#25 Dr. Strangelove

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

Dir: Stanley Kubrick

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the war room”

That essentially sums up the crazy contradiction that is evident throughout this film, of peace by warfare. Essentially a mad U.S. army general takes it upon himself to exploit a military strategy that allows him to launch a full nuclear attack against Russia. This then sets into motion the panic that the president and the joint chiefs have to try to stop the attack and calm the Russian president before it sets of an ‘Doomsday’ device that would wipe out humanity.

The situation, and most of the people in this film are what you could describe as mad, and according to wikipedia:

Mutual assured destruction, or mutually assured destruction (MAD), is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of both the attacker and the defender, becoming thus a war that has no victory nor any armistice but only effective reciprocal destruction. It is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment, and implicit menace of use, of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the same weapons by the enemy against oneself. The strategy is effectively a form of Nash equilibrium in which neither side, once armed, has any rational incentive either to initiate a conflict or to disarm (presuming neither side considers self-destruction an acceptable outcome).

Although viewed as a comedy, the humour is not from jokes or quips, rather the absurdity of the situations and characters. Much of the actual fighting shown is the U.S. army against itself, with huge billboards behind them that read ‘Peace is our Profession’. Much of the funniest bits come from Peter Sellers (in 3 separate roles) as the President of the United States on the phone to the Russian Premier making what he describes as a “friendly call” to let him know that they are about to H-Bomb Russia!

You get the point? The trailer is pretty crazy too…


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