Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

A nuclear-age parable of unmatched film-historical importance and generalized hilarity, Kubrick’s vision of the day before doomsday remains frightening—and side-splitting—over fifty years after its original release. When über-patriotic General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) decides, of his own accord, to launch a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union without a war order, jittery British Colonel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) must try to stop him; simultaneously, Major “King” Kong (Slim Pickens) commands the aircraft with the warhead as the plane hurtles toward its destination; finally, in the “war room,” president Merkin Muffley (Sellers again) presides over the negotiations with the Soviets, fending off the xenophobic strategies of General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) and the very troubling theories of his “scientific” advisor Dr. Strangelove (Sellers #3). Perhaps Kubrick’s greatest and most lasting creation, Dr. Strangelove is at base a film about the dangers of unchecked machismo in the war room and on the battlefield, where there is no room for error. “Half a century after Stanley Kubrick unleashed his most perverse provocation (about a bombing run no one can stop), it’s amazing that we’re even here to see it. By a whopping margin, this is Kubrick’s most radical film and greatest dramatic gamble.”—Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York.

Appears in: Print the Legend

Genres: Dark Comedy

Other Films by Stanley Kubrick

Paths-of-Glory

Paths of Glory

Kubrick’s classic tale of corrupted leadership and the farce of legal proceedings during wartime (WWI) strikes resonance today through its portrait of average soldiers who must pay the price for their superiors’ malfeasance. Led by Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas in one of his finest roles as the moral compass of the film), the French 701st

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Eyes Wide Shut

In the late 1990s, near the end of his career, Kubrick, known for his painstakingly crafted visions of Western culture— infused with a deep, unsettling malaise—enlisted Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, at the time Hollywood’s hottest power couple, for a visceral exploration of marital un-fulfillment and existential dread. While at a lavish party, the couple