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Fail-Safe (Special Edition) (1964)

Henry Fonda , Walter Matthau , Sidney Lumet  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.99
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Fail-Safe (Special Edition) + Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver, Dan O'Herlihy, Frank Overton
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Eugene Burdick, Harvey Wheeler, Peter George, Walter Bernstein
  • Producers: Charles H. Maguire, Max E. Youngstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Thai
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004XPPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,354 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fail-Safe (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Exclusive Featurette: "'Fail Safe' Revisited"
  • Talent Files (Sidney Lumet, Walter Matthau, Henry Fonda and Larry Hagman)

Editorial Reviews

One of the greatest anti-war thrillers ever, FAIL-SAFE stars Henry Fonda, Walter Mathau, Dan O'Herlihy, Larry Hagman and Fritz Weaver (in his film debut) as a group of military men on the verge of World War III. When a military computer error deploys a squadron of SAC bombers to destroy Moscow, theAmerican President (Fonda) tries to call them back. But their sophisticated fail-safe system prevents him from aborting the attack, so he must convince the Soviets not to retaliate. In desperation, the President offers to sacrifice an American city if his pilots succeed in their deadly mission overMoscow. A four-star techno-thriller that builds tension and suspense with every tick of the nuclearclock.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold-War Thriller 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie from a great book 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
5.0 out of 5 stars TERRIFYING IN 1964, TERRIFYING TODAY 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
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fail Safe" is a legend in its own right June 29, 1998
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Piece of Work December 1, 1999
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENT! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!
Published 2 days ago by William Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This movie is a must see. Not sure what else to say.
Published 16 days ago by Adam S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic !!!
Published 20 days ago by Rodman267
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cold War Epic film
If you enjoyed books or films like the 'Hunt for Red October', you will enjoy this great film. The film has lost currency over the years due to the end of the Cold War and the... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Beantown Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood, take note: Imagination is more powerful than your Special...
The imagination is so much more powerful than anything Hollywood directors can conjure up in Special Effects and so much less expensive. Read more
Published 1 month ago by 37W3
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fail-Safe order for nuclear war.
A computer glitch showing an imminent nuclear attack from the Soviet Union scrambles a nuclear equipped bomber squadron to Moscow, Russia. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Shawn M Prenatt
5.0 out of 5 stars A tense and disturbing cold war thriller.
Along with "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," this is the best cold-war movie I've seen. The novel on which it's based is also excellent. Read more
Published 2 months ago by DAVID
5.0 out of 5 stars Kennedy
If you think that this movie is scary.. believe it or not the Kennedy administration was actually planning and almost went through with a real preemptive nuclear strike on Russia... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It Will Make You Think
This is a movie that will really make you think. Let's face it, the day that nukes were invented is the day that the clock started ticking.
Published 3 months ago by Movie Freak
4.0 out of 5 stars didn't watch this because it was too dark
didn't watch "Fail Safe" and

Didn't watch "Fail Safe " and Bedford Incident". The film was too old and unwatchable. Read more
Published 4 months ago by wayson shikiya
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