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

Critics Consensus

Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.



Total Count: 87


Audience Score

User Ratings: 209,232
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Movie Info

In 1964, with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in viewers' minds, the Cold War at its frostiest, and the hydrogen bomb relatively new and frightening, Stanley Kubrick dared to make a film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and played the situation for laughs. Dr. Strangelove's jet-black satire (from a script by director Stanley Kubrick, Peter George, and Terry Southern) and a host of superb comic performances (including three from Peter Sellers) have kept the film fresh and entertaining, even as its issues have become (slightly) less timely. Loaded with thermonuclear weapons, a U.S. bomber piloted by Maj. T.J. "King" Kong (Slim Pickens) is on a routine flight pattern near the Soviet Union when they receive orders to commence Wing Attack Plan R, best summarized by Maj. Kong as "Nuclear combat! Toe to toe with the Russkies!" On the ground at Burpleson Air Force Base, Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) notices nothing on the news about America being at war. Gen. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) calmly informs him that he gave the command to attack the Soviet Union because it was high time someone did something about fluoridation, which is sapping Americans' bodily fluids (and apparently has something to do with Ripper's sexual dysfunction). Meanwhile, President Merkin Muffley (Sellers again) meets with his top Pentagon advisors, including super-hawk Gen. Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), who sees this as an opportunity to do something about Communism in general and Russians in particular. However, the ante is upped considerably when Soviet ambassador de Sadesky (Peter Bull) informs Muffley and his staff of the latest innovation in Soviet weapons technology: a "Doomsday Machine" that will destroy the entire world if the Russians are attacked. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Peter Sellers
as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake / President Merkin Muffley / D
George C. Scott
as Gen. "Buck" Turgidson
Sterling Hayden
as Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper
Keenan Wynn
as Col. "Bat" Guano
Slim Pickens
as Major T.J. "King" Kong
Peter Bull
as Ambassador de Sadesky
Tracy Reed
as Miss Scott
James Earl Jones
as Lt. Lothar Zogg
Jack Creley
as Mr. Staines
Frank Berry
as Lt. H.R. Dietrich
Glenn Beck
as Lt. W.D. Kivel
Shane Rimmer
as Capt. G.A. `Ace' Owens
Paul Tamarin
as Lt. B. Goldberg
Gordon Tanner
as Gen. Faceman
Robert Vincent O'Neil
as Adm. Randolph
Laurence Herder
as Members of the Defense Team
John McCarthy
as Members of the Defense Team
Hal Galili
as Members of the Defense Team
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News & Interviews for Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

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

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (2)

  • Age has not withered that final queasy nightmare of the mushroom clouds, set to Vera Lynn's hopeful We'll Meet Again - underscoring how the certainties of the second world war ceased to hold their meaning in the nuclear age.

    May 15, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Nothing would seen to be farther apart than nuclear war and comedy, yet Kubrick's caper eloquently tackles a Fail-Safe subject with a light touch.

    Apr 22, 2019 | Full Review…

    Dave Kaufman

    Top Critic
  • Kubrick has shown before that he is a director of rare gifts. Dr. Strangelove brings them into full realization.

    Jan 31, 2019 | Full Review…
  • By a whopping margin, this is Kubrick's most radical film and greatest dramatic gamble.

    May 13, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • To me, Dr. Strangelove is an evil thing about an evil thing; you will have to make up your own mind about it.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Like most of his work, Stanley Kubrick's deadly black satirical comedy-thriller on cold war madness and its possible effects (1964) has aged well.

    May 8, 2007 | Full Review…

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

  • May 05, 2016
    I don't really understand why this movie is called "Dr. Strangelove" as the character of Dr. Strangelove only appears in a few minutes in the actual movie. But with that cast aside I must say that this was a very entertaining movie. I can see myself in the future watching this movie a couple more times, just to get off a few hours of my time. Stanley Kubrick have always been very good at getting the audience to care about, not only the stories, but the character's as well. And while this movie doesn't have a whole lot of characters, it still has a few that we can find enjoyment in. Peter Sellars is really good in this movie as he takes on the hard job of playing three very different characters in the movie, but out of all of them, I must say that Dr. Strangelove was the weirdest of them and the proud Englisman Lionel Mandrake was the most enjoyable one of them. He is joined by a rich supporting cast who helps the movie along, but in the end, it is Sellars and Kubrick's movie. A very entertaining and great movie.
    Lasse G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2015
    Dr. Strangelove has a dated yet classic 50s/60s feel to the filmmaking and acting, and it also has timeless comedic appeal. Perhaps the degree of its humor has increased, since what was absurd then seems even more so now. The action moves along and switches between the three locations, without going on (much) too long in any scene. The length of the film is just right -- perfect for a laugh on a Saturday afternoon.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2014
    Kubrick's ingenious satire on the Cold War is daring, smart, and aged notably well.
    Bryce I Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2013
    Strangelove is a madcap ride through the irrational nature of the Cold War. Sellers is his usual marvelous self. It is stupidity revealed.
    John B Super Reviewer

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