7.3/10
5,304
91 user 15 critic

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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Cronkite ... Himself - 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

George Clooney's cousin Miguel Ferrer was cast to play Colonel Cascio, but was replaced by John Diehl. See more »

Goofs

General Bogan refers to the enlisted missile technician as "Sergeant Collins" even though he is clearly wearing the stripes of a Chief Master Sergeant. In the A.F. a Chief Master Sergeant is always referred to as "Chief" and never as "Sergeant". See more »

Quotes

Col. Jack Grady, Command Pilot Group 6: There's only one decision left to make, and then our job is done. We decide from what height to drop the bombs. We've already taken on enough radiation from the blast, at best we'd last a couple of days.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional Drama, Great TV
9 April 2000 | by BStuSee all my reviews

I only heard about this program a day before it aired, and I am very glad I did. The acting was absolutely amazing all around. There was not a single performer who didn't rise to the occasion in this picture. It is all the more amazing since it was performed live on national television. Particularly strong were Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, and Hank Azaria, but it is difficult to break away any actors from the strong ensemble.

The whole effect of the production very well captures the sense of a Cold War drama. From the set design, costumes, performances, direction, and the choice to air in black and white, the atmosphere is as much a player in "Fail Safe" as the actors. One really gets the feeling that they are watching a 1950's era live broadcast.

I must say, that I knew nothing of the original story or film, and I really feel I benefited from that. The story is amazingly suspenseful. I did not know the ending going in, and I won't ruin it for you either. Just trust me that it is unquestionably the best way to view this picture. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film and was honestly moved by the ending. The script is excellent, and the story even better. While it is clearly a cautionary tale of nuclear war, it never tries to beat its purpose into the viewer. It lets the story tell the story, which is always the best.

If you missed the live broadcast, be on the look-out for a re-broadcast. This is a real accomplishment from CBS, and its a shame that it was not more widely promoted.


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