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Fail-Safe (1964) - movie overview

Fail-Safe (1964)

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Plot Description

DVD Release Date
 R1: Oct 31, 2000

Running Time
1 hour, 52 minutes

Country USA

Studio Columbia Pictures

More info on

Other Titles
• Fail-Safe
• Angriffsziel Moskau (1965)
• Fail Safe - Feuer wird vom Himmel fallen (1965)

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Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Political, Suspense, Disturbing, Spy, Disaster, Cult Classic

Tagline: It will have you sitting on the brink of eternity!

Plot: Following closely on the heels of Stanley Kubrik's DR. STRANGELOVE (all too closely for Kubrick and company, who quickly filed a lawsuit alleging plagiarism), Sidney Lumet's FAIL-SAFE employs a similarly stylized and heightened dramatic structure in its nerve-crushing moral tale. Taking place over the course of a single day, the film follows government and army officials in Nebraska, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as they go about their day supervising, examining, and speculating on the fragile state of affairs engendered by the tense nuclear standoff between the U.S. and Russia. When an off-course commercial airplane triggers the Pentagon's complex "fail-safe" maneuver, leaving an arsenal of nuclear-bomb-carrying jet fighters at the ready, a mechanical error puts the entire world in danger of destruction. Riveting performances from a rich cast are pushed even further by Lumet's stark and ominous direction. Walter Matthau gives an uncharacteristic turn as a cold and contemptuous political scientist unswerving in his convictions that the U.S. must stand strong against the communist menace. Henry Fonda plays the American president who must navigate the complex and urgent political trauma and prevent total destruction, even at an unthinkable price.

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 Directed by
Sidney Lumet
12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico
 Written by
Eugene Burdick
Fail Safe, The Ugly American
Harvey Wheeler
Fail Safe
Walter Matthau
Charade, Grumpy Old Men, I.Q.
Henry Fonda
12 Angry Men, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Longest Day
Larry Hagman
Primary Colors, Nixon, The Eagle Has Landed
Dan O'Herlihy
RoboCop, Robocop 2, The Last Starfighter
Frank Overton
To Kill a Mockingbird, Wild River, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
Ed Binns
North by Northwest, 12 Angry Men, The Verdict
Fritz Weaver
The Thomas Crown Affair, Marathon Man, Creepshow
 Music By

 Recommended Movies
Movie Title Agree Disagree
Thirteen Days (2000)
Missiles of October, The (1974)
Bedford Incident, The (1965)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Sum of All Fears, The (2002)
Hunt for Red October, The (1990)
Deterrence (1999)
Fail Safe (2000)

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