Fail Safe (2000)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  9 April 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,816 users  
Reviews: 91 user | 15 critic

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



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host
Gen. Stark (as William Smitrovich)
Lt. Jimmy Pierce
Doris Belack ...
Mrs. Johnson


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The World on The Brink of Accidental War -- UNFOLDING LIVE!


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

9 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A prova di errore  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original Fail Safe (1964) featured Phyllis Hill, who had been the second wife of José Ferrer. Ferrer's third wife was George Clooney's aunt, Rosemary Clooney. See more »


General Bogan is wearing the Air Force Good Conduct ribbon. It is clearly visible, 4th row from the top, center ribbon. Even if this impossibility was correct, it would not be in the order shown and in a row just beneath the high decoration of the silver star. It is of a much lower order of distinction and would belong in the bottom row of ribbons. This Air Force version ribbon was instituted in 1963 to replace the old red/white Army ribbon. It would have been impossible for him to have earned it as an enlisted airman since this film takes place about the same time it was instituted, therefore its display is improper. See more »


Tommy Grady, Col. Grady's Son: Dad! How long is this one gonna be?
Col. Jack Grady, Command Pilot Group 6: Shouldn't be too late.
Tommy Grady, Col. Grady's Son: Are you sure?
Col. Jack Grady, Command Pilot Group 6: I'm positive.
Tommy Grady, Col. Grady's Son: Only fools are positive.
Col. Jack Grady, Command Pilot Group 6: Are you sure?
Tommy Grady, Col. Grady's Son: I'm positive.
See more »

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User Reviews

Worthy of a re-broadcast, or a 2nd look if you taped it
9 May 2000 | by (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) – See all my reviews

This was something I was fascinated to see since I had first heard about it: a live broadcast in real time of an already produced story (twice, if you count _Dr. Strangelove..._) in Black & White, on National TV, using old-style equipment & lighting restrictions, with an absolute stellar cast. Woah! And it works. I was, in a way, looking for mistakes or wrong steps from the actors and crew who are used to being able to go back & do it a second time, but there were so few that it makes no point in listing them. Generally everyone gives what is needed to the effort, and the dedication of the cast to the text is obvious to even the untrained observer in the audience. The story is paramount, and the only thing that suffers in this adaptation is the lack of tension and complexity of some of the characters' sub-plots -- but I may be remembering the original novel which includes all the back-stories for everyone, and the original movie has more tension because that was done in the time of the Cold War Insanity so it is infused with the immediacy of disaster being constantly present, and that's not something you can put into two hours of TV done in the year 2000. Darn fine camera work, direction, acting, and lighting. All of it gives the feel of a Playhouse 90, or Hallmark Hall of Fame, or any of the other 'great TV Drama' shows of the late 50's and early 60's. The only thing that could make it more evocative would be to put that weird hi-contrast halo around the image, but that would get in the way of the great camera work, and wouldn't fit with the wide-screen letterbox of the frame. Even if it hadn't have been done live, it would have been an amazing piece of work, but as it is, it's even more stunning to realize that all of those fine actors were truly 'in the moment' at the same time, and everyone made the same movie for the same two intense hours. This really needs to be re-broadcast, and win Emmies, and be hailed as a return to Acting and Quality on television. MOW's *can* be quality, if you put this kind of effort into them. Watch this to see how.

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Dr.Strangelove, anyone?! nyongmalas
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