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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Year:
1964
Country:
UK
Genre:
Drama, Thriller, Comedy
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Stanley Kubrick
Peter Sellers as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake
George C. Scott as General 'Buck' Turgidson
Sterling Hayden as Brigadier General Jack Ripper
Keenan Wynn as Colonel 'Bat' Guano
Slim Pickens as Major 'King' Kong
Peter Bull as Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
James Earl Jones as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg
Tracy Reed as Miss Scott
Jack Creley as Mr. Staines
Frank Berry as Lieutenant Dietrich
Robert O'Neil as Admiral Randolph
Glenn Beck as Lieutenant Kivel (as Glen Beck)
Roy Stephens as Frank
Shane Rimmer as Captain 'Ace' Owens
Hal Galili as Burpelson AFB Defense Team Member
Jack Creley as Mr. Staines
Storyline: 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...
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Reviews
Classic Cold War Comedy
While this movie isn't quite in the same league for all-out hilarity as such comedy icons as "Airplane!" or "Clerks", it nonetheless is a classic in its own right. Quite simply, this film asks the question - what could possibly be funny about nuclear war? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. We have an Air Force general who flips out and, on his own authority, sends his bombers to attack the USSR. At his side is an RAF officer who doesn't seem to know quite how to deal with the whole situation. On a larger scale, the president and his men are assembled in the War Room as they attempt to placate the Soviet Premier (who just happens to be drunk) in an effort to avoid Armageddon. Not that it matters, as it turns out, one lone American bomber gets through, thus triggering the Doomsday Device, and ending all life on Earth. Well, not entirely, for it seems that a mysterious Dr. Strangelove has concocted a plan in which all virile males can hide out in the nation's deepest mineshafts and reproduce (at a ratio of ten women to each man) so as to assure the continuation of the human race despite all the radiation on the planet's surface.

On the surface, this sounds like a recipe for a mess, yet director Stanley Kubrick makes it work. To be honest, this is really Peter Sellars' movie; it is he who deserves the lion's share of the credit for this film's enduring success. For example, when I first saw this movie some 15 years ago, I had no idea that Sellars played the three leads in this film, I had him pegged only as the veddy proper British officer Lionel Mandrake, not having the slightest clue that he also played the geekish American president as well as the nutcase German scientist Dr. Strangelove. It is to Sellars' credit that he managed to play such different characters while making each utterly convincing. In addition, much credit is due to George Scott as the bombastic General Turgison. The scenes where he stares down the president while stuffing gum in his face are definitely priceless. And, last but not least, is the Soviet ambassador DeSadeski, who alternates from being menacing to being ludicrous. There are rumors that Slim Pickens (the B-52 pilot) was never told this was a satire, and was requested to play the role straight. This I find hard to buy; anyone who recalls the part where he reads off the contents of the survival kits, which include such items as lipstick, condoms, and nylon stockings, will find it hard to believe he could do that scene with a straight face without being in on the joke. Also, there are a number of acts of sheer farce, such as when Mandrake is forced to order Col. `Bat' Guano to shoot open a Coke machine in order to get change to phone the president to put an end to the nuclear crisis. There are some "Airplane!" style sight gags, most notably when the B-52 is flying low over Russia but its shadow is that of a World War 2 B-17. And the pacing is also dead on. At first, there is little evidence this is actually a satire, one could easily watch the first half hour or so and fully believe they were seeing a serious (albeit, rather corny and low budget) war film. But, in time, the humor builds, such that, by the end, the president and his men are contemplating the advantages of being holed up in a mineshaft with hordes of women chosen primarily for their sexually stimulating attributes when all the while Strangelove is trying (and failing) to suppress his rabid love for his `Fuehrer'.

In the final analysis, this movie has a lot going for it, but it also has its flaws. Most notably, it is politically dated. Apparently the impetus behind Gen. Ripper's plan to attack the USSR is that he thinks the `Rooskies' have plotted to contaminate our water supply with fluoride. I guess, back when this movie was released, people could relate since the notion of flouridization as a `Commie plot' was popular among conspiracy theory nuts at the time, but to a modern audience, the reference just seems out of date. Also, it seems to suggest that opponents of communism were nothing more than paranoid knuckle dragging Neanderthals, a notion that has hardly withstood the test of time. Finally, there are the silly names and sexual innuendo. I guess having names like General Jack Ripper and Premier Kissoff has a certain entertainment value, but at the same time they seem childish, like something I'd have called my teachers behind their back in 5th grade. Quite honestly, Beavis and Butt-head came up with funnier names when they tried to join the army as Major Woody and Private Parts. And having Ripper ramble on about the loss of his precious bodily fluids was no doubt sexually risqué in the 1960's, but by today's standards it just seems, well, icky. But these are nitpicks. On the whole, this movie has stood the test of time and remains a classic from its era.

9/10
2002-05-29
Must see --the greatest political parody (movie) ever made
If you haven't seen this, then you have to get it and watch it. No one should have lived a life and watched any movies without having seen this one! Aside from the performance(s) of Peter Sellers in multiple roles, Slim Pickens, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, and a brief role with a very young James Earl Jones are all exemplary. Some of the best political satire ever written (from a book by Peter George).
2002-07-01
The are movies and there is history...this is movie history !
What can I say about this 1964 black-comedy...nothing short of pure brilliance. From the cracking caracters to the incredibly insane story, this is the cold war at its best.

My favourite part must be the unpacking of the emergency boxes. I can't describe it how hilarious this is.

If you really want to enjoy the movie to its fullest you better do some research on the cold war days. Maybe a nice double feature is to watch Thirteen Days and after it Dr. Strangelove.

Go out and see the best one Kubrick has made.
2003-06-05
Brilliant! A must see film!
Okay, I have to admit: Dr. Strangelove has always been one of my all time favorites. And whether you like Kubrick or not, you have to respect the fact that the man was fearless in the director's chair.

I'll never know how Kubrick had the nerve to make a black comedy about nuclear annihilation while the Cold War was at its zenith, but I'm glad he did it. Dr. Strangelove is an absolute joy to watch if you are the type of person who appreciates films that take chances and dabble in the bizarre.

The performances by Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Sterling Hayden are as good as you will see. The cinematography and the subtle (and not so subtle) traits of the main characters are what drives this movie in my opinion.

I could go on but I'll leave it at this: Dr. Strangelove is easily a 10.
2002-03-13
The most childishly sophisticated comedy ever. My fave film.
From beginning to end strangelove is a riot. I love every second of it. The ending makes it the blackest comedy ever made and that ever will be made. Sellers is at his very best. The comedy ranges from sutle, biting satire to ridiculous slapstick. If you get a chance to watch it with the bootleg original ending do! The dignitaries have a food fight in the war room!!!!! Perfect.
2003-02-20
one of the greatest black comedies of all-time
Dr. Strangelove is one of the greatest black(and white) comedies of all time. It explores with humor and spine-chilling grace: will mankind survive its own madness? or are our collective flaws so great that we will wink out in an evolutionary instant? But these questions are explored in a farcical, dark work that, I suspect, will live for quite a long time in film history. Terry Southern's dark vision mixed with Shakesperean bawdiness of Peter Sellers et al makes for fascinating and delicious humor. Although this was produced at the height of the cold war, what makes this work of art a timeless classic is that it transcends its immediate theme and prompts in us in our time to view our collective madness. Do we depend too much on our technology and think-tank rationalizations to propell us in directions we would never go as a rational individuals. Do we rationalize to life shibboleths that will propel us into immolation? What a movie that asks these questions of us, ourselves, and at the same time entertains us, makes us gut-laugh and cry at the on-screen farce. Wow. Shakespeare and B-52's. Crazed generals with phallic cigars stickying jauntily out of mouth. Pentegon brass calling on secure phones to their paramours. And Peter Sellars. This is a tour d'farce for him. His multiple portrayals of the president, a British miilitary attache and Dr. Strangelove are comic masterpieces. This is a movie for the ages. If you haven't seen it, bring your brain and your tears, for you'll laugh and cry as your intellect is entertained, and that's really sho-biz, folks.
2002-08-06
Frighteningly and prophetically relevant for this moment in USA history!
This has always been one of my all-time favorites. Kubrick's nightmare is on the verge of coming true as we have a couple of "General Ripper's" in the form of Cheney and Rumsfeld, who seem intent on wielding absolute power despite a complete lack of psychological self-knowledge. At least Peter Seller's President "had a brain". Not so in our current Oz. If you are heading to your bomb shelter in the upcoming weeks, make sure to take along this classic!
2003-03-30
Funniest movie of all time
Funniest movie I have seen in my life (and for that alone, it earns my first review). There are moments during movie that you follow the dialogue and watch it progress and you feel fine, but then there are verbal 'bombs' (for lack of a better word) dropped on you and you can fall on the ground for laughing so hard.

At some point in the move I was thinking: is it inappropriate that I'm entertained, and then I looked it up on IMDb to see the genre: and felt a bit relieved to see that it is indeed a comedy.

The pace was so slow (and in the best way possible): you wonder how Kubrick managed to squeeze so much in so little screen time, yet nothing feels rushed, and everything gets enough time. Loved it! Recommend it to everyone!
2016-01-19
Glorious madness...
Shooting the breeze with some close friends and fellow film enthusiasts a few evenings ago, talk turned to the cinema of Stanley Kubrick. Due obeisance was paid to 2001 A Space Odyssey, the possible long term psychological trauma induced by watching A Clockwork Orange at the age of 14 (as my son claims to have done) was chewed over, and 'what the hell went wrong' with Eyes Wide Shut was debated.

My personal favorite from the Kubrick stable — the sharply intelligent and insanely hilarious 1964 cold war spoof — Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Three Peter Sellers, one George C. Scott, a loony general obsessed with contamination of bodily fluids to kick off the glorious madness, and the most hysterically funny phone conversation you will ever hear between the President of the United States and the Premier of USSR.

The film is rated #49 in the top 250 films of all time on IMDb, so I'm not kidding!
2016-01-27
A must watch satire
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is a brilliant dark comedy depicting the paranoia and fear surrounding the nuclear proliferation at the heights of cold war.

The plot of the movie revolves around the arms race and cold war between USA and erstwhile USSR resulting in a nuclear fallout throughout the world. The movie starts with United States Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) giving the go code to B-52 bombers of his wing for a nuclear attack on USSR without any provocation. He goes ahead and seals himself in his air-base and cuts off all communication knowing fully that it is impossible to recall the bombers without his recall codes.

An emergency meeting is called by President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) of high profile generals of US Armed Forces at Pentagon. General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) briefs the President about the impending 'moment of truth' and tries to convince him for an all out attack on USSR which is ignored. Meanwhile back at the airbase, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) finds out that General Ripper issued the go code for no good reason other than 'the commie boogeymen trying to pollute the natural fluids their enemies' and struggles to recall the bombers.

People at Pentagon are also informed of the unstoppable Russian Doomsday device by Soviet Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski (Peter Bull) built to wipe out all life on earth in case Russia is attacked by Nuclear weapons. The combined efforts of Russians and Americans to stop bombers from reaching the target and the American adviser Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) talking about steps to take in case of doom make the climax of the movie.

Coming to the performances, Peter Sellers without a doubt shines brightly throughout the movie. He managed to play his three characters with equal finesse. George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden did full justice to their respective roles of General Turgidson and Brigadier General Ripper.However this movie solely belong to its director. Kubrick has managed to highlight the absurdity of the unfounded contempt of one towards the other and its consequences. He also brilliantly depicts the dangers of lack of credibility of elements of a power structure.

This movie is definitely among the best political satire movies of all time.
2016-08-08
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