costumes by)
Makeup Department
Harry Buchman .... makeup
Bill Herman .... makeup department head
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Falk .... assistant director (as Harry Falk Jr.)
Sound Department
Jack Fitzstephens .... sound editor
William Swift .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Howard Fortune .... chief electrician
Edward Knott .... chief grip
Albert Taffet .... camera operator (as Al Taffett)
Other crew
Marguerite James .... continuity
Eugene Burdick .... script consultant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Fail Safe" - International (English title) (alternative spelling), USA (alternative title)
See more »
112 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA)
Australia:PG | Australia:G (original rating) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-8 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #20531) | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The interior of Colonel Grady's plane was not a set, but a flight simulator that was rented for production.See more »
Continuity: Before the bombers enter Soviet airspace the fighters that attempt to shoot them down change type to include F-101s, F-102s and F-104s.See more »
US Ambassador:[over the phone] I can hear the sound of explosions from the north east. The sky is very bright. All lit up.
[phone melts and high pitched whining sound starts]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Genius on Hold (2012)See more »


What is this movie's connection to Dr. Strangelove?
See more »
33 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
A Great Film!, 23 January 2006
Author: Art La Cues from Independence, CA USA

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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