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
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Black comedy Kubrick classic for smart teens+.
  • Review Date: January 11, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 95 minutes





What parents need to know


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.


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.

Not applicable
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?


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
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

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  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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

One of the greatest black comedies of all time

Teen, 13 years old Written byFilmFanJ June 9, 2012

Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb Review

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byMovieFan April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

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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