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Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)

1:37 | Trailer
An imprisoned rogue USAF general with a secret personal agenda, escapes the brig and takes over an ICBM silo, threatening to start WW3.


Robert Aldrich


Ronald M. Cohen (screenplay), Edward Huebsch (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Gen. Lawrence Dell
Roscoe Lee Browne ... James Forrest
Joseph Cotten ... Arthur Renfrew - Secretary of State
Melvyn Douglas ... Zachariah Guthrie
Charles Durning ... President David T. Stevens
Richard Jaeckel ... Capt. Stanford Towne
William Marshall ... William Klinger - Attorney General
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Brig. Gen. O'Rourke
Richard Widmark ... Gen. Martin MacKenzie - Commanding General SA
Paul Winfield ... Willis Powell
Burt Young ... Augie Garvas
Charles Aidman ... Bernstein
Leif Erickson ... Ralph Whittaker - CIA Director
Charles McGraw ... Air Force Gen. Peter Crane
Morgan Paull ... First Lt. Louis Cannellis


A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell, escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana and threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the President reveals details of a secret meeting held just after the start of the Vietnam War between Dell and the then President's most trusted advisors. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure That Blows The Screen Apart! See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Lorimar first bought rights to Twilight's Last Gleaming" in 1971, when it was known as "Viper Three" and Tom Mankiewicz was going to write it. See more »


Powell stated that he lied when Dell asks him about his experience with Titan missiles and ICBM security. This is completely improbable as these career fields are so detailed and require such specific areas of knowledge that faking ones way through even the most basic conversation would difficult. To do so for months or years while planning a mission would be nearly impossible.

Additionally, the General could have simply asked the records clerk at the prison to look into Powell's background. The AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) for his career field would have indicated whether he had any experience with ICBMs' See more »


Willis Powell: Just wanted you to know General, win or lose, you're some motherfucker.
Lawrence Dell: Thank you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema release featured the 2 hour version. The 1998 Warner video featured the extended 138 minute print. See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming (1995) See more »


My Country Tis of Thee
Music by Lowell Mason (uncredited) based on the music by Henry Carey from "God Save the King" (1744)
Lyrics by Samuel Francis Smith (uncredited) (1832)
Performed by Billy Preston
from the album "I Wrote a Simple Song"
on A & M Records and Tapes
See more »

User Reviews

The silo is isolated
27 November 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Twilight's Last Gleaming is a rather far fetched and fanciful tale about a rogue general taking over a missile silo, isolating it from remote control at the Pentagon and White House and having 9 Titan missiles with atomic warheads at your command. Burt Lancaster who was railroaded into a murder conviction to silence him escapes with Paul Winfield, Burt Young, and William Smith and they take over the missile silo and issue demands.

The film is fascinating in one respect how this crisis is isolated from the knowledge of the public. The deliberations over the Cuban Missile Crisis had nothing on this and even that went public. The closest real happening in our history was when Grover Cleveland went missing for about 5 weeks to have cancer surgery and that never came out in his lifetime. Of course it worked out far better for Grover than it did for this president.

Charles Durning plays the fictional president David Stevens and what Lancaster demands of him is not just the usual money extortion. He wants a document read from a National Security Council meeting from the Vietnam war years which would have a calamitous impact on a lot of people and our national credibility involving our very reasons for being in Vietnam. Durning did not even know the existence of it as his presidency is way in the future. But sly old time Defense Secretary Melvyn Douglas knows and as it works in these cases his reputation and national security seem to blend in.

Another sly man from the past is Air Force General Richard Widmark who was once Lancaster's superior. Other members of the cabinet include Secretary Of State Joseph Cotten and Attorney General William Marshall.

Despite Oscar winners and big box office names like Widmark and Cotten, walking away with the acting honors here is Charles Durning as the president who is thrust into a crisis involving the distant past for him. His scenes with military aide Gerald O'Loughlin have some real feel and poignancy for both men.

Twilight's Last Gleaming though far fetched is well worth a look.

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USA | West Germany



Release Date:

9 February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Silo III See more »


Box Office


$6,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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