Fail-Safe war movie
Fail-Safe war movie

Fail-Safe (1964, United States)

Categories: aircraft moviespolitical movies

Running time: 110 minutes

Language: English

In the middle of Cold War political tensions between USA and Soviet Union are heightened. On an alert signal American strategic bombers take off and head towards Soviet borders across the North Pole. The crews prepare for retaliation strike in case this time the alert was a real thread to American cities. The crews open the envelopes with codes that are needed to confirm the use of nuclear weapons and arm their arsenal. As it turns out the alert was again false, so the bombers are being ordered to return to their bases. But one of them fails to receive that signal and continues the mission to drop nuclear weapons on Moscow. When headquarters realize what is going on they try to find a way of stopping the crew, but according to the protocols they are suppose to ignore any other ways of contact than the electronic way. President of Untied States authorizes the jet fighters to intercept and shot down the bomber.

Interesting drama showing how the whole nuclear might of United States was dependable on electronics and security procedures. One failure might lead to inevitable nuclear war and both sides would have to depend on human factor to avoid the destruction of human kind. Although this movie shows very little action and most of the plot takes place in cabinets of high level officials it is a gripping drama that was made as one of the wake up calls (others being f.e. On The Beach, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) for the American and Soviet governments to show them how turning Cold War into nuclear war will destroy both sides and how close they are to starting the holocaust.

Our rating


Film value

7 / 10

Realism factor

3 / 5

Adventure factor

1 / 5

Historical accuracy

1 / 5

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Creators of Fail-Safe

Sidney Lumet movies

Sidney Lumet


Walter Bernstein movies

Eugene Burdick movies

Eugene Burdick


Harvey Wheeler movies

Harvey Wheeler


Cast of Fail-Safe

Henry Fonda movies

Henry Fonda

as The President

Walter Matthau movies walter-matthau

Walter Matthau

as Groeteschele

Dan O’Herlihy movies dan-o’herlihy

Dan O’Herlihy

as General Black

Frank Overton movies frank-overton

Frank Overton

as General Bogan

Edward Binns movies edward-binns

Edward Binns

as Colonel Grady

Fritz Weaver movies fritz-weaver

Fritz Weaver

as Colonel Cascio

Larry Hagman movies larry-hagman

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Events depicted in Fail-Safe

Cold War (1953-1991)