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

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,510 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens
  • Directors: Stanley Kubrick
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 1994
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,510 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302799066
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,519 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [VHS]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Hickey on October 31, 2007
Format: DVD
Regarding the review cited as the "most helpful critical review," in which the main criticism is that the aspect-ratio of this DVD is 1.66 throughout instead of "variable" (some shots 1.33, some 1.66), I'd like to put to rest the unfortunate idea that Kubrick ever intended this film to be seen with a "variable aspect ratio."
Yes, the film was photographed that way; but no, it was not meant to be seen that way. Let me explain:
"Variable aspect-ratio" seems to be a term invented to market an early DVD release of "Dr. Strangelove." The term has no meaning in the film industry because no film has ever been released that way (except for that misguided "Strangelove" DVD -- a mistake which has now been corrected).
Most of "Dr. Stangelove" was photographed with no matte in the camera, thus exposing the entire 1.33 film frame. Many shots, however, were filmed with a 1.66 matte, reflecting Kubrick's intention to release the film to theaters in 1.66. Therefore, if you transfer this movie to tape using an unmatted film element, and you take the whole 1.33 frame for every shot, the aspect ratio will vary between 1.33 (shots filmed with no matte in the camera) and 1.66 (shots filmed with a 1.66 matte). But it seems self-evident that this is not the way any movie was ever intended to be seen, with the shape of the frame randomly bouncing around from shot to shot for no reason.
So why shoot it that way? Because Kubrick (and his cameraman) knew that one of two methods would be employed to ensure the aspect ratio of the theatrical presentation: either the theatrical printing negative, and therefore every release print sent to theaters, would have the 1.66 matte printed-in from start to finish, or each print would be shipped with written instructions for the projectionist to put a 1.
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Format: VHS Tape
...Kubrik masterminded Dr. Strangelove, loosely basing the movie upon the book "Red Alert" (the book is a completely serious Cold War nuclear war scenario, but Strangelove is a complete and total farce). "Strangelove" came out a year or two after the Cuban October missile crisis, a year after US President John Kennedy was assassinated as well as 2 other contemporaneous films, the brilliant and paranoid "The Manchurian Candidate" and the serious treatment of the same book, "Fail Safe."
Kubrik originally set out to do a serious treatment of the book. But Kubrik found as he tried to develop the screenplay that he kept running into scenes that he ended up writing as satire. Recognizing the challenge, Kubrik enlisted the talents of one of the best comedic screenwriters in Hollywood, Terry Southern, to do the screenplay.
Casting the film was part genius and part hit-and-miss happy accident. ... Somehow Slim Pickens' name came up and Pickens accepted the role of the B-52 bomber pilot. Even more ironic yet, Slim Pickens was more conservative than Dan Blocker, but Pickens never caught on during the film's production that Dr. Strangelove was a comedy, much less a satire and a farce unsympathetic to the official propaganda of the cold war.
In of itself, it was a comic master stroke telling Pickens play the role seriously. Pickens was apparently no great wit, so Kubrik was able to keep Pickens completely unaware that Pickens was actually playing in a comedy, not a serious war movie (one can only assume that the humor of the situation was not lost on the other cast members, including James Earl Jones who played Capt. Kong's bombardier.. "Don't tell Slim this is all a big joke, we have to let him think this is a real war movie." ).
Other than Peter Sellers' roles, George C.
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24 Comments 466 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Could a sane man initiate global mass-destruction? Can any political system that would destroy all life on earth as it valediction claim the moral high ground, now that we've entered a murder-suicide pact so absolute it even involves all future generations of life on earth? Liberalism, conservatism, capitalism, communism- they all become moot in the face of extinction.
So we have "Dr. Strangelove," the movie that dares point out how our drive to destroy ourselves just might be some sort of twisted outgrowth of our libido. Hardly a moment goes by in this film without sexual text or context. Even the two bombs in the B-52 (named by its crew, "Leper Colony") are scribbled with what were then considered come-on lines. Deranged Gen. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) has sent his air wing into the Soviet Union because he felt a "loss of essence" during the "physical act of love," and is certain this is caused by flouridated water.
Peter Sellars plays three roles, wimpy President Muffley, RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and the title character, the bizarre, wheelchair-bound not-so-former Nazi advisor to the President. The awesome George C. Scott turns in a marvelous performance as Gen. Buck Turgidson, who has difficulty hiding his enthusiasm for Ripper's plan.
But the revelation here is Hayden (veteran of many a manly role), playing a character so concerned with losing his virility, he sets the world on course for an explosive and very final climax. Hayden's performance is a masterpiece of subtle derangement- no drooling or chewing the scenary. Watch for Sellar's reaction when he realizes Hayden's burly, muscular symbol of American power, in his medal-bejeweled Air Force uniform, is completely, irretrievably round the bend.
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