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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | | Comedy | 29 January 1964 (USA)
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An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Terry Southern (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,274 ( 11)

Director's Trademarks: A Guide to Stanley Kubrick's Films

2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut are just the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's legacy. Are you up to speed on the film icon's style?

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Top Rated Movies #58 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers ... Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake / President Merkin Muffley / Dr. Strangelove
George C. Scott ... Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson
Sterling Hayden ... Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper
Keenan Wynn ... Col. 'Bat' Guano
Slim Pickens ... Maj. 'King' Kong
Peter Bull ... Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
James Earl Jones ... Lt. Lothar Zogg
Tracy Reed ... Miss Scott
Jack Creley ... Mr. Staines
Frank Berry Frank Berry ... Lt. Dietrich
Robert O'Neil ... Adm. Randolph
Glenn Beck ... Lt. Kivel (as Glen Beck)
Roy Stephens Roy Stephens ... Frank
Shane Rimmer ... Capt. 'Ace' Owens
Hal Galili ... Burpelson AFB Defense Team Member
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Storyline

Paranoid Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper of Burpelson Air Force Base, believing that fluoridation of the American water supply is a Soviet plot to poison the U.S. populace, is able to deploy through a back door mechanism a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without the knowledge of his superiors, including the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Buck Turgidson, and President Merkin Muffley. Only Ripper knows the code to recall the B-52 bombers and he has shut down communication in and out of Burpelson as a measure to protect this attack. Ripper's executive officer, RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (on exchange from Britain), who is being held at Burpelson by Ripper, believes he knows the recall codes if he can only get a message to the outside world. Meanwhile at the Pentagon War Room, key persons including Muffley, Turgidson and nuclear scientist and adviser, a former Nazi named Dr. Strangelove, are discussing measures to stop the attack or mitigate its blow-up into an all ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The comedy classic from celebrated director STANLEY KUBRICK See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent content, sexual humor and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

29 January 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Delicate Balance of Terror See more »

Filming Locations:

Okaloosa County, Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,751, 17 July 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,440,272, 31 December 1994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Kubrick: [three-way] USA vs. Russia vs. Gen. Ripper. See more »

Goofs

When Major Kong is reading the contents of the crew's survival kits, he mentions, "one automatic pistol". The weapon shown as he reads that description aloud is a typical semi-automatic pistol, not a fully automatic weapon which continues to fire as long as the trigger is depressed - in other words, a machine gun. However, the correct military designation of the standard issue sidearm depicted is "Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911-A1." This is due to the naming conventions in the late 19th and early 20th century when the first semi-automatic handguns were invented. As these new handguns "automatically" reloaded between shots, they were commonly designated as "automatic pistols". This applies to the depicted M1911-A1, which was introduced in 1911. Later advances brought about truly automatic pistols, which are properly referred to as "machine pistols" See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: For more than a year, ominous rumors had been privately circulating among high-level Western leaders that the Soviet Union had been at work on what was darkly hinted to be the ultimate weapon: a doomsday device. Intelligence sources traced the site of the top secret Russian project to the perpetually fog-shrouded wasteland below the Arctic peaks of the Zhokhov Islands. What they were building or why it should be located in such a remote and desolate place no one could say.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The screenplay title is incorrectly spelled. It reads: 'Base' on the book "Red Alert" by Peter George. This is pointed out on the DVD supplement about the making of the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

Three different screen aspect ratios have been used for video releases. The initial video releases up until the last VHS used a pan & scan transfer. Starting with the Criterion Collection laserdisc, as well as the later Columbia laserdisc, the film was presented "open matte" which meant that as much of the frame was captured as possible. Since many scenes were shot with mattes in-camera, the aspect ratio varied between 1.33:1 to roughly 1.66:1. This same version was used for the original and later Special Edition. In 2004, Columbia completed a new restoration of the film using an original fine-grain positive. This was utilized for a high definition transfer used for the 2-disc 40th Anniversary Edition DVD set. For the first time, this edition used 16x9 enhancement and presented the entire film at its theatrical exhibition aspect ratio of 1.66:1. While this obscures image previously seen on the variable ratio transfers, this preserves the intended "matted" wide-screen composition - very important for shots like Major Kong riding the bomb to the ground. In the variable ratio transfers, the rigging and projection screen edges are visible. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Music by the Union Army bandmaster, Louis Lambert
In the score often during the flight of Major 'King' Kong's aircraft
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."
29 July 2017 | by elvircorhodzicSee all my reviews

DR. STRANGELOVE.... is a satirical black comedy or rather an ironic approach to decisions and information in the Cold War madness. The smart choice is the mother of all wisdom. It is loosely based on Peter George's novel "Red Alert".

A crazy American general has ordered, due a bizarre reason, a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. A bit absentminded captain has realized that a general has lost his mind. Meanwhile, a President meets with his top Pentagon advisors, including a passionate super-hawk general, who sees this as an opportunity to do something about Communism in general and Russians in particular. However, the Russians have an "automatic" response...

This film loses all touch with the reality on the one side, and yet, it directly affects an image of a disturbed political reality on the other side. The irony stems from human stupidity, irresponsibility, suspicion and arrogance. Mr. Kubrick has created a satirical hopeless situation, through a conflict of mentality and a sense of patriotism, after which, a bizarre - moral winner rises. The highlight of satire is that world diplomacy rejects itself on multiple occasions.

However, there is a lot of questions. Why give so much power in hands of a few people? One of them, I mean all, are mostly crazy. Why use energy resources to build nuclear weapons? Probably because we do not have better things to do. Is it wise to make fun of a defense system of the strongest force in the world? Of course it is, one day, we have to stop being afraid of each other.

That's why this film is a satirical warning in an universal time, because we live in a time of a political satire with very serious consequences.

I am thrilled with a fact that this film does not have a trace of cynicism. Of course, there is plenty of satire, sarcasm, irony, perhaps exaggerated caricature, but there is no cynicism. Mr. Kubrick, you're a genius! The characterization is excellent.

Peter Sellers (Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove, the wheelchair-using nuclear war expert and former Nazi) is simply awesome as a kind of voice of reason, incompetence and insanity at the same time. It is a strange kind of patriot, savior and avenger.

Sterling Hayden (Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper) is a paranoid ultra-nationalist, who shows his madness through a serious facial expression.

George C. Scott (General Buck Turgidson) is the personification of chauvinism. He expresses his anger and paranoia of communism in a very comical way.


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