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Fail-Safe (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 15 January 1965 (Finland)
American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

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(screenplay), (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Col. Grady (as Ed Binns)
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Col. Cascio
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William Hansen ...
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Gen. Stark (as Russell Hardy)
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Nancy Berg ...
Ilsa Wolfe
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Thomas
Frank Simpson ...
Sullivan
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Betty Black
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Storyline

A series of human and computer errors sends a squadron of American 'Vindicator' bombers to nuke Moscow. The President, in order to convince the Soviets that this is a mistake, orders the Strategic Air Command to help the Soviets stop them. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will have you sitting on the brink of eternity! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

15 January 1965 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Fail Safe  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Columbia Pictures produced both this movie and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Director Stanley Kubrick insisted his movie be released first, and it was, in January 1964. When Fail-Safe (1964) was released, it garnered excellent reviews but audiences found it unintentionally funny because of "Strangelove", and stayed away. Henry Fonda later said he would never have made this movie if he had seen "Strangelove" first, because he would have laughed, too. See more »

Goofs

The bombers in the film are portrayed using a Convair B-58 Hustler (see trivia entry), except during the final attack on Moscow, when the plane briefly appears as a North American F-86 Sabre Jet instead. Also some on-board footage of an X-15 experimental plane launch is used to depict the contrail of the missiles fired at the last attempt to stop the bomber (also, previous external shots of the bombers did not show much of a contrail, whereas the rocket engine exhaust of the X-15 is clearly visible). See more »

Quotes

Gen. Bogan: Sergeant Collins! On the double!
[Collins races to General Bogan at the main communication board of SAC headquarters]
Gen. Bogan: You're backup man on fire control, aren't you?
TSgt. Collins: Yes sir.
Gen. Bogan: Do our Vindicator missiles have both infrared and radar-seeking capacity?
TSgt. Collins: [tentatively] Yes sir.
Gen. Bogan: [grabbing Collins forcefully toward the radio mike] Loud and clear! They've got to know we're on the level!
TSgt. Collins: [fearfully] It has both capacities, sir!
Marshall Nevsky: [Over the radio] Can the radar-seeking mechanism be overloaded by increasing the ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The sounds of a bullfight crowd is heard in reference to Black's matador dream. Then, the squeal of the Russian ambassador's melted phone which the President stated would be heard when New York City was bombed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in WarGames (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Film!
23 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

I have watched "Fail-Safe" more than once and consider it to be a classic film which shows the anxiety and fear which we faced with the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The cast is top notch, Dan O'Herlihy, Henr Fonda, Frank Overton, Walter Matthau, and all the other fine performers. In comparison to "Dr. Strangelove, which I have also seen repeatedly, I must say that the main reason for my enjoyment of that dark comedy is the performance of Peter Sellers, as the Nazi scientist who is still devoted to the fuhrer; while in "Fail-Safe" I am involved throughout the film. It resembles a documentary and, interestingly, in some ways reflects Stanley Kubrick's tone in the "Paths of Glory", which I consider to be his greatest film.

Sidney Lumet direction is superb, maybe even excelling his direction in "Twelve Angry Men". I consider "Fail-Safe" as a thoughtful anti-war film in the company of "All Quiet on the Western Front and "The Paths of Glory". I recommend this fine film .


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