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Fail Safe (2000)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | TV Movie 9 April 2000
Cold War tensions climb to a fever pitch when a U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered to drop a nuclear warhead on Moscow.

Directors:

Stephen Frears, Martin Pasetta (as Martin A. Pasetta Jr.)

Writers:

Eugene Burdick (novel), Harvey Wheeler (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Cronkite ... Self - Host
Richard Dreyfuss ... President
Noah Wyle ... Buck
Brian Dennehy ... Gen. Bogan
Sam Elliott ... Congressman Raskob
James Cromwell ... Gordon Knapp
John Diehl ... Col. Cascio
Hank Azaria ... Prof. Groeteschele
Norman Lloyd ... Defense Secretary Swenson
Bill Smitrovich ... Gen. Stark (as William Smitrovich)
Don Cheadle ... Lt. Jimmy Pierce
George Clooney ... Col. Jack Grady
Harvey Keitel ... Brig. Gen. Warren Black
Doris Belack ... Mrs. Johnson
Grant Heslov ... Jimmy
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Storyline

Cold War tensions climb to a fever pitch when a U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered to drop a nuclear warhead on Moscow.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The World on The Brink of Accidental War -- UNFOLDING LIVE!

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fail Safe See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the live broadcast, a tape of the last dress rehearsal was available for broadcast, just in case some technical problem interrupted the live performance, so that there would be no interruption of the broadcast. See more »

Goofs

At 7:45 Congressman Raskob asks Col. Cascio about the bombs the planes carry. He says they carry missiles and "two, twenty-ton hydrogen bombs". The correct term should be "two, twenty-megaton hydrogen bombs" See more »

Quotes

Soviet Chairman: [on the phone] We think we do not have much of a chance.
President: I agree.
Soviet Chairman: And yet, who can be blamed? Can you blame a machine?
President: Well, men built those machines, Mr. Chairman.
Soviet Chairman: Men are not perfect, Mr. President.
President: Men are responsible for what they do. Men are responsible for what they make. We built those machines, your country and mine. We put them in place. Two *great* cities will be destroyed. Millions of innocent people will die because of us. What do we say to them? "Accidents will happen?" I can't ...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worthy of a re-broadcast, or a 2nd look if you taped it
9 May 2000 | by iam-1See all my reviews

This was something I was fascinated to see since I had first heard about it: a live broadcast in real time of an already produced story (twice, if you count _Dr. Strangelove..._) in Black & White, on National TV, using old-style equipment & lighting restrictions, with an absolute stellar cast. Woah! And it works. I was, in a way, looking for mistakes or wrong steps from the actors and crew who are used to being able to go back & do it a second time, but there were so few that it makes no point in listing them. Generally everyone gives what is needed to the effort, and the dedication of the cast to the text is obvious to even the untrained observer in the audience. The story is paramount, and the only thing that suffers in this adaptation is the lack of tension and complexity of some of the characters' sub-plots -- but I may be remembering the original novel which includes all the back-stories for everyone, and the original movie has more tension because that was done in the time of the Cold War Insanity so it is infused with the immediacy of disaster being constantly present, and that's not something you can put into two hours of TV done in the year 2000. Darn fine camera work, direction, acting, and lighting. All of it gives the feel of a Playhouse 90, or Hallmark Hall of Fame, or any of the other 'great TV Drama' shows of the late 50's and early 60's. The only thing that could make it more evocative would be to put that weird hi-contrast halo around the image, but that would get in the way of the great camera work, and wouldn't fit with the wide-screen letterbox of the frame. Even if it hadn't have been done live, it would have been an amazing piece of work, but as it is, it's even more stunning to realize that all of those fine actors were truly 'in the moment' at the same time, and everyone made the same movie for the same two intense hours. This really needs to be re-broadcast, and win Emmies, and be hailed as a return to Acting and Quality on television. MOW's *can* be quality, if you put this kind of effort into them. Watch this to see how.


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