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

Arguably the greatest black comedy ever made, Stanley Kubrick's cold-war classic is the ultimate satire of the nuclear age. Dr. Strangelove is a perfect spoof of political and military insanity, beginning when General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), a maniacal warrior obsessed with "the purity of precious bodily fluids," mounts his singular campaign against Communism by ordering a squadron of B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union. The Soviets counter the threat with a so- called "Doomsday Device," and the world hangs in the balance while the U.S. president (Peter Sellers) engages in hilarious hot-line negotiations with his Soviet counterpart. Sellers also plays a British military attaché and the mad bomb-maker Dr. Strangelove; George C. Scott is outrageously frantic as General Buck Turgidson, whose presidential advice consists mainly of panic and statistics about "acceptable losses." With dialogue ("You can't fight here! This is the war room!") and images (Slim Pickens's character riding the bomb to oblivion) that have become a part of our cultural vocabulary, Kubrick's film regularly appears on critics' lists of the all-time best. --Jeff Shannon

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General "Buck" Turgidson:
General Ripper called Strategic Air Command headquarters shortly after he issued the go code. I have a phone transcript of that conversation if you'd like me to to read it.

President Merkin Muffley:
Read it!

General "Buck" Turgidson:
Ahem... The Duty Officer asked General Ripper to confirm the fact that he *had* issued the go code, and he said, uh, "Yes gentlemen, they are on their way in, and nobody can bring them back. For the sake of our country, and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. Uh, my boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now, uhuh. Uh, so let's get going, there's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids. God bless you all" and he hung up.

General "Buck" Turgidson:
Uh, we're, still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.

President Merkin Muffley:
There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.

General "Buck" Turgidson:
We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.

President Merkin Muffley:
General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring!

General "Buck" Turgidson:
Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.

General Jack D. Ripper:
Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
Lord, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper:
You know when fluoridation first began?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
I... no, no. I don't, Jack.

General Jack D. Ripper:
Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?

General Jack D. Ripper:
Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper:
Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
Hmm.

General Jack D. Ripper:
I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake:
No.

General Jack D. Ripper:
But I... I do deny them my essence.

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