Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
What parents need to know
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.
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?
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?