Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 11, 2012
Dr Strangelove is part of the vast collection of Stanley Kubrick's greatest films, and goes down, as the greatest film about the cold war and nuclear scare, which the world has ever seen, combining comedy and a real fright perfectly.

Strangelove, or, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb", tells the story of what could happen if the US nuclear programme went wrong. Based around the fears of many Americans, and much of the Western World, at the height of the cold war, a US air force general, who is the only one who has the codes to launch and bring back a fleet of planes carrying nuclear weapons, goes mad, and orders his entire fleet to attack the Soviet Union.

As the story unfolds we see the pure exceptional talents of Sellers in three characters, the bumbling British RAF pilot, Lionel Mandrake, the worried and hysterical US President, and the former, (perhaps still), Nazi weapon specialist, Dr Strangelove.

Through each of these characters, alongside marvellous acting from George C. Scott and Peter Bull, we see the fleet of H-Bombs draw closer to the USSR from four different perspectives, as the possibility of a nuclear war draws ever closer.

Released to cinemas just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the world came closer to nuclear war than ever before, Kubrick, in all his wit and talent, took a very real possibility, exposing the weaknesses of the safeguards of nuclear warfare, and made audiences laugh with joy, despite the fact the event could have happened just later that afternoon.

With Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and the direction of Stanley Kubrick, the film makes for an incredibly entertaining ride, where we are taken along with each of the characters, and allowing us to look right into the weaknesses of the nuclear programme.

The acting of each and every character is purely fantastic, and a quality which most people would find hard to top. The cinematography, in the style of a documentary like handheld camera, adds to the realism, whilst at the same time, adding to the ridiculous and humorous connotations of a nuclear war breaking out.

The script, based on a serious novel called Red Alert, was adapted perfectly for the funny and sharp style Kubrick was aiming for, balancing moments of serious action and tension, with the laugh out loud moments following straight after.

It is hard not to laugh at the fantastic film which Kubrick has produced. Whilst it may be more than 50 years old, and the cold war has come to an end many years ago, Dr Strangelove still impacts on audiences today, in the same way it did in 1964. A fantastically funny, brilliantly acted, and exceptionally directed story, which only the master team of Sellers, Scott and Kubrick could achieve.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
I never would have thought that such a simple story and such simple situations could turn into such a loveable film. As the military plans nuclear war it's almost as if the cameras have been placed around the board of directors as the plan attacks. The conversations are so well plotted out that it seemed as though I was watching a documentary in moments. I haven't seen that many war films, and although this is less of a man-to-man combat sort of war film and more of a dialogue driven plan execution with extremely intense character motifs throughout, I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. It's a basic film with a lot of effort and I strongly comment Kubrick for that! "Dr. Strangelove" is a great class film!
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2013
Dr. Strangelove is a brilliant satire that pokes fun at the bomb scare and is still amusing by today's standards.
Super Reviewer
½ August 26, 2012
Not Kubrick's best, but even then a wonderfully filmed and written satire.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2012
Great satire about egocentricity and war. With a pessimist ending that just get better the black comedy of Dr. Strangelove. One of the best comedys of misunderstood, that show the unforgettable multiple faces of Peter Sellers and a terrific work, also, by Stanley Kubrick.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2010
An intelligent satire which only Kubrick could have made, with an acid, hilarious dialogue and magnificent performances by Scott and Sellers - who basically improvises as three different characters and makes you wish he had also played the cowboy major as he was supposed to.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2012
Still darkly hilarious several decades later, and still devilishly clever as well.
Super Reviewer
½ November 8, 2006
Stanley Kubrick's black comic classic begins as a pseudo documentary describing the numerous nuclear safeguards in place to "defend" the US against attack. In fact, the film was originally intended to be a straight cold war thriller based on the novel Red Alert as Kubrick had become obsessed with the idea of nuclear annihilation after the Cuban missile crisis which occurred the previous year. But upon commencing filming, Kubrick realised it was actually impossible to capture the scale of such an unimaginable situation if played straight and instead concentrated on the inherent absurdities, and it is that inspired decision that is one of the examples of his true genius. Dr. Strangelove himself is rather a peripheral character, sticking only in the memory because of his silly accent and (somewhat overplayed) slapstick. For me the real laughs come in the more deadpan scenes, particularly those involving Sellers' bumbling, stiff upper-lipped voice of reason, Group Captain Mandrake and Sterling Hayden's loopy base commander, and George C. Scott's child-like philandering general. I'm not the biggest fan of Peter Sellers (especially considering what a colossal asshole he was in real life) and although I thought it got a little bogged down with unnecessary details during the flight sequences, the scenes on the ground are pure genius. Some may not see the funny side of mutual annihilation, but it's an enduring and classic piece of political satire.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2007
The beauty of Stanley Kubrick is that I can't really think of any film of his that I've seen that I don't love thoroughly. No matter what genre he was dabbling in, it always seemed to be heads and tails above everyone else. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb may just be the greatest comedy film ever made, and if not, it's certainly in the top five. The Cold War crisis and the Nuclear Missile crisis are put to the test with the likes of Peter Sellers (in three different roles), George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn and even a small role for James Earl Jones. Everybody is absolutely brilliant in this, thanks in no small part to Stanley's strong direction and a very good script (which Sellers used as a stepping stone for his ad-libbing). It's hilarious, subversive and just very well-made.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2012
Dr. Strangelove is one of those movies that gets deeper and funnier with time. It's not just hilarious but it's as terrifying as any film ever made.

It somehow makes gut wrenching suspense out of a collection of one dimensional stock characters played with panache and crackerjack comic skill, headed by the superlative Peter Sellers, in 3 distinct roles, including the title one.

Stanley Kubrick, not known for comedy (Maybe Lolita?), takes exactly the right approach here, The scenes and cinematography are stunningly photographed B &W and mostly realistic. The laughs fly furiously throughout, even as the tension get ratcheted increasingly up to the last frame. Music is meticulous as always, from military choruses to the haunting Vera Lynn 'We'll meet Again' as the world (Spoiler alert?!)comes to its inevitable end. Writer Terry Southern was a talented satirist and fiction writer, but his material in the hands of lesser directors (Candy - with a huge cast of sixties icons) can go very flat and pureile. Kubrick is a genius, and his films have mostly held up over many years, expecially this one.

The cast is stellar, starting with George C. Scott (who really should have done more comedy) as a gung ho and stupid General, film noir tough guy favorite Sterling Hayden as a red-baiting General who has gone utterly impotent - and bonkers - and, British comedian Peter Bull as the childish and venal Soviet Ambassador. Then Sellers: as well intentioned and ineffective President Merkin Muffley, the hapless British miltary observer Mandrake who tries to talk Sterling Hayden out of destroying the world (one of the funniest quiet reacting performances in film history), and of course, diabolical and utterly original Dr. Strangelove, an ex-Nazi scientist who is beyond funny, yet still unbeliveably frightening.

This film has stayed with me since childhood. I was terrified and obsessed wtih the end of the world and I still havne't recovered. Every time Strangelove comes on TV, I am hooked till the end when the mushroom clouds fly. I do wonder if younger people that have no memory of the cold war perennial nuclear threat would appreciate this at all, I'll have to test it out with my nephew, after which time I may revise this review.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2011
A classic film that's humour could never have the same effect if a film maker attempted to do something similar. One of the greatest black comedy film's of all time if not comedy films all together. Dr. Strangelove is a witty, satirical, hilarious film that invented the suspense comedy genre and will always have the same impact of hilarity combined with controversy in years to come as it did in 1964.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2012
Astute, well researched, and tightly written, Dr. Strangelove raises a devastating question that has no answer and is wise enough to appreciate the silliness of our predicament. Just how does a person tell a foreign leader that one of our planes is going to accidentally drop a nuclear bomb on their people, anyway? We are told that the Air Force states it has safeguards against this scenario and not to worry. Okay, fine, but in 2007 a B-52 accidentally and unknowingly carried 6 nuclear warheads over America and parked without proper protection and safe guards until the warheads were discovered 36 hours later. They were mistaken for training missles. The security for these weapons is only as strong as the weakest link. That any man is entrusted with this much destructive potential (and that big of a phallus) can only be approached with comedy or else we'll go insane.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
Forever relevant and as funny or funnier now than it was in 1964.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2011
The one problem I have with this film is that for a film called "Dr. Strangelove or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" Dr. Strangelove isn't in this movie for more than 10 minutes, which was a bit disappointing to me, but the comedy and the acting save the film from falling into obscurity. Geeorge C. Scott and Peter Sellers both do great jobs, Scott is great as the general and Peter Sellers is great as the president, Dr. Strangelove, and the assistant to one of the generals in the film, but to me the funniest part he does in this film is Strangelove, even though he is in the film for only 10 minutes, but the accent for the character is very funny, and how he acts is also very funny. One interesting thing I have to say about the film is that this was James Earl Jones first film, and he was given credit at the beginning of the film as one of the main actors. I haven't seen any of Kubricks other films but after seeing this one, I'd like to see more of them.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2011
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Stay on the bomb run, boys! I'm gonna get them doors open if it harelips ever'body on Bear Creek! 

"The hot-line suspense comedy."

Dr. Strangelove is a timeless classic. It's littered with hundreds of hilarious instances, be it a cowboy pilot riding a nuke to his death or a Nazi doctor fighting his own arm. The film is probably the funniest movie I have ever seen is one of Kubrick's many amazing films. This has everything needed to be a great comedy. It has a director who knows how to present the material. It has three actors who just kick ass at being hilarious, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens. It has backgrounds that are telling jokes while characters are telling jokes. It's the perfect comedy.

A general, Jack D. Ripper(brilliant) goes a little off his knocker and sends his planes an order of Plan R, which means they're going to nuclear war. While planes on their way to Russia the president is meeting with top men in the Pentagons War Room. They then learn if the planes make it to Russia and attack, a new weapon("Doomsday Weapon") will automatically destroy the world. 

Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, EH? 
Ambassador de Sadesky: It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises. 

The greatest thing about Dr. Strangelove is how smart and stupid it is at the same time. Most comedies that attempt to do something even close to what Kubrick was here, will just come off as stupid. Kubrick is as sharp as he ever was and would be here. There just aren't that many comedic masterpieces out there. Most of the comedies I love, I wouldn't call great films or masterpieces, but this is an exception; it is a masterpiece, from a director who seemed to only be able to make masterpieces. 

There's nothing not like here. If you don't laugh, there's probably something wrong with you. My peers whom I saw this with give me little hope in our generation(I'm a senior in high school). It's probably all the over the top dialogue we hear now in movies like Step Brothers and The Hangover. Hopefully there are still teenagers out there who can appreciate the genius of this film. 

I feel I need to go more in depth about just how good Sellers and Scott are in this movie. My two favorite comedic performances are theirs in this movie. Every time they want to make us laugh, they succeed. They don't have to say anything at times and they are still hilarious. Scott's facial expressions while the president is on the phone was laugh out loud funny and facial expressions rarely make me laugh. Sellers doesn't play one comedic performance to perfection but three. He fights his arm from saluting Hitler and has crazy good voices for each character, along with perfect timing in scenes where he is on the phone.

Dr. Strangelove is one of those movies that you will remember everything about, which is a good sign of a perfect film. It's a movie that doesn't have a throwaway scene or even a throwaway line. It is essential viewing. You shouldn't do anything before you see this movie. Go get it. Now. 

President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room. 
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2007
Maybe the darkest comedy ever made, zealous to ridicule the anxious fear beneath all militaries and their glorified posturing ("You can't handle the truth!") which makes it one of the best ever, and Kubrick is razor sharp to the game. Sellers and Scott are absolutely brilliant. But be warned: Your precious bodily fluids could be jeopardized!
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2007
The best black comedy ever made concerning a nuclear holocaust of the entire world on the horizon, thanks to an upper-level general's (Sterling Hayden) undetected insanity which provokes him to attack the Soviet Union out of suspicions of their communist ties, which does not sit well with the President of the United States (Peter Sellers) and his highest ranking commanders. Once again, director Stanley Kubrick hits the ball out of the park, thanks to a tight running pace coupled with brilliant performances (Sellers, who plays three characters, is just simply wonderful) and a heavy, heavy dose of black comedy ("Gentlemen! You can't fight here! This is the 'War Room'!"). It does have a lot to say about paranoia and how we control the upper-levels of government once they lose their senses. Add in some iconic shots (the bomb being dropped), clever dialogue, and some subtle little jabs at government being delivered at every conceivable opportunity - this is a sure classic.
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2011
Dr. Strangelove is a hilarious and genius masterpiece, and is one of Kubricks best. This movie marked a moment in history where the world was shown a great truth, how funny a cowboy on a A Bomb falling to his death can be. The world grew a little brighter when this was released, and is still z masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
½ July 10, 2011
With Kubrick just releasing the controversial Romance film LOLITA, some film distributes were on the edge with the up and coming film maker. They feared that if Kubrick would make a film as risky as LOLITA, what else could he do? Make a film about rape, violence, and Beethoven? Well, not yet. But what did come was Kubrick taking on one of the most difficult film genres one can take on: Comedy. Now, why comedy is so hard to pull off is because there is a fine line between stupid and hilarious. When most people deal with Comedy, they think of scenarios and stupidity and try to pass that off as Comedy, which is why it mostly fails. But, to add political satire into the mix and the threat of world destruction with the world just dealing with that idea (The Cold War), Kubrick was really stepping on some bombs while making this film. Once it was written, what it ended up becoming was one of the most original and genius comedies to ever be made. The first part that needs to be issued is the rather long title. Okay, all I can ask is: How did Kubrick create that form of a title? I mean, in terms of comedy, that alone is genius. Just think about it: How many films can pull off a title like that? Not many I tell you. But, now let's get to the main aspects. In terms of direction, Kubrick gives his trademark performance while adding a few things. The first being the cues for the scores (which includes one of the most ironic black comedic endings of all time), then the triple acting of Peter Sellers, the face of George C. Scott, and the overall tone. If it was not for one other film that Kubrick had made, then this would have been his best directorial film. It takes talent to direct a film like this and to not make it become a farce, and he keeps the idea in focus. For the acting, oh boy. Now, this film has beyond quality acting. Great performances through out. But, there are only two people need mentioning. The first is Peter Sellers. Now, with some comedians trying to pull this off (Tyler Perry, Mike Meyers), Sellers was the original man who put on three different characters plus personalities in one film and not mixing them up. Watching this film, and seeing the time it was made, one can make the assumption that any actor could have screwed this up royally. But not Sellers. Next for George C. Scott. Now, the one thing that you might be wondering is why he is being mentioned. Well, all I have to say is that next to the triple performance and the satires on The Cold War, his face during one of the Board Meetings in the film is beyond hysterical. I mean, you just have to observe the faces he makes while being serious. It is genius. Next we have the script. Being based off of the novel Red Alert, this film is, in tone, the polar opposite of that novel. Red Alert was a dark, serious scenario of a Dooms-Day machine going off while this turned that around. The only thing I can say about the script is that it is purely Gold. Finally the score. Now, like some of Kubrick's later films, this movie mostly contains stock music that anyone can use. But, like most of Kubrick's films, he uses it in a way that fits the tone of the film. With that in mind, only one song is needed to be mention. Now, if you have a brain you can figure out where this song takes place at. The song is Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again". Overall, this is a great, smart comedy that is easily the best of it's kind.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2011
A timeless film. Imaginative and downright hilarious. An absolute must-see
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