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

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (novel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,448 ( 617)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Fail-Safe (1964)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver
By Dawn's Early Light (TV Movie 1990)
Drama | Thriller | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: Powers Boothe, Rebecca De Mornay, James Earl Jones
The Day After (TV Movie 1983)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A graphic, disturbing film about the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg
Without Warning (TV Movie 1994)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A television program is interupted by a news network announcing that three meteors have hit the United States, France and China. At first it seems natural but after interviews by scientists... See full summary »

Director: Robert Iscove
Stars: Sander Vanocur, Jane Kaczmarek, Bree Walker
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American destroyer captain is determined to confront a Soviet submarine caught violating territorial waters. Perhaps too determined.

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, James MacArthur
Out of Sight (1998)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A career bank robber breaks out of jail and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a US Marshall he has kidnapped.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

A middle-aged woman frees herself from the spirit-crushing influence of her husband by refusing to remember what her age is. Her husband works long hours as an advertising executive and ... See full summary »

Directors: Alfredo Ringel, Deborah Ringel
Stars: Diane Salinger, John Calvin, Colleen Camp
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When petty thief Cosimo is given the plan for the perfect heist from a lifer in prison - the kind of job you dream about - he has to get out of jail, fast. But with Cosimo stuck in the ... See full summary »

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Stars: George Clooney, Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of a U.S. naval ship and its crew in the Pacific, 1943-1945.

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Jeff Chandler, George Nader, Lex Barker
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Your Childhood Shall Never Die is about a group of people and their complicated relationships to one another. Vera is trying to figure out how to relate to her sons irresponsible father, ... See full summary »

Director: Marcus Carlsson
Stars: Ingebjørg Buen, Helena Gezelius, Sigmund Hovind
Red Surf (Video 1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.7/10 X  

Remar and Attila are a couple of surfers who also deal drugs to make a living. They are trying to set up a final deal with local drug lord, Calavera, when their friend True Blue is busted ... See full summary »

Director: H. Gordon Boos
Stars: George Clooney, Doug Savant, Dedee Pfeiffer
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  
Director: Alan J. Levi
Stars: James Avery, Andre Braugher, George Clooney
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Host
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Gen. Stark (as William Smitrovich)
...
Lt. Jimmy Pierce
...
...
Doris Belack ...
Mrs. Johnson
...
Jimmy
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A prova di errore  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The computer in the command center is made up from components of an actual IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the US from Soviet bomber attack. It was the largest and heaviest computer system ever built, the full system weighing 6000 tons and taking up an entire floor of a bomb-proof blockhouse. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies who wanted futuristic looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. The components used in this film were previously used in 'The Time Tunnel (1966)', 'The Towering Inferno (1974)' and 'Independence Day (1996)' amongst many others. See more »

Goofs

At one point near the beginning a banner behind Hank Azaria is seen for an event dated 1975, well after this is set. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Version of Fail-Safe (1964) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Exceptional Drama, Great TV
9 April 2000 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

I only heard about this program a day before it aired, and I am very glad I did. The acting was absolutely amazing all around. There was not a single performer who didn't rise to the occasion in this picture. It is all the more amazing since it was performed live on national television. Particularly strong were Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, and Hank Azaria, but it is difficult to break away any actors from the strong ensemble.

The whole effect of the production very well captures the sense of a Cold War drama. From the set design, costumes, performances, direction, and the choice to air in black and white, the atmosphere is as much a player in "Fail Safe" as the actors. One really gets the feeling that they are watching a 1950's era live broadcast.

I must say, that I knew nothing of the original story or film, and I really feel I benefited from that. The story is amazingly suspenseful. I did not know the ending going in, and I won't ruin it for you either. Just trust me that it is unquestionably the best way to view this picture. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film and was honestly moved by the ending. The script is excellent, and the story even better. While it is clearly a cautionary tale of nuclear war, it never tries to beat its purpose into the viewer. It lets the story tell the story, which is always the best.

If you missed the live broadcast, be on the look-out for a re-broadcast. This is a real accomplishment from CBS, and its a shame that it was not more widely promoted.


34 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Dr.Strangelove, anyone?! nyongmalas
Black + White? babyfreen
Terrific Film!! LaDragula
HELP!!! what network was this on when it aired? Bonham619
Copy on Tape mcm1071989
region 1 dvd PhotoV
Discuss Fail Safe (2000) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?