Original / alternative title: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Running time: 94 minutes
RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake receives phone call from his superior, American Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, who gives him the order to pass the code to Strategic Air Command 843rd Bomb Wing to perform Wing Attack Plan R and break all the communications. The B-52 bombers of the 843rd wing are currently in-flight, armed with nuclear bombs, when the executive order reaches their crews first reaction is surprise. Major TJ ’King’ Kong, commander of one of the bombers, personally checks if the order codes are confirmed and sets course for his target from Wing Attack Plan R manual - deep inside the Soviet Union territory. Meanwhile Captain Mandrake discovers that order to attack was not given by the Pentagon and faces General Ripper, who admits that he was acting on his own initiative and locks them both inside his office in base that is in state of lock-down. When American president is briefed in the war room about the situation it seems that nuclear holocaust is inevitable - General Ripper is the only person, who can turn the bomber around, but he cut off any forms of communication. With no other options President Muffley decides to contact the Soviets...
Classic Stanley Kubrick Cold War satire that shows how the concept of mutual assured destruction that would stop any wars was flawed - in every scenario human element is the factor that will lead to inevitable annihilation and the human element will be the only thing that could stop it. Screenplay was based on novel Red Alert by Peter George, that was also a basis (although it lead to a lawsuit - see trivia) for Fail-Safe Cold War drama that also premiered in 1964. Comparing to Fail-Safe the overtones are basically the same, the concept is identical, but Dr. Strangelove is a comedy-drama, while Fail-Safe is pure drama.
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as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake
as President Merkin Muffley
as Dr. Strangelove
George C. Scott
as General Buck Turgidson
as Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper
as Major TJ ’King’ Kong
as Soviet Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski
as Colonel Bat Guano
James Earl Jones
as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg
as Miss Scott
The part of Major TJ ’King’ Kong was originally written for John Wayne to play it, but Wayne turned it down without hesitation. Wayne was well known for his pro-militaristic views, so it is hard to believe that he was even offered part in movie presenting such strong anti-war message.
Peter Sellers played three characters, including Dr. Strangelove, which was not the first such case in his career, but this movie became the icon of his talents as comedian.
Red Alert novel
While 1964 Cold War drama Fail-Safe was based on the novel of the same title Stanley Kubrick sued the producers of Fail-Safe claiming that the book Fail-Safe was plagiarism of the Red Alert novel that was basis for Dr. Strangelove.
President Merkin Muffley: