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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1,411 ( 154)
Top Rated Movies #66 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 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. H.R. 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 wild hot-line suspense comedy. 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:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sterling Hayden, who plays a paranoiac who fears communists, was himself an American Communist Party member at one time. See more »

Goofs

In a number of scenes showing the B-52 flying from behind, the plane banks and turns yet none of the control surfaces on the wings move. 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.
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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

The US version opens with the following text being displayed before the Columbia lady appears: "It is the stated position of the U.S. Air Force that their safeguards would prevent the occurence of such events as are depicted in this film. Furthermore, it should be noted that none of the characters portrayed in this film are meant to represent any real persons living or dead." See more »


Soundtracks

We'll Meet Again
(1939) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Ross Parker and Hugh Charles
Performed by Vera Lynn and chorus at the end
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User Reviews

 
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
8 November 2019 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

'Gentlemen. You can't fight here this is the war room.'

Stanley Kubrick is not someone who immediately comes to mind as a director of an absurdist black comedy. Yet he co-wrote and directed Dr Strangelove at a time the cold war was raging in the real world.

General Jack D Ripper (Sterling Hayden) who sees a communist plot everywhere has flipped his lid. He has executed a plan that allows him to override the American president and launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

In the war room, the hawkish General Turgidson (George C Scott) sees a tactical advantage on a nuclear first strike against the Soviets. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) tries to placate the Russian president in a phone call and prevent an all out nuclear war. Although the conversation is always one sided, we never see the Russian president.

Colonel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) a British executive officer attached to Ripper tries to stop him but Ripper has gone bat crazy.

Finally former Nazi German Dr Strangelove (Peter Sellers) now a scientific advisor to President Muffley has an idea to survive in underground mines and eventually repopulate the planet.

It is spooky to think that there are several people like Ripper and Turgidson about serving in various governments around the world. Even Dr Strangelove comes across as real, even with his arm trying to do a Nazi salute. Many ex Nazi scientists were employed by foreign governments after the second world war.

It is a grim black comedy about paranoia and it works because everyone is playing it straight. Slim Pickens as Major King Kong was not even aware that this was a comedy.

George C Scott plays it broad but still makes Turgidson scary and silly at the same time. He gives a great performance, Sellars gives a better one in three different roles.

The film has some great lines, wonderful set design such as the iconic war room and well known scenes such as Pickens sitting on a bomb as it is dropped from a plane.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | USA

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

Gross USA:

$9,440,272

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,444,747
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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