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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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A classic by a genius
This classic by Stanley Kubrick is not only a cracking good story but reflects the times in which it was released. A stellar cast combined with silky black and white production, this film has so much going for it, it is hard to know where to begin. This is satire at its best. Each fully developed character is played with gusto, especially Peter Sellers who has no fewer than three roles. George C. Scott as General Buck Turgeson is also granted some terrific lines that he delivers with a almost child like awareness, completely oblivious of the import of what he is saying. The film switches between artfully crafted, beautiful composed cinematography and a rugged hand held documentary style. There are scenes in a b-52 bomber that are so realistic that you feel you are right in the airplane. Anyone who wants to see a group of actors and a brilliant director, all at the top of their game, will enjoy this movie.
It Just Doesn't Get Any Better Than This
This is my all time favorite film. Absolutely brilliant on all counts. It's the most biting satire of the awkwardness and folly of the military that has ever been screened. You're seeing actors at the peak of their form. I would rate George C. Scott's performance here on a par with his work in Patton. His comic timing is wonderful - not to mention Sterling Hayden (how did he keep a straight face saying some of those lines), Keenan Wynn (Mr. "Prevert"), Slim Pickens and James Earl Jones just starting out (even back then he was reciting every line like it was Shakespeare).

There are so many great moments and memorable lines, right up to the closing montage and song. And what can I say about Peter Sellers. The man was a true genius. It's a bit eerie watching him disappear into those three characters. His phone conversation with the Soviet premier is hands down the finest monologue I've ever seen on film ("I'm sorry too, Dmitri").

If you've never seen this film, please do yourself a huge favor and check it out. You won't be bored. Oh.....and keep close tabs on your precious bodily fluids!
Simply brilliant. Take a cue from "American Beauty" and LOOK CLOSER. You don't see this kind of filmmaking anymore. This is comedy at it's best. If you get a chance to see it on DVD, there's a lot of great information there for any hardcore HILTSWALTB fan.
The best movie I have ever seen.
This is my favorite movie of all time. No other movie even comes close. It is the definition of dark comedy, containing some of the funniest lines ever written for the screen. It is also an insightful commentary on American patriotism; no other film portrays its wrong-headed protagonists in such an over-the-top heroic light.
Still Crazy After All These Years
I have not seen this movie in over twenty years, but it was on my Amazon wish list and I got it. If you were raised during the Cold War you will love this movie! If you have never heard of it before - rent it and watch it - I believe you will enjoy the experience. Just put your mind in the sixties.
Best satire of all time?
I wanted to add comments here in response to some detractors. Truly, I see this film as almost impossible to fault. However, there are commentors here who are quick to say the the film is "not funny". I think that all depends on your expectations. "Dr. Strangelove" is satire, not straight comedy. In that sense, if you try to compare this film to something by the Farrely brothers, it just doesn't work.

I'll say it again: Satire. The greatness behind the humor here is the chilling logic behind it. What's funny about this film is how disturbing and timeless it is. A great satire makes you come away angry, because there's usually a cynical message behind it.

In fact, with our great president's dubious current inititatives to start up another arms race, "Dr. Strangelove" is once again proving its relevance.

Along with "The Player", "Dr. Strangelove" is one of the best SATIRE'S of all time. And Peter Sellers would never be better.
so sad
This is a sad movie. You won't be depressed while watching it; you'll be too busy laughing you head off. The sad thing is, that a movie about nuclear holocaust could be so funny. I could imagine this happening 15 years ago, which is frightening. Sellers (in 3 roles), Scott, and Pickens (playing it as a drama) are tops of the great all around cast. Pickens on the bull and Dr. Strangelove's first appearance are classic moments in a classic movie. 10/10
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!
A must see !!! ***** out of ****
Who else than Stanley Kubrick could take a serious subject like the cold war and tell the story like a comedy ??? He proves his genius in this film more like in any other film of his. It's the story about one general ( with the very appropriate name Jack D. Ripper) gone mad and he launches an attack on Russia all by himself. He's mad, but still smart enough to prevent that anyone can stop him. He's got this strange ( but very funny ) theories about body-fluids, but his men respect him and do everything he says. So 34 fully-armed plains are sent to as many targets. Meanwhile his Colonel, Mandrake, tries to talk sense to him and the president and another General are trying to warn the Russian prime minister. You can have nothing but great respect for Peter Sellers. He plays three roles in this film and every single one of them is flawless. The doctor Strangelove character is hilarious and creepy at the same time. His appearances as the doctor are, along with the telephone conversations between the president and the Russian Prime minister the funniest moments in the film... Also the classic bomb-ride of Major Kong off course. George C. Scott is clearly having fun in his role and the debut of James Earl Jones is also definitely worth mentioning. Like I said already...a must see film if you're a film lover in general.
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+
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