Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)



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

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

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, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Stanley Kubrick, Peter George, Terry Southern
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 2, 2004
Sony Pictures


Peter Sellers
as Group Captain Lionel...
George C. Scott
as Gen. "Buck" Turgidso...
Sterling Hayden
as Brigadier General Ja...
Keenan Wynn
as Col. "Bat" Guano
Slim Pickens
as Major T.J. "King" Ko...
Peter Bull
as Ambassador de Sadesk...
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' Owe...
Paul Tamarin
as Lt. B. Goldberg
Gordon Tanner
as Gen. Faceman
Laurence Herder
as Members of the Defen...
John McCarthy
as Members of the Defen...
Hal Galili
as Members of the Defen...
Show More Cast

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 (70) | Top Critics (10)

By a whopping margin, this is Kubrick's most radical film and greatest dramatic gamble.

Full Review… | May 13, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | May 8, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Perhaps Kubrick's most perfectly realised film, simply because his cynical vision of the progress of technology and human stupidity is wedded with comedy.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A slick satire of the cold war, and one that succeeds in brilliantly lampooning the hands that guide the world.

Full Review… | January 16, 2016
Cinema Crazed

...a decidedly underwhelming entry within Kubrick's increasingly spotty body of work...

Full Review… | December 9, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

Of the many films considered great satire, only Dr. Strangelove holds up as a masterpiece with none of its bite removed.

Full Review… | August 7, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

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

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.

Adam Kelly
Adam Kelly

Super Reviewer

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!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


Dr. Strangelove is a brilliant satire that pokes fun at the bomb scare and is still amusing by today's standards.

Daniel Lermenator
Daniel Lermenator

Super Reviewer

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

Gen. "Buck" Turgidson: Your average Ruskie doesn't take a dump without a plan.
– Submitted by Bruce R (11 months ago)
President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen! you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
– Submitted by Dutch E (3 years ago)
Dr. Strangelove: Mein Fuhrer, I can walk.
– Submitted by M'hamed D (3 years ago)
President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson. it is the avowed policy of our nation never to strike first with nuclear weapons!
Gen. Buck Turgidson: Well sir, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated THAT policy!
– Submitted by John B (3 years ago)

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