Fail Safe 1964 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(195) IMDb 8/10
Available in HD

A U.S. plane loaded with hydrogen bombs is flying towards Moscow and because of technical difficulties, is impossible to recall. Starring Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau. Directed by Sidney Lumet.

Starring:
Henry Fonda, Charles Tyner
Runtime:
1 hour 53 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Fail Safe

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Adventure
Director Sidney Lumet
Starring Henry Fonda, Charles Tyner
Supporting actors Frank Overton, Edward Binns, Fritz Weaver, Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, William Hansen, Russell Hardie, Russell Collins, Sorrell Booke, Nancy Berg, John Connell, Frank Simpson, Hildy Parks, Janet Ward, Dom DeLuise, Dana Elcar, Stewart Germain, Louise Larabee
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Henry Fonda's performance is incredible.
Rob Keil
The fighters are unsuccessful and the President begins working with the Soviet Premier to prevent the bombers from reaching their target.
D. Blackdeer
"Fail Safe" was filmed in 1964 at the height of the Cold War nuclear anxiety.
R. Kyle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By D. Blackdeer on February 9, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Preceded and overshadowed by the film "Dr. Strangelove," "Failsafe" provides a serious version of a nuclear weapons crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union. The plot in "Failsafe" is remarkably similar to its satrical cold-war counterpart with the National Command Authority having to prevent full scale nuclear war after one its bomber squadrons accidentally receives the "Go" code to strike Moscow. A computer communication malfunction at the US Air Force's Strategic Air Command is the culprit, and within minutes, the President dispatches fighters to shoot down the bombers after his service chiefs recommend the course of action. The fighters are unsuccessful and the President begins working with the Soviet Premier to prevent the bombers from reaching their target. Under the President's orders, SAC is on line with the Soviet High Command to help intercept the bombers. After one of his Air Force generals predicts the likelihood of a bomber getting through, the President seeks a solution to prevent nuclear retaliation, which provides a shocking ending to the story. Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" pulls no punches in its humor and portrayal of high-ranking government officials, its comedic treatment leaves viewers with the feeling that such a scenario would never come to life. "Failsafe" on the other hand projects a chilling atmosphere as the leaders and staffs of two major powers come to grips with the crisis, and overcome their cold-war rivalries to solve the problem.

The story is portrayed in four places; the President's bunker, the Pentagon's operations center, the SAC headquarters, and the cockpit of the flight commander leading his bombers into Russia.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Eric V. Moye on November 19, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Most books, even the great ones, unfortunately do not translate well onto the big screen. Fail Safe is a happy exception to the rule.
The story is now two generations old. Mechanical error sends six bombers towards the Soviet Union (remember them? they used to be our one mortal national enemy). The President and the government try all they can to recall them, to no avail.
Emotions understandibly run high. Men get stretched to the breaking point, and some snap. The President makes a terrible sacrifice, to convince the Russians that it WAS an accident. The price of this ticket it incredibly high.
Forget about the comparisons with Dr. Strangelove (which is a great movie in its own right). They belong together only by their contrasting styles.
This movie is chilling in Black & White. You will never think of J.R. Ewing again the same way, after seeing Larry Hagman in the role as the President's translator.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A. G. HORNE on July 6, 2006
Format: DVD
I've seen this film several times, and it NEVER ceases to scare me... it concentrates on the true power technology holds in the world, and the devastating results that can occur when technological problems arise. An error in our defense system sends an erroneous message to fighter pilots patrolling our airspace, who obey it and head off to bomb Moscow! The situation is handled, if not resolved, with a truly horrifying result.

No shortage of GREAT acting here... Henry Fonda as The President... Larry Hagman as the translator who helps during phone conversations between The President and his Russian counterpart. And Walter Matthau as a Civilian Advisor. As always Matthau is brilliant, as are all the actors. Dom DeLuise appears as one of the techs at the US Air Defense HQ; this is the only "serious" role I've seen DeLuise play.

This film goes further than the mere "technology runs wild" theme; it brings up the frightening questions, "What's REALLY going on up there (or ANYwhere)?" and "What can REALLY happen??"

I recommend this film one-hundred-per-cent.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
Columbia Pictures released "Fail Safe" around the same time it released "Dr. Strangelove." Unfortunately, "Fail Safe" has lingered in "Strangelove's" shadow. The Peter Sellers' classic has already been inducted into the National Film Registry and was recently named one of the AFI's top 100 films of the century.
"Fail Safe" also deserves such recognition, due to its fine acting and deep subject matter. Like "Strangelove", this movie deals with accidental nuclear war. And that's where the similarities end, because "Fail Safe" is a gut-wrenching drama. Faced with nuclear annihilation once an American bomber strikes Moscow, Henry Fonda, as the President, makes the most difficult decision of his personal and professional life. Look for Larry Hagman, Dom DeLuise, Walter Matthau, and Sorrell Booke in various supporting roles. END
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
"Fail Safe," the story of how mechanical failures lead the world to the brink of nuclear war, has to be one of the scariest movies ever made. It's scary because something like that could really happen. The film asks: Is our own cleverness, and urge to be the most powerful in the world, leading to the downfall of our planet? Of coarse, the film doesn't quite answer. We have to decide. We're helped in our decision by a seasoned group of great actors, who play different kinds of military officials and government advisors. Most notable are Walter Matthau as a bloodthirsty Pentagon advisor, and Henry Fonda as a very human president dealing with the fate of humanity on his shoulders. Sidney Lumet gives us a trgic and moving story, and must be commended for not going out of his way for a happy ending.
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