The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a ... See full summary »
Rebecca De Mornay,
James Earl Jones
Docudrama uses fictional reports of a crisis in the Middle East, which leads to a nuclear confrontation between the US and the USSR. "Looking Glass" is the code word for the Strategic Air ... See full summary »
A renegade USAF general, Lawrence Dell, escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana and threatens to provoke World War 3 unless the President reveals details of ... See full summary »
Roscoe Lee Browne
Well, the world has finally managed to blow itself up. Only Australia has been spared from nuclear destruction and a gigantic wave of radiation is floating in on the breezes. Only two ... See full summary »
A television program is interupted by a news network announcing that three meteors have hit the United States, France and China. At first it seems natural but after interviews by scientists... See full summary »
Rod Slater is the newly appointed general manager of the Sonderditch gold mine, but he stumbles across an ingenious plot to flood the mine, by drilling into an underground lake, so the ... See full summary »
The computer in the command center is made up from components of an actual IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the US from Soviet bomber attack. It was the largest and heaviest computer system ever built, the full system weighing 6000 tons and taking up an entire floor of a bomb-proof blockhouse. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies who wanted futuristic looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. The components used in this film were previously used in 'The Time Tunnel (1966)', 'The Towering Inferno (1974)' and 'Independence Day (1996)' amongst many others. See more »
General Bogan is wearing the Air Force Good Conduct ribbon. It is clearly visible, 4th row from the top, center ribbon. Even if this impossibility was correct, it would not be in the order shown and in a row just beneath the high decoration of the silver star. It is of a much lower order of distinction and would belong in the bottom row of ribbons. This Air Force version ribbon was instituted in 1963 to replace the old red/white Army ribbon. It would have been impossible for him to have earned it as an enlisted airman since this film takes place about the same time it was instituted, therefore its display is improper. See more »
I only heard about this program a day before it aired, and I am very glad I did. The acting was absolutely amazing all around. There was not a single performer who didn't rise to the occasion in this picture. It is all the more amazing since it was performed live on national television. Particularly strong were Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, and Hank Azaria, but it is difficult to break away any actors from the strong ensemble.
The whole effect of the production very well captures the sense of a Cold War drama. From the set design, costumes, performances, direction, and the choice to air in black and white, the atmosphere is as much a player in "Fail Safe" as the actors. One really gets the feeling that they are watching a 1950's era live broadcast.
I must say, that I knew nothing of the original story or film, and I really feel I benefited from that. The story is amazingly suspenseful. I did not know the ending going in, and I won't ruin it for you either. Just trust me that it is unquestionably the best way to view this picture. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film and was honestly moved by the ending. The script is excellent, and the story even better. While it is clearly a cautionary tale of nuclear war, it never tries to beat its purpose into the viewer. It lets the story tell the story, which is always the best.
If you missed the live broadcast, be on the look-out for a re-broadcast. This is a real accomplishment from CBS, and its a shame that it was not more widely promoted.
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