An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.
Release Year: 1964
Rating: 8.6/10 (193,094 voted)
Critic's Score: 96/100
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Paranoid Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper of Burpelson Air Force Base, he 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…
Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake
President Merkin Muffley
George C. Scott
Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson
Brig. Gen. Jack Ripper
Col. 'Bat' Guano
Maj. 'King' Kong
Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
James Earl Jones
Lt. Lothar Zogg
(as Glen Beck)
Capt. 'Ace' Owens
Burpelson AFB Defense Team Member
the hot-line suspense comedy
Release Date: 29 January 1964
Filming Locations: Arctic
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: DEM 135,694
(24 December 1987)
(31 December 1994)
Did You Know?
Many of the characters have names which are double entendres or innuendos: Jack D. Ripper refers to the famous London murderer; Merkin Muffley's names refer to female parts – a merkin is a pubic hair wig and muff is slang for women's pubic hair; Turgidson's first name is "Buck" and "turgid" is a word describing the condition of an erect penis; the Soviet premier is "Kissoff"; the Soviet ambassador is named after the Marquis de Sade (the original "sadist"); and the title character is called "Strangelove".
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers):
When General Jack D. Ripper is firing the .30 caliber machine gun with the assistance of Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, he is holding the machine gun by the barrel. In reality, this would quickly cause serious burns and would not be possible for more than a few seconds.
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.
Laughing at Fear
What makes this film so powerful is the message that it made at the time
of its release. This film came out at a height of paranoia of the nuclear
age and the Cold War, right around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This film depicts a horrible, tragic incident in which a breach in the
government and a few diplomatic mistakes result in nuclear holocaust. So,
why didn't this film inspire panic? Because of the brilliant way in which
Kubrick presents it… as a satire. The scariest thing about this film in
retrospect is not how it depicts the impending doom of the Cold War, but
how it makes you laugh at it. By presenting it with humor, it conveys just
how much of a farce the nuclear arms race was in real life. And I don't
think that any other film has captured the absurdity of war nearly as well
as this one has. And I am not likely to believe that one ever will. In my
opinion, Kubrick has never made a better film since. And kudos to George C.
Scott for his astounding performance, as well as Peter Sellers for the most
versatile acting I've seen from an actor in one film, and to Sterling
Hayden, for performing the most serious, yet the most hilarious role in
film with perfect accuracy. Beware of fluoridation!