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Fail-Safe (1964)

Cast: Henry Fonda, Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, more...
Director: Sidney Lumet, Sidney Lumet
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Disaster Action, Political Thriller, WWII
Running Time: 112 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Thai
    see additional details...

Based on the novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, Fail-Safe is set for the most part at Strategic Air Command headquarters, where a misguided transmission sends a squadron of bombers hurtling towards Russia, fully prepared to drop their atomic weaponry on Moscow. Air Force commander Frank Overton desperately tries to establish radio contact with the bombers, but once the pilots have passed the "fail safe" point, they've been instructed to disregard any reversal of orders. Racing against time, US President Henry Fonda, through his interpreter (Larry Hagman), informs the Russian premiere of the impending nuclear disaster. Working in concert with SAC, the Russians send up interceptors to shoot down the American bombers, while some of the planes run out of fuel and crash. Unfortunately, one aircraft, piloted by Edward Binns, manages to escape destruction and continues on its fatal mission. Realizing that Moscow is doomed, the President must decide how to avert World War III. Featured in the cast of Fail Safe are Walter Matthau as a hawkish scientist, Fritz Weaver as a round-the-bend colonel, and Dom DeLuise (billed as "DeLouise") as a weeping sergeant. Fail-Safe is followed by a government-dictated disclaimer insisting that the events leading up to the nuclear disaster depicted in the film could not possibly happen. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The Straight Dr Strangelove by JKelly April 26, 2006 - 9:44 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
...In the sense that this is non-comedic. Large cast of recognizable actors. Put together well, especially under the circumstances of no cooperation and even interference from the government. It's a gripping drama and can give you a sense of what people were freaking out about during the cold war. I give it slightly less than a full 10 out of 10 rating because there were some aspects of the film that were labored, unrealistic. Maybe it was just too hard to see Dom DeLouise in a serious cameo. I am a huge fan of Dr. S. I have probably seen it 20 times over as many years. I pick something up every time. And I am so glad I finally came around to seeing this, which is in many ways a sister film. Even the books the two films were based on tangled with each other in litigation. I'd like to see the 2000 remake, which says is available, but I don't see it on GreenCine or NF.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.94)
67 Votes
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