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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Drama, Thriller, Comedy
IMDB rating:
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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As funny and as sharp and as relevant as it was almost 40 years ago
When US General Jack D. Ripper orders wing attack plan R into operation he sets his plane on an irrecoverable bombing run into Russia. Powerless to stop them with the relevant three letter access code the President of America and his advisors plan to warn Russia as best they can to prevent as many of the planes reaching their targets as possible. However when the Russian Ambassador warns of the doomsday machine – a machine that will destroy all life on earth in response to a nuclear attack things become desperate. With one plane making a desperate run to it's target things look bleak.

Now well respected as a superb satire on the arms race this is one of my favourite Kubrick films. It is less cold than some of this later work and is genuinely funny without losing it's point. The story focuses on three main areas of the attack – the military base where one crazed man launches the attack, the war room at the pentagon and the plane making the bombing run. All these have comedy inherent in them – although thew war room is by far the best. The story is an satire on the futility and danger of the nuclear deterrent while also scattered with fantastic dialogue. It may not sound funny but trust me – it is.

The characters are all great and well done by the cast. Peter Sellers excels in each of his roles and shows his quality. As Mandrake he is funny in a very British way, as The President he has great one sided conversations with his Russian counterpart as well as great dialogue including the legendary `Gentlemen you can't fight in here – this is the war room'. However as Dr Strangelove he is hilarious – the character himself is a swipe at those who change political sides but maybe still hold onto their old ideologies. Sterling Hayden is great as General Ripper – he delivers his madness with a straight face throughout (or maybe no-one told him it was a comedy!). Slim Pickens is good and has the most famous scene from the film that has been copied in many things including Homer's fantasy in The Simpsons. However for me the standout is George C. Scott – not exactly a comedy actor he is frantic and over the top with his communist paranoia.

Overall this is a classic and deserves to be. It is sharp today as it was then and even more relevant. The comedy is still fresh and the dialogue is great – quite simply, when Scott implores the president to act quickly as `we must not have a mineshaft gap!' then you've arrived!
The only movie that makes you laugh at the end of the world.
This movie is absolutely brilliant! It might not be THE best movie ever made but it certainly is one of the most entertaining and fun movies ever made. It isn't even Kubrick's best but it certainly is perhaps his most accessible and entertaining movie.

The movie its story and humor are subtle and perfectly makes fun of the whole Cold War situation in the '60's. With some subtle dialog Kubrick perfectly makes fun of a very serious and relevant topic. I mean, the story of this movie isn't that unlikely and could had actually really happened. As a matter of fact, it could still happen today. It's frightening but thanks to Kubrick's directing the movie never really becomes serious and remains fun, hilarious and entertaining from beginning till end. It is the only movie that makes you laugh at the end of the world.

The actors are also what makes this movie fun to watch. Peter Sellers is nothing short of brilliant in the three different roles that he plays; Group Captain (G/C) Lionel Mandrake/President Merkin Muffley/Dr. Strangelove. But also George C. Scott is comically brilliant in this movie as Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson and he perhaps plays his very best role. Other actors that stood out were; Slim Pickens and Peter Bull. This movie also marks James Earl Jones his very first appearance in a movie.

This is perhaps the most subtle and 'darkest' comedies ever made. Everything about it is shear brilliance and even now 40 years later, it hasn't lost any of its power. The movie still looks like it could had been made a couple of months ago. A movie that will never feel outdated or too 'old fashioned' to watch. In 50 years from now, this movie will be just as good and hilarious, as it is now. Mark my words.

The movie is filled with some truly classic long sequences and has countless unforgettable moments and dialog in it. Especially the last sequence, involving Dr Strangelove, is absolutely priceless and unforgettable.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!


More actual than ever
This film is more actual than ever. It is scary how our leaders fail too learn any lessons from this film. It should be required watching on any general staff course. I can only recommend everyone to see it and be very afraid when they laugh!
The Magnum Opus of Disaster-Comedy
A classic Kubrick movie with a plot so absurd it had to come from reality. This movie fits perfectly with director Stanly Kubrick's iconic body of work. Dr. Strangelove carries Kubrick's signature brand of storytelling: combined with tongue-in-cheek humor over a background of looming unthinkable disaster. Dr. Strangelove is a masterpiece of the disaster-comedy genre. The movie brings in stars both famous then and famous now such as George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, Slim Pickens, and of course, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, and Peter Sellers.

The thing that makes Dr. Strangelove so unique is how Kubrick puts such an absurd and hilarious movie over the dark, terrifying idea of nuclear catastrophe. The movie almost doesn't seem like a comedy with the tense "World teetering on a knife-point" atmosphere; only to be broken by character names like "Alexi de Sadesky," "Jack D. Ripper," and "Bat Guano" to list a few.

The story unfolds when General Ripper exceeds his authority and sends bomber squadrons to attack Russia as he believes they are polluting America's fluids because the Communists only drink vodka. He holds out on his base while one of his senior officers - Peter Sellers - tries to talk him down. Meanwhile, President Merkin Muffley - Peter Sellers - gathers a council in the war room with top military officials, the Russian ambassador, and a disabled ex-German scientist – Peter Sellers – who keeps referring to him as, "Mein Fuhrer." All while a mysterious "Doomsday Device" threatens to obliterate civilization. Hilarity ensues, 10/10.
Don't believe the naysayers
I am a little confused in regards to the people who complain that "Dr. Strangelove" isn't funny enough. But I suppose it's not surprising that some people would feel that way considering that nowadays, most people's idea of comedy consists of movies that rely mainly on shock value and gross-out-factor, with little, if any satirical or commentary value. In my opinion, Dr. Strangelove is far more daring, controversial, and witty than anything the Farrely brothers have ever put out, especially you view it in the context of when it was released, at the height of the Cold War in 1964 when people were paralyzed with fear at the idea of nuclear holocaust and the end of the world. Competely brilliant, and still very entertaining today, although obviously not in the over-the-top shock your senses way that so many people seem to be used to...More like a subtle shaking-your-head-and-smiling kind of way. :)
Brilliant Dark Comedy!
Dr. Strangelove is my second review of a Stanley Kubrick movie. Earlier I posted a review of his 1960 film, Spartacus which I generally liked, but did not love. Spartacus was a mainstream, straightforward film that he adapted from a novel. For this movie, it is an entirely different story. I loved every single bit of the black comedy which was written by Kubrick himself (which he adapted from the Peter George novel). This is actually one of the best films to come out in the last fifty years. It was a timely movie (for 1964's audience), and it remains hilarious for the duration of the film even though Kubrick told his actors to play it straight. It was the talent of Kubrick that turned this film into a film he wanted, a quirky black comedy.

Kubrick is known to be a perfectionist in all of his films. He is involved with every detail including sound, editing, etc. He even has his own sound equipment and his own cameras. Because he wanted to be so perfect, it created tension between him and his actors. For example, Kubrick never got along with George C. Scott who played a major role in the movie. Kubrick used some trickery to get Scott, a very hard actor to work with, to get what he wanted and Scott vowed never to work with Kubrick again. Scott, however, did admit he respected Kubrick due to his chess skills, which they played on set every day.

The movie plays out like a spoof, a spoof about the Cold War. At the beginning of the film, General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes bananas and he orders his bomber planes to annihilate the Soviet Union. He has some crackpot idea that the communist nation is conspiring to destroy the Americans via their bodily fluid. Over in America, in the "War Room," President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) meets with his advisors to figure out what to do, and they are informed by the Russian Ambassador that if the Soviet Union is destroyed, that would unleash a machine called "The Doomsday Machine" and that will destroy all of humanity.

There are some interesting themes presented in the movie. The main theme is the Cold War, which was a silent war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The early 1960's was a tense era due to such events like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cuban Revolution, in which the Soviets had a hand in. The movie is particularly interested in satirizing MAD, or the mutual assured destruction. Both sides wanted to destroy each other in a nuclear standoff, but they were deterred in doing so because all human life would be destroyed regardless. Another theme presented is a sexual theme, which Kubrick later admitted. The beginning with the airplanes going in to Russia is meant to be the start of the sexual process and Kong's (a character in the film) ride down on the missile and detonation is meant to be the ending of the sexual process.

The film is famous for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is Peter Sellers playing three roles. He played President Merkin Muffley, who was based off an American Midwesterner and a has a balding figure. He spoke in a tone that suggested he had a cold, an underlying weakness that Sellers wanted to give to that character. Muffley was played straight by Sellers, but I felt his character was actually hilarious. Sellers also portrayed Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, the only man accessible to the mad General Ripper. Finally, Sellers portrayed Dr. Strangelove, my favorite character in the movie. Strangelove is an ex-Nazi scientist who serves as Muffley's scientific adviser. I loved the accent Sellers used to portray the wheelchair-bound eccentric. I also loved how he had this thing called the "alien hand syndrome" I just couldn't stop laughing when Strangelove randomly used the Nazi salute and called the President "Mein Fuhrer" several times over the course of the film. I found it hilarious the Americans would employ former Nazis in the movie. Strangelove appeared to be a menacing antagonist of the movie, and a great one at that.

There are also great supporting turns, mainly in George C. Scott's character, General Buck Turgidson. He was the adviser who alerted the President to the news and he was really funny. I loved the use of his facial contortions to display his emotions. He reminded me of Jim Carrey, who is famous for his extreme facial contortions as part of his comedy routine. There is one scene where the General was running in the War Room and slipped, then picked himself up again as if nothing happened. According to Kubrick, the scene wasn't planned but it worked perfectly with the movie. Sterling Hayden had a rather small role as General Ripper at the beginning, but it was a very memorable role. Finally, there is Slim Pickens who plays Major Kong-the leader of the airplane in charge of throwing a bomb on the USSR. Pickens reportedly wasn't told the film was a comedy, and he played his role straight. With the use of the heavy Southern accent, his role was still funny. His role was actually meant for Peter Sellers, but Sellers didn't want to do it because he had trouble with a Southern accent and he sprained an ankle and wasn't able to sit in the cockpit of the airplane.

Dr. Strangelove is seen as one of Stanley Kubrick's best films and it is very easy to see why. Well, both this film and 2001: A Space Odyssey are his best films,and they share common themes. Manmade machines attempting to destroy humans. Nonetheless, this film was very fun to watch and it made me laugh constantly. As a Cold War farce, the movie does a wonderful job.

My Grade: A+
A true masterpiece
I had heard a lot of things about Dr. Strangelove before I saw it. For some reason I do not really know I got to postpone watching it until April 2002. Since then, I must have seen it at least 10 times.

Dr. Strangelove is one of those movies that make movie watching a trully enjoyable experience. It combines irony, humour and criticism on a very serious matter, such as nuclear combat between the two superpowers of the 20th century in a daring yet remarkable way.

Peter Sellers, who has three roles to his own in this one, is clearly at his best and so is George C. Scott whose talent radiates at all times. The casting in this movie is among the best I've seen. It is hard to make serious movies about 'the Bomb'. It is much harder, to make a comedy about it, and while at it a comedy that manages to defy not only the fear of the era in which it came out, but also convey several important messages to the rulers of this planet about their actions.

I believe there's not much one can say about this movie. Everyone should see it and try to imagine how daring and amazing a feat this movie is in the near-fascist political climate of the 60s in the Western world, where Communist fear brought the nuclear threat into everyone's life. It is, in my opinion, Kubrick's best.
Humanity's struggle toward ending itself is summed up by this brilliant, dark comedy.
During the cold war a certain fear existed unlike that of terrorist attacks, it was stronger, due to the fact the attacks were possibly catastrophic, and it seemed always to be a possibility. To make a comedy about the world ending by the means most feared, and more importantly, most plausible, is genius. Everyone should respect this as one of the best comedies ever, as well as Kubrick being one of the best directors.
Entertaining; Peter Sellers at his best
I saw this movie for the first time when I was about 25 years old. I didn't truly get it then. I saw it again recently at 59; I think I got it this time. The story tells us how totally out of control a military situation can get in spite of all the official safeguards that may have been put into place. All it takes is one wacko with enough influence for total chaos to be unleashed. Sellers is superb as the polite English officer dealing with the insane American superior officer. He is equally wonderful as the unflappable president of the USA. His rendition of Dr Strangelove with his relexive Nazi salute is also memorable. Slim Pickens as the obediant bomber aircraft commander is terrific. His dedication to follow orders is indeed, total. George C Scott is equally wonderful in his role as top military adviser to the president. Although enthusiastic to the point of obsession, he seems to have no grasp whatsoever of the gravity of the situation in which the world powers find themselves at that moment.
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