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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 7.1%
Average: 4.92%
Pretty Bad: 1.64%
Total Crap: 2.73%

5 reviews, 153 user ratings

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
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by Rob Gonsalves

"You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company."
5 stars

What does "Dr. Strangelove" say to us today? We’re more worried about terrorism than about the bomb — that is, about stateless radicals wanting to kill us, instead of an entire country ranged against us. Has the film kept its power to shock?

I suppose its cool, detached amusement in the face of armageddon remains shocking in the sense of a revivifying splash of cold water. Fifty-two years on, the movie is still more hip than most of what American filmmakers — Hollywood or indie — can muster. Like Tom Lehrer, Stanley Kubrick chortled darkly at the idea of us killing ourselves off en masse. Mankind’s developing the brains to devise a weapon that could render ourselves extinct is perhaps the great cosmic irony, and Dr. Strangelove dances gaily (yet coolly) inside that irony.

The world dies screaming because of one sexually hung-up man — General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), who sends word to a B-52 to commence Wing Attack Plan R, essentially a nuclear assault on the Soviet Union. Why? The commies, of course, have released fluoride into the water to corrupt our precious bodily fluids. As Ripper explains to his captive, Group Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers), he will have sex with women, but he denies them his “essence.” This from a movie that kicks off with a pornographic sequence of a bomber refueling in flight (images that may have haunted J.G. Ballard). Sexuality is a joke, swiftly diverted into military violence by way of repression. Bombers and bombs are the only things that really get off in this brave new future.

Kubrick’s attack isn’t on anything as simple as the military but on masculinity (only one woman is seen onscreen) and, incidentally, on the hubris of humanity itself, its evolved but still bestial brain. Man’s inability to deal with its own existential terror, which clouds its judgment and prevents its further evolution, was Kubrick’s main theme. Every idiot man in Dr. Strangelove exists to illustrate it — the ineffectual American president Merkin Muffley (Sellers again), the rip-roaring General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott), the hee-hawing bomber commander Major Kong (Slim Pickens), the leering Dr. Strangelove (Sellers yet again). Women don’t figure into the movie’s vision except as thwarted sexual opportunities; they’re almost invisible but at least, in 1964 anyway, they don’t send people to war.

Dr. Strangelove himself (né Merkwürdigliebe) is perhaps the crowning creation of both Sellers and Kubrick, a toxic-hipster ex-Nazi patterned partly on Wernher von Braun (“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department,” as Lehrer characterized von Braun’s stance) and partly on Rotwang from Metropolis. Strangelove’s accent navigates dangerously through bared teeth, wafting out in a strangled hum of platitudes about the survivability and even preferability of a nuclear war. Putting all his creative, chameleonic eggs in this basket, Sellers is riveting, and Kubrick lets him run with his instincts. (Some Kubrick detractors have suggested that once he lost Sellers he lost Sellers’ questing, improvisational quality of play.)

At a sleek, quicksilver ninety minutes, Dr. Strangelove proceeds in snappy, surgical edits; the only dissolve I can recall accompanies the movie’s most slapstick moment, involving a Coke-bottle machine. (Kubrick was right to axe the legendary pie-fight scene; it would’ve been just too vaudeville for the eventual cool tone of the film.) Slight dutch angles abound, jazzing up a movie that is roughly 85% dialogue, but also giving us the simultaneously hilarious and intimidating image of General Ripper, phallic cigar jutting out, seemingly photographed from the general region of … his crotch.

The audience is thus put in a submissive, fellatial position before the man who essentially makes himself God, who waves his hand (or a code) and kills us all off to the musical stylings of Vera Lynn. Kubrick knew what he was doing.

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originally posted: 09/29/16 09:14:14
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User Comments

3/23/20 dupadoit ride 'em cowboy 5 stars
2/27/20 dc wonderful if you want to be depressed 1 stars
5/11/19 President Merkin Muffley Group Captain Mandrake is right. Roscoe is a real dumbass 5 stars
3/21/16 Frenzy Brilliant 5 stars
4/21/15 stanley welles a masterpiece of satire, paranoia and straight-comedy 5 stars
4/21/13 Marty For it's time, a gem. Kubrick's choices still impress even today. Fun cast too. 5 stars
4/15/13 Group Captain Mandrake Roscoe is either a philistine or a twelve year old. This movie is perfect. 5 stars
9/18/12 roscoe there is not anything fucking funny about this. it is loaded with boring conversations 1 stars
6/08/10 User Name If you don't like, you're a commie! 5 stars
12/27/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Hysterically funny and a bit scary 5 stars
8/20/09 Jeff Wilder Greatest satire ever as well as one of the greatest dark comedies ever. 5 stars
7/05/08 Reza Tayebi Perfect. 5 stars
1/28/08 proper amateur film critic Brilliantly crafted satire 5 stars
7/11/07 R.W. Welch Inspired satire. 5 stars
5/19/07 fools♫gold Not "cold" at all! Though I'll say films like Eyes Wide Shut are just as good (if not bttr) 5 stars
3/09/07 Sugarfoot George C. Scott's best performance? It's a toss up between this and Patton. Awesome movie 5 stars
2/10/07 action movie fan okay but fail sfae was much better 3 stars
11/28/06 Quigley It had some funny scenes and Peter Sellers was superb, but face it: this is way overrated 3 stars
6/28/06 MP Bartley The phone call to the Russian premier is perhaps the funniest scene ever written. 5 stars
2/20/06 norman rosenberg brilliant performances all around,funny, sharp,intelligent 5 stars
1/30/06 ANNA could be compared to kurt vonnegut's cat's cradle 3 stars
11/20/05 John Dog Stanley Kubrick is a genius. 5 stars
10/12/05 Lloyd Brilliant, dark humour stands the test of time. Sellers is brilliant. 5 stars
8/23/05 Isaac Baranoff If you don't like this movie, there's something wrong with you. 5 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Hilarious! 5 stars
5/24/05 Laura This is a gorgeous satire, very disturbing considering the US in it's current state today 5 stars
4/26/05 Indrid Cold Maybe it was incredibly subservise and witty back then, but it's very very dated. 3 stars
4/13/05 Brig. Gen. Ripper The Red(stater)s have sapped the precious seditious humor from some HBS users! 5 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold People shouldn't call things masterpieces because they usually don't live up to their re. 4 stars
1/28/05 Linda Pellegrino It's "humor" is dry and bizzare. It shows the madness of war. 2 stars
1/22/05 Mr. Durden An absolutely brilliant movie, Kubrick is the best dicrector of all time. 5 stars
12/09/04 Christopher J. Smith By far, one of the funniest movies ever made. 5 stars
11/27/04 asina One of the best movies ever made. 5 stars
10/29/04 armo the bible before catch-22 5 stars
9/04/04 Ron Newbold What a showcase for Peter Sellers. And the soundtrak works perfectly! 5 stars
8/27/04 ranger4e Peter Sellers is amazing. 5 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Overacted and dated (meaning the style, not so much the content), but not bad 3 stars
7/10/04 Gray there's no fighting in the war room!! 3 stars
7/07/04 Lord Durvok 2 "We cannot let them zap and impurify our precious bodily fluids!" 5 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj One of the best war movies of all time 5 stars
5/20/04 Proteus Greatest film ever - and none more black comedy. this for fun reading. 5 stars
1/15/04 Joe You people obviously have no clue about movies! This is one of the best films ever made! 5 stars
12/11/03 Nevz "That's private property!" 5 stars
12/07/03 john one of the most brilliant comedies ever made - Sellers is terrific - 5 stars
9/18/03 John_Oconnor ?????????? 1 stars
9/09/03 Goofy Maxwell Bumbling bat turds! Democracy duped by Nazi war machine! ICBM bronco busters! Wooo Hooooo! 5 stars
8/10/03 Exar_Kun What a disturbing movie 1 stars
8/09/03 Hammer What the heck? 1 stars
8/08/03 3man Definite must see movie 5 stars
8/03/03 Putski Nothing to brag about 3 stars
6/30/03 Ken With the wingnuts in charge now this film is even more revelant now! 5 stars
6/19/03 John Aster Habig A truly daring political satire burns them sacred cows with gasoline 5 stars
5/24/03 Ryan F. Wow!! Kubrick made a good movie!! even more surprising, it turned out to be one of my faves 5 stars
5/20/03 cardani Marvelous! 5 stars
5/11/03 Blutarski "You cant fight in here, this is the warroom" 5 stars
3/31/03 Frederick It's good, but it's no 4 stars
3/11/03 Estevan Lapena TheBomb69 cant tell shit from gold, definatly worth a look. 4 stars
2/27/03 Vangela Peter Seller's american accent is the funniest thing ever! 5 stars
2/05/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer A very funny, very smart movie. You have to have a brain in your head to not be bored... 4 stars
1/28/03 TheBomb69 boring and unfunny 2 stars
1/20/03 Andrew Callaway Ingenius. Stanley Kubrick's Best Film. 5 stars
12/30/02 John Aster Habig funny, dark, intelligent, daring, a movie with a moral; war is good only for satire 5 stars
12/26/02 Nicole Hilarious! (if you're into subtle dark comedy) 5 stars
12/23/02 Nevz Shut it Carden! this is a good movie. 5 stars
12/02/02 Mike One of my favorite movies of all time! 5 stars
11/22/02 Zach this is great 5 stars
11/22/02 DGo Good 5 stars
11/20/02 Hamza Mushtaq Good Movie 4 stars
10/31/02 Bobadier Me Ride the bomb baby! Is it bad If I jerk to the ending explosions? 5 stars
10/20/02 John McKain Great 5 stars
9/22/02 Morally Sound The funniest movie I've seen! Kubrick and Sellars at their very best! 5 stars
8/23/02 Bluto Georce C Scott and Sterling Hayden (General "Jack" Ripper), all the names are great, A+++ 5 stars
8/02/02 Dave Nelson Kubrick has the honor of having come up with the best ending in movie history. Bravo, sir! 5 stars
7/10/02 jdajd Sellers actually plays three roles, and all are funny 5 stars
6/18/02 Bart Fantastic comedy if you have a brain. 5 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum A mine shaft gap! 5 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 "Yes, major. My wife is depleting me of my vital juices." Some funny shit. 5 stars
4/24/02 Jimmy James have you ever seen a commie drink water? 5 stars
4/03/02 girl one of my favorite movies, peter sellers is awesome 5 stars
1/11/02 Travis R. Sorensen best comedy i've seen. nothing unfunny. if not for 2001, would be kubrick's best 5 stars
1/05/02 Magnum Craphole One of Kubrick's masterpieces. Best black comedy ever? Probably. 5 stars
12/31/01 Keith Very funny. I must see it again. 5 stars
12/30/01 kingshuk niyogy the reds might be gone but we shall always live under the shadow of the bomb 5 stars
12/02/01 Flip Kromer Classic performances -- Sellers' Col Bat Guano and Scott's self parody of his Patton are A1 5 stars
12/01/01 Cracked head The BEST comedy of all time. If you disagree, you're a fucking idiot. 5 stars
11/30/01 Jeff Wilson A black comedy about the end of the world? And a fucking awesome ne at that. 5 stars
11/30/01 vajfshj best movie ever made in my opinion. 5 stars
11/22/01 Ryan Sinn Very Serious Theme/Plot... The movie is so rediculous... you know it might actually happen 5 stars
10/29/01 The Bomb 69 I just don't get it, funny parts but slow overall, maybe it was hilarious in 64 but now... 3 stars
10/22/01 Cookie Cutter Arguably the best black comedy ever. 5 stars
9/09/01 Stranded on the Island Peter Sellers is classic; the plane actors thought they were in a drama! 5 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Hayden: "while we're chatting here so enjoyably, Mandrake..." 5 stars
8/13/01 Ann I'm studying this film at school and i thought it was ok. i like the music in the film. 3 stars
8/10/01 Monster W. Kung Listen if it wasn't a friendly call... you probably wouldn't have even got it. 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk The funniest movie about WAR you'll ever see. One of Kubrick's best. 5 stars
8/01/01 Keyser Soze Awesome, awesome, awesome 5 stars
7/31/01 DMF This *is* Kubrick's best. (I've seen all the others too.) 5 stars
7/27/01 Erik North THE ultimate precious bodily fluids film--a satirical masterwork! 5 stars
7/22/01 ^Elendil^ Incredibly funny. 5 stars
7/22/01 heath sucks I can't believe heath was made 5 stars
7/16/01 Mic Near-flawlessness makes this Kubrick's best out of many contenders. 5 stars
7/07/01 Theese ees boulsheet! it's no Barry Lyndon 5 stars
7/03/01 taj As good as you've heard. This is just brilliant comedy and nothing more. 5 stars
7/03/01 King of Bros Kubrick's Best. 5 stars
6/29/01 master.node One of THE great post-war movies. ~*Spiecial Sauce*~ sucks all ass. (Can't spell either.) 5 stars
6/23/01 erik the movieman Kubrick's BEST film for my money! "Gentleman, you can't fight in here this is the war room" 5 stars
6/23/01 O'Banion A great film 5 stars
6/14/01 Hawkeye Watch it, or you'll have to answer to the Coca Cola Company! 5 stars
6/14/01 Bada Bing Crosby You can't fight here! This is the war room! 5 stars
6/03/01 Erik North Still a satire with an extreme sting. EVERY politician better see this! 5 stars
5/14/01 John D. Rockefeller best b & w movie ever 5 stars
5/14/01 Aaron Hanson great satire; anyone who denouces this film doesn't know or understand Cold War history. 5 stars
5/13/01 Biz Limpkit bodily fluids 5 stars
5/10/01 ty it's great 5 stars
12/20/00 Shogun A dark comedy reflecting the absurdity of man's fascination with war. 5 stars
12/19/00 master.node Kubrick's best. Meaining it's one of the all-time greats. Watch it again! 5 stars
12/19/00 Mic What can I say that hasn't already been said? AWESOME (nobody has said that) 5 stars
11/26/00 Cristopher Revilla One of the greatest flicks ever made, totally funny, and serious too!!!!!! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin Kubrick is the man! 5 stars
11/06/00 Maggie A Great Film!! 5 stars
10/25/00 Ionicera definitely amazing, although it coulda been a bit more developed, especially near the end 4 stars
10/10/00 Mein Fuhrer The sexual symbolism is fascinating. Kubrick exposes man's strange love of war 5 stars
10/10/00 Monday Morning Brilliant. 5 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 some of the most rememerable moment in film history 5 stars
9/20/00 Jeff excellent satire - a little too jokey 4 stars
9/02/00 Bruce Easily Kubrick's best, I love it 5 stars
8/04/00 Jake GREAT. KUBRICK ALWAYS ROCKS! 5 stars
7/20/00 Goldfinger The only reason I won't dance on Stanley Kubrick's grave. 5 stars
7/06/00 Ricky Urena This movie be bitchin' man. 5 stars
6/27/00 Bimmler "six females for each male... Mein fueher!" 5 stars
6/03/00 PJ The bomb scene, George C. Scott's performance, incredible, Kubrick is a genius, MASTERPIECE 5 stars
6/02/00 RoD Watch it once - watch it a dozen times. The darkest funniest film ever. 5 stars
6/01/00 Jimmy One of the all time classic films 5 stars
5/27/00 master.node This movie will never leave you. 5 stars
5/15/00 Anonymous Coward A classic. Everyone should see it at least once...or more :) 5 stars
4/04/00 movieman without a doubt Kubrick's finest film 5 stars
4/02/00 perverted pixie Kubricks finest! The final sequence chilled me to my soul 5 stars
3/17/00 Dr Fardook This film drove me to shoot the local ROTC recruiter 5 stars
2/03/00 Ed Wood GREAT!! GREAT!! GREAT!! 5 stars
1/12/00 moviefreak one of the very best films i have seen, Peter Sellers is brilliant 5 stars
12/08/99 JAFO Jr. one of my favorite films of all time 5 stars
11/19/99 Tyson Stewart Sellers is BRILLIANT, he so so very funny! Kubrick made another timeless masterpiece! 5 stars
10/17/99 Brian Brilliant.Writing, directing, acting, score, all working at together at their most seamless 5 stars
7/27/99 El Super Tevye Please do yourself a favor and rent this. I LOVE YOU, SLIM PICKENS!!!!! 5 stars
6/24/99 David Keech Kubrick did better work in 2001 and Clcockwork Orange. Satire is difficult to follow. 2 stars
6/17/99 Khalad So why did Sellers lose the Oscar? 5 stars
6/09/99 PurityJustBegs Kubrick, Sellars, Scott..enough said! the most brilliant satire ever made.. 5 stars
6/07/99 Kristen Hamm The best Kubrick film, I think...Peter Sellers and George C. Scott!!! Yeah! 5 stars
5/02/99 PJ Sly sexual innuendo, impotent gov't officials, and nuclear war! An irreverent masterpiece. 5 stars
3/31/99 jvt One of the best comedies ever commited to film 5 stars
3/05/99 ^Cesaro Sellers it good, but it's a creation of Kubrick. No one does it like Kubrick. Rock on! 5 stars
3/03/99 little jerry Forget all the hype about Sellers.He's brilliant but it's General Buck Turgidson who rules. 5 stars
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  DVD: 02-Nov-2004



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