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

PG | | Comedy | 29 January 1964 (USA)
Trailer
3:25 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
622 ( 500)
Top Rated Movies #70 | 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. 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

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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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 Red-Hot suspense story that's rocking and shocking the world! 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Sellers had a formidable talent for replicating (and sometimes inventing or combining) dialects, accents, and speech patterns. Those abilities were amply demonstrated in the many characters he played in Dr. Strangelove. For his performance of the title character, Sellers combined a German accent with the speech patterns of legendary photographer and photojournalist Weegie (a pseudonym for Arthur Fellig), who had worked with director Stanley Kubrick and was frequently on the set of Dr. Strangelove. Sellers confirmed this during a 1964 television interview with Steve Allen. See more »

Goofs

The Coca-Cola machine squirts drink into the face of Colonel Guano after he shoots holes in it. However, there would be no reason for the bottles or cans in the machine to be under pressure, as the shooting wouldn't have shaken them up. Also, the bottles wouldn't be stored to the side of the vending door (where the bullet holes are), but above it. The style of machine shown mixes tap water from a water line attached to the building's plumbing with carbon dioxide and drink syrup stored in tanks inside the machine under pressure and dispenses it into a paper cup that drops into a chamber in the door which is plainly visible in the shot. Therefore, it is quite plausible that water would squirt from the machine under pressure if the tanks or water lines were pierced by gunfire. This style of machine used to be quite common when this film was made in the 1960's, but are now fairly rare, as the machines had to be restocked with raw drink syrup (a different tank of syrup for each drink flavor) and recharged with carbon dioxide. Otherwise, if the syrup, carbon dioxide, or both ran out, you often received either a cup of plain soda water, a "flat" soda with no bubbles, or worst of all, a cup of plain water if both the syrup and carbon dioxide tanks were empty. 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

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

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Michael J. Fox (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Try a Little Tenderness
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry M. Woods, Reginald Connelly, and Jimmy Campbell
Arranged by Laurie Johnson
Performed by Studio Orchestra during the opening credits
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User Reviews

 
Outstanding, timeless classic!
19 January 1999 | by RufusTSee all my reviews

One of the best films ever made, this remains timeless despite changes in technology, foreign policy and world politics; the military/political madness remains the same. Gets better all the time, with successive viewings and its luster has not dimmed since its first release.

With three show-stopping performances from Sellers (amongst his best work, if not THE BEST), and an unexpectedly hilarious turn by George C. Scott (if Sellers weren't SO dead on-target, Scott would easily steal the show), STRANGELOVE is filled with cartoonish, over-the-top characters that, despite the lunacy, still ring true. Special mention must be made for Sterling Heyden's controlled, brooding paranoia as General Jack D. Ripper. He's funny, he's scary.

All-in-all, a brilliant piece of work by all involved.


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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:

$9,443,876
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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