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Fail-Safe (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 1965 (UK)
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?

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(screenplay), (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Gen. Black
... Dr. Groeteschele
... Gen. Bogan
... Col. Grady (as Ed Binns)
... Col. Cascio
... The President
... Buck
William Hansen ... Secretary Swenson
... Gen. Stark (as Russell Hardy)
... Knapp
... Congressman Raskob
Nancy Berg ... Ilsa Wolfe
... Thomas
Frank Simpson ... Sullivan
... Betty Black
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Storyline

A series of human and computer errors sends a squadron of American 'Vindicator' bombers to nuke Moscow. The President, in order to convince the Soviets that this is a mistake, orders the Strategic Air Command to help the Soviets stop them. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will have you sitting on the brink of eternity! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1965 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Fail Safe  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Seen on the paper file folder, Gen. Koniev's full name is Alexandr'h Koniev. See more »

Goofs

In the brief scene when General Bogan is notified that Mrs. Grady's been found the big board shows icons for three Vindicator bombers when at this point all but one had been destroyed. Also, that one Vindicator should have been invisible since it was flying low in the "grass". See more »

Quotes

Gen. Stark: They're good men, we've seen to that. If their orders are attack, the only way you're going to stop them is to shoot them down.
Brigadier General Warren A. Black: We've got no alternative! This minute the Russians are watching their boards, trying to figure out what we're up to. If we can't convince them it's an accident we're trying to correct by any means, we're going to have something on our hands that nobody bargained for, and only a lunatic wants!
See more »

Crazy Credits

introducing Fritz Weaver See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Danny DeVito/Bryan Ferry (1987) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Film!
23 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

I have watched "Fail-Safe" more than once and consider it to be a classic film which shows the anxiety and fear which we faced with the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The cast is top notch, Dan O'Herlihy, Henr Fonda, Frank Overton, Walter Matthau, and all the other fine performers. In comparison to "Dr. Strangelove, which I have also seen repeatedly, I must say that the main reason for my enjoyment of that dark comedy is the performance of Peter Sellers, as the Nazi scientist who is still devoted to the fuhrer; while in "Fail-Safe" I am involved throughout the film. It resembles a documentary and, interestingly, in some ways reflects Stanley Kubrick's tone in the "Paths of Glory", which I consider to be his greatest film.

Sidney Lumet direction is superb, maybe even excelling his direction in "Twelve Angry Men". I consider "Fail-Safe" as a thoughtful anti-war film in the company of "All Quiet on the Western Front and "The Paths of Glory". I recommend this fine film .


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