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

  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1964

Common Sense Media says

Black comedy Kubrick classic for smart teens+.
  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1964

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

It is a comedy about nuclear war -- in addition to the mushroom clouds and reports of planes being shot down, there's an off-camera suicide.

Sex

Many references, mostly euphemistic, beginning with a suggestive opening shot of one plane refueling another. The imagery (and to a lesser extent, the dialogue) create a link between men's sexual impulse and their interest in war. Buck and his secretary (who's wearing a bikini) are clearly having an affair, and the men are delighted with the idea that in a post-nuclear world they may be obligated to impregnate many women.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Soviet leader reported to be drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens who view this movie may need some background to understand the sense of helpless peril of the Cold War years. More important, they may need some preparation to understand the nature of black comedy, and some may find it very disturbing, particularly the unconventional ending.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Rogue American General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes mad and sends planes to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union -- he cuts off all communication to the base, and only he knows the three-letter code to cancel the attack. Officials scramble to deal with the situation, but the mild-mannered U.S. president (Peter Sellers) and highly civilized British officer Captain Mandrake (Sellers again) are no match for bloodthirsty General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) and the demented Dr. Strangelove (Sellers again), a former Nazi expert on nuclear weapons. Can the attack be stopped in time?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Featuring a landmark performance by Sellers, DR. STRANGELOVE is the blackest of black comedies -- a Duck Soup for the Cold War era. Lauded repeatedly as one of the best movies ever made, its sophisticated mix of satire and politics makes it a better fit for teens who can put some of the humor into context. It's a great film to watch as a family, as it's sure to prompt plenty of discussion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of war and peace (begin with Ripper's quote from Clemeanceu about war's being too important to be left to the generals) and about the best ways of ensuring an enduring peace. What do you think of making fun of issues like madness and nuclear war? If the movie were to be made today, what details would be changed? Who do you think the nuclear threat would come from?

     

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 29, 1964
DVD release date:November 2, 2004
Cast:George C. Scott, Peter Sellers, Sterling Hayden
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Comedy
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old Written byAndrew2011 September 24, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Average Kubrick Flick

Arguably the best black comedy ever made, another Stanley Kubrick classic still holds its place in the greatest and most influential films of all time for its original humor, relevant messages, and much more. There are some inappropriate parts, but only subliminally, not directly. The opening shot, the secretary in the bikini, the "playboy" magazine, even the DVD cover, etc. But kids won't notice or understand scenes like this. As with most Kubrick films, it depends on the person watching.

Adult Written byJanus Bifrons April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

One of the greatest black comedies of all time

Teen, 14 years old Written byMovieFan April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Is this supposed to be funny?!

Cause it's not. "Dr Strangelove is regarded as a black comedy classic (I love black comedy, don't get me wrong), but it does one thing wrong. It doesn't make you laugh. Oh, there are a couple of good moments, "gentleman, you can't fight in here, this is the war room" is a classic line. Peter Sellers playing three different characters holds no value to me. Kubrick's "Spartacus" is much better. (If you like this one, see other overrated movies like "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Maltese Falcon".

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