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Doomsday Gun

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In this tense, explosive thriller, Frank Langella is Gerald Bull, a scientist and arms specialist with one obsession: building the world's most powerful weapon. He doesn't care who pays for it. He doesn't care who uses it. All he wants is to see his masterpiece created. Bull soon finds a customer for his Supergun: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But in order to avoid the arms embargo in operation against Iraq, he orders parts from factories around the world and organizes teams of engineers in secret locations. As Bull designs and builds his dream, the world watches. American CIA agents (Kevin Spacey and Tony Goldwyn) are following his every move, while the British Secret Service (James Fox and Rupert Graves) keep a close eye on events, yet no one seems prepared to stop Bull's insane plan. Now a brilliant inventor and his deadly machine are caught in a tangled web on international intrigue. Only a lonely Israeli spy (Alan Arkin) seems willing to do whatever it takes to prevent the destructive force of this devastating Supergun from being unleashed upon the world... but time is running out.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Langella, Kevin Spacey, Tony Goldwyn, James Fox, Rupert Graves
  • Directors: Robert Young
  • Writers: Walter Bernstein, Lionel Chetwynd
  • Producers: Colin Callender: Adam Clapham, Michael Deakin, Elaine Sperber
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: HBO
  • DVD Release Date: April 16, 2014
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007EM6FO2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,487 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By here_is_your_review on May 17, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is the true story of Dr. Gerald Bull played by Frank Langella in a simply excellent performance. Kevin Spacey is fantastic as a CIA agent with heart. Tony Goldwyn, son of Samuel Goldwyn (i.e. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - MGM) is perfect as the "true company man" for the White House NSC. Alan Arkin, a long-time favorite of mine, plays an Israeli colonel turned into a Mossad agent. And the characters playing the Iraqis are really, really good. Get the movie. It's pretty factual and quite amazing indeed.

Here's a few additional facts about the story to intrigue you:

Dr. Gerald Bull was the founder of Space Research Corporation. A Canadian ballistics expert, Bull modified artillery weapons, worked on the USA's HAARP gun program and upgraded SCUD missiles for various customers. He did work for every country, except Russia, which he hated (but the SCUD's he modified were Russian-made). He also did work, through the CIA, for the USA and some of its allies. His modified SCUD's rained down on Israel and Saudi Arabia, killing Israelis and American troops.

Dr. Bull had to run things through the customs services of many countries of course to move his weapons. He ran afoul of U.S. Customs and got a year in a federal penitentiary for which he did not forgive the CIA, instead expecting immunity.

Bull was contracted by Saddam Hussein, who at that time was a pro-U.S. interest (against Iran and supported by then-Vice-President Bush) to build a "Supergun" that would fire a 2,000 lb shell over 100 miles (and further). Saddam's hope was to be able to shell Israel with bio/chem weapons from an artillery gun (which is not uncommon) but from great range.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. on April 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
As an engineer's son, I have never seen a better portrayal of an engineer's enthusiasm for new problems and new challenges. In one unforgettable scene, Frank Langella brought to the screen for the first time in my opinion what can only be called, "the-joy-of-development."
Too often films that deal with invention focus on that moment when the problem comes together and is solved. What they fail to recognize is the first step, when the men and women are looking at the challenge ahead, has even more emotional potential.
Thankfully the writers and actors in this film did not forget this human truth.
The cast is excellent. The script is uneven, but the only reason this is obvious is because instead of staying mildly good throughout, like most made for cable films, this movie is mildly good with occasional scenes of brilliance; such as almost any moment what Langella or Spacey grace the screen.
If you are an engineer or just have one as a friend or member of the family, see this film. It's a wonder.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By KBM on April 2, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The cautionary message of this movie is that those flush with oil money have generally little qualms about using that wealth to develop massive war machines to be eventually used against their customers and neighbors. Gerald Bull, a brilliant ballistics engineer, had a "dream" since childhood-- to build a "super gun" based on the concepts created by Jules Verne. Verne wrote a novel in which earth-based astronauts were launched to the moon via a gigantic gun. Being the impressionable young fellow that he was, Bull wanted to do the same thing, but not necessarily for humanitarian purposes. World renowned for his artillery pieces and modifications to missiles including the Iraqi Scuds that eventually were fired at Israel during the first Gulf War, Bull was a popular fellow in the international arms world. Alienated from the United States because of an embargo-breaking conviction, Bull decided that he would build his SuperGun, the biggest gun ever created, for anybody who'd pay the highest for it. Of course, not without his qualms, he proudly proclaims to Kevin Spacey, playing a CIA agent, that he won't work with the Russians.

For some reason though, his qualms didn't include the Iraqis who, at that time, were involved in a savage war with Iran. Bull, as played brilliantly and understatedly by Frank Langella, is something of the infante terrible of artillery design. He's a visionary in his designs and scientific skills, but a naif when it comes to world politics and the true nature of the very unsavory people he is working for over in Baghdad.

Alan Arkin plays a tough Mossad agent who does Bull the courtesy of warning him-- telling him in no uncertain terms that Israel will not allow the gun to be built as it is a direct threat to Israel. Bull dismisses him and continues his work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
"Doomsday Gun" shouldve been a theatrical release because of its topics. Frank Langella plays the part of scientist/arms specialist Dr. Gerald Bull, who spent most of his career building massive guns of ultimate destruction. After spending a year in prison for breaking international embargo laws by shipping his weapons to Africa, he makes building the largest and most powerful gun in the world his passion...and obsession. Befriended American CIA Agent Jim Price (Kevin Spacey), desperately tries to convince Bull while in prison that he must stop his weapon production for his own safety. Bull thinks however that everyone, even Price is out to shut down his dream. He makes a deal with Iraq at the height of the Gulf War, to build the ultimate super-gun that can be theirs for money. Money never appears to be the issue though, for Dr. Bull is willing to risk everything to see his gun and his name go down in history...regardless of the prices he might have to pay. The movie is brilliantly done with a cast of true and convincing characters, who expose the details of one of the biggest government cover-ups in many years. Many movies based upon true events we could surely have done without, but this film is one that I believe had to be done...leaving the question in everyone's mind: "Would we have known all about this by just relating stories of news reports?"...
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