Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known simply as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick and stars Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and Slim Pickens. Production took place in the United Kingdom. The film is loosely based on Peter George's thriller novel Red Alert (1958).
An American Brigadier puts the world on the verge of a nuclear catastrophe, when he deploys a B-52 bomber on the Russians, without informing his superiors.
Why It Rocks
- The edgy satire and powerful performances are the main aspect of how the film was able to remain fresh and entertaining for years. Somehow, Kubrick was able to take a dark subject, turn it into a dark comedy, and make it work. That takes serious talent.
- Another reason the film remains relevant today -- even after The Cold War is long over -- is that patterns in human behavior tend to happen over and over again, and considering there are still a good amount of nukes in the world, it's possible that we're still perfectly capable of kick-starting additional chaos and peril.
- The film keeps the nightmare scenario in which a American general goes nuts and decides to unilaterally start a nuclear war Red Alert and a lot of the other key plot points from the book. But after first trying to make a movie that was just as serious, he eventually couldn't get over how absurd the whole arms race was, leading to the film becoming a satire. Speaking of which...
- It's a fairly accurate (if overexaggerated) showcase of how a single delusional scanario could cause a ruckus across the world, and how human error can undo all the sophisticated technology the military can provide. It perfectly captured the tense atmosphere of the mid-1960s that led the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to stockpile a massive amount of nuclear weapons, making it a near-perfect document of the time period. The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were mortal enemies in the fifties and sixties, and both countries were stockpiling tons of nuclear weapons in an attempt to be "safe" from the other.
- All the actors have hilarious and well-acted performances adding a surprising depth to the characters. Some of the top actors of the day were enlisted for acting
- Most notable is Peter Sellers is especially at the top of his game, as he played no less than three separate roles that were each handled gracefully. Plus most of his dialogue as the title character was improvised.
- There's also the highly acclaimed George C. Scott, who Kubrick tricked into giving the comic performance of a lifetime.
- And Slim Pickens did a performance that's probably made more hilarious by the fact that nobody told him he was acting in a comedy.
- Jack D. Ripper is a rather unique antagonist as he wanted to stem a Communist plot in which Americans were being sapped of their precious bodily fluids. But rather than starting the bomb due to self-interest or pride, he did it because he thought he was defending his country.
- The War Room is a vastly large and detailed set.
- Memorable quotes like "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!", and "Mein Führer! I can walk!".
- Peter Sellers was originally meant to play four different parts in the movie - The three roles in the film plus Major T. J. ‘King’ Kong. In the final film, he played only three due to breaking his ankle. Slim Pickens replaced him as Major Kong.
- Stanley Kubrick ordered 3,000 custard pies for the production. They were meant to be used in an alternate ending depicting a pie fight between the Russians and the Americans.
- The movie is based on the novel Red Alert. Stanley Kubrick bought the rights to the book for $3000.
- George C. Scott was tricked by Stanley Kubrick -- the film's director -- into giving a more ridiculous performance than he intended. Kubrick would have him do over-the-top “practice” takes, which were ultimately used in the final film.