Talk:Dr. Strangelove

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References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • King, Mike (2008). "Dr. Strangelove". The American Cinema of Excess: Extremes of the National Mind on Film. McFarland. pp. 46–49. ISBN 0786439882. 

Gross Revenue?[edit]

There doesn't seem to be a mention of the gross revenue of the movie. Could this be found somewhere? GruffyBears (talk) 15:24, 24 January 2010 (UTC)


Reference available for citing in the article body. Erik (talk) 20:20, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Question about B-52 scale model[edit]

Aviators! I have doubts about the veracity of the statement that the composited B-52 model in the film was, in fact, a Monogram 1/72nd scaler. I was an avid model builder in the late 60's, and I distinctly remember this kit being released, amongst much advertising, in the 1968-69 period, making it much too late for studio use.

Rather, I suspect that the model-makers just did a bang-up job using publicly available documentation. After all, they did a dead-on flightdeck based on a single photo... So - I hold this unreferenced comment as suspect... Mark Sublette (talk) 09:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 09:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)


The reception section needs some work. The Rotten Tomatoes claim isn't true (there are over 100 movies with 100% fresh rating and over 20 reviewers) and appears to be WP:OR. I understand that its position can be easily noted as of some stated date but I think that commenting on how many other movies received this rating isn't needed as it will constantly be changing. Metacritic named it #96, not #6. IMDB has it as #33 of all time. I'll be making these changes and wanted to leave an explanation here instead of in a edit note. OlYellerTalktome 02:04, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

I misunderstood the Metacritic rating vs ranking and adjusted it accordingly. I added a reference for TopTenMovies and changed the IMDB rating. I also removed the comment about it being one of some number of movies to receive a 100 on RottenTomatoes as it's just to variable to keep updated. OlYellerTalktome 02:11, 23 August 2010 (UTC)


I don't really know of any sources that can verify my point, but I do know that a lot of people believe the use of We'll Meet Again in the ending conveyed that some people survived the detonation of the Doomsday Device. This is flawed thinking, as it was detonated before Strangelove's plan regarding mineshafts could be put into action. Kubrick used the song ironically, as he also did with Singin' in the Rain in A Clockwork Orange and the theme for the Mickey Mouse Club in Full Metal Jacket. Would this be pertinent to include in the article, and if so, would a reference be necessary? (talk) 20:37, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

As it is now, there is no implication as to the meaning of the song, merely that it is played. To insert a comment regarding the intended meaning of the song you would need a verifiable source. SpigotMap 21:12, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Even if the Doomsday Device was detonated immediately, it would take some time, weeks or months, for the fallout to reach the USA. So there would be time for a few to take refuge. Barsoomian (talk) 00:18, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The song was suggested by Spike Milligan and the point to using it was that they wouldn't meet again. No-one would. Ever. So it is indeed, Irony.
If you watch the film you'll see that the only two main characters who aren't mentally deranged are President Muffley and Group Captain Mandrake. The rest are all having trouble grasping the seriousness of the whole situation. And for the most part, it is they who are running things. That's one of the jokes of the film. "The lunatics have taken over the asylum".
... the other point of the film is that the other characters all think they are doing the right thing, which they would be in different circumstances, and do their best to carry out their orders. But the circumstances aren't what they perceive them to be - at least not initially. So what they are doing is exactly wrong. You see, all the sophisticated 'safety measures' implemented to prevent an enemy thwarting retaliation conspire to first, prevent access to Burpelson Air Base, and finally, prevent the recall of Ripper's final lone bomber. And that leads to the end of the world. By mistake. That's the joke.
... and that's why We'll Meet Again is used for the finale. Because no-one would ever be meeting anyone ever again. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Is there any significance of the name Merkin Muffley?[edit]

Merkin has a Wikipedia page. Muffley, is muff+ly. Merkin and muff seem to both refer to fur fashion accessories and possibly a womans pubic area. So it might be part of a joke. Geo8rge (talk) 21:34, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Try imagining Peter Sellers saying quickly in a fake Mid-West accent "I'm not British, I'm a Merkin". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Cast section[edit]

Are we perhaps laying it on a bit thick in several entries of the first part of the Cast section? Is the "King" nickname for Major Kong really a reference to the movie monster—isn't just a natural nickname for a guy named Kong? Likewise General Ripper being a "reference" to the 19th century serial murderer: is it really a reference or is it just a coy smile? Same for the Soviet ambassador and the 18th century writer and revolutionary thinker. Seems to me that if you claim every little thing is a reference, then you lose some of the punch of your real references. Also, is the tabular structure of the first part of the cast section really the place to discuss characters' backgrounds (particularly when we come right back with the very same information presented more prosaically in the very next section)? Isn't the first section about, ummm, casting? There's a lot of repetition in this article.—HarringtonSmith (talk) 20:21, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

I'll agree with you on both points. Certainly the cast section is simply for who played each role with minimal explanation. I suspect some of the "references" can be sourced, but it should be done later in the article if at all. With stuff like "King" Kong, Jack "the Ripper", I'd want to see verification that Kubrick has stated that he intended it the way it is taken. That might make it worth reporting. Yworo (talk) 20:27, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Does anyone even refer to Major Kong as "King" in the dialogue, Yworo? I can't remember its being used anywhere.—HarringtonSmith (talk) 20:39, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

You know, I don't think anyone does. Yworo (talk) 15:15, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

General Ripper's Motive[edit]

Plans to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar and ice cream were motivating factors for General Ripper not disclosing the code to recall the nuclear strike of Russia. The entire Dr. Strangelove movie is about getting the recall code from General Ripper needed to recall the Nuclear bombing of Russia and General Ripper's refusal to disclose it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

SEXUALITY: The reply letter from Kubrick could also be looked at as sarcasm to the writer,rather then true insight as the article claims. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

General Ripper's Recall Code[edit]

Genaral Ripper's Recall code POE or Purity Of Essence or Peace On Earth. When Guano shoots his way in to General Ripper's office Mandrake is looking at General Ripper's notes trying to figure out what the recall code is. The Notes General Ripper wrote were Peace On Earth and Purity Of Essence. What the Recall Code was and it's meaning should be discussed in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:00, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Remember that Mandrake says, "Something like POE or OPE." In fact, I thought I'd seen something in the film that indicted the recall code began OPE, but I couldn't find it. Nonetheless, OPE remains a possibility.Marcomillions (talk) 00:58, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

With all due respect, the code prefix/recall code is hardly a mystery. You can see the code OPE being set on the CRM 114 at 0:17:58 or you can hear the voice of SAC Communications Control read it at 1:13:15 (timings from the Special Edition DVD) Aileron Spades (talk) 02:41, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

American or British film?[edit]

What determines the nationality of a film? If it's the director then Kubrick was American. If it's where it's filmed then it was filmed in London because Peter Sellers was in the middle of a divorce and could not leave the country, according to the article. If it's the nationality of the leading actors then George C. Scott was American but Peter Sellers was British. If it's the distribution company then Columbia Pictures is American. I am going to remove any references to the nationality of the film until we reach a consensus on this. –CWenger (talk) 19:48, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Don't forget it was American money that bankrolled it.—HarringtonSmith (talk) 20:29, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
It was made by a British Company; Hawk Films Ltd, and was adapted from a British book by an English author; Peter George.
BTW, it was British money that bankrolled the P-51 Mustang fighter plane so would you call that a British aeroplane? - no? - I thought not.
.... oh, and another BTW, Stanley Kubrick took up British Citizenship not long before he died. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
According to the American Film Institute the film is a British production - see here: [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. This request was obviously Lugnuts' Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:00, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Dr. StrangeloveDr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb—This article should be at the full correct name of the film, and not the title most people refer to it as. Dr. Strangelove can redirect back here. --Lugnuts (talk) 11:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME: "Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's 'official' name as an article title; it instead uses the name which is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article." We can write the official title in the article's lead sentence, but the official title is not repeated ad nauseum in references. Erik (talk | contribs) 13:01, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
    • I assume this might have been brought about (and forgive me if I'm wrong) because of Borat, which does include the full length title for the article header.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
      • For that article, the move discussion can be found here. (The discussion took place in March 2007.) Despite the original poster mentioning WP:COMMONNAME, he probably should have quoted it more fully, as there are people saying to keep the long title because it is official. The situation was also slightly complicated by the existence of the character article Borat Sagdiyev. Erik (talk | contribs) 13:40, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
        • I was just pointing it out, I thought I remembered a discussion on moving that in the past (and thought it was moved). As for the character, it doesn't help anyone who would argue that case since Borat redirects to the film and not the character. So, someone probably should restart that move discussion.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:47, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. The case of Borat is different because "Borat" can also refer to Borat Sagdiyev, Sacha Baron Cohen's character, whose creation preceded the film. The Celestial City (talk) 13:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per above (which is per WP:COMMONNAME). There are a lot of films with overly long titles which are used for comedic effect, but it just because silly to try and replicate that for the article title. It's one thing to have it in the lead, and another to just list the film's page with that name when a more common, shortened form can be used. I don't believe anyone would argue that if the common name was completely unrelated that we would switch it, but in this case it is more common for people to simply refer to the film as "Dr. Strangelove" than it's full title.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:47, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I was also looking at WP:NCF which doesn't seem to be clear on this. Maybe this needs updating too? Lugnuts (talk) 14:59, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
    • I think that NCF doesn't address it because it isn't a common problem. Though we do have what would seem like "quite a few" of these articles, they aren't typical compared to the rest and I think that is why NCF probably just lets COMMONNAME handle such cases. That said, I wouldn't be opposed to a brief blurb about long titled films.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:43, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME--John (talk) 18:13, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per WP:COMMONNAME.  — Amakuru (talk) 18:35, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME as with the film Swept Away and others. I thought that we had a conversation about this when this article was moved from the lengthier title several years ago but it isn't in this talkpage archives. Was it on the talk page for the Filmproject? Or somewhere else? MarnetteD | Talk 19:04, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: Per this discussion, I started a new discussion to request moving Borat to the more concise title per guidelines. The discussion can be found here. Erik (talk | contribs) 00:26, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Col. Batguano: Are we sure about this?[edit]

I can't get a good enough look at his name tape to know definitively that "Batguano" is his surname, as asserted here in a recent edit. Google search returns everything as "Col. Bat Guano", first name and surname. Until the recent edit here, I've never seen it as "Batguano", all together as a surname, anywhere. Thoughts?—HarringtonSmith (talk) 13:13, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm pretty confident that "Batguano" is not the surname. I too am unable to read the letters of the ID strip on his uniform, but I can see the lengths of words (rank and names) and the spaces between quite well. The best place to examine these is in the sequence in the hallway outside Gen. Ripper's office involving the telephone booth and Coke machine. Keenan Wynn stands more squarely to the camera, and the lighting is flatter and lower contrast than in the scene inside Gen. Ripper's office, where dark shadows from the daylight coming through the windows make it harder to be sure about spaces between words. What I see are three word-units, consistent with "Col. Bat Guano." The third word-unit, the surname, is not long enough to be "Batguano." Moreover, Mandrake, in reading the ID strip, pronounces the name as if three separate units. I mean, how should we pronounce "Batguano" if it were a single name?Marcomillions (talk) 01:11, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Watch the film with VLC player. In the scene inside Gen. Ripper's office, freeze the frame at 1:09:20, just as the Guano character says to Mandrake, "While he was shaving, huh?"

Using VLC Player's "Interactive Zoom", it is then possible to clearly read the name tape as, "Col. Bat Guano". (talk) 21:10, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks IP72.215.148.50. I have to change some of my forum-ids from "Pat Guano" to "Bat Guano". :-( And I was so sure ... -- (talk) 19:32, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

James Earl Jones[edit]

I know James Earl Jones didn't have a very large role, but I think it should be mentioned somewhere that Dr. Strangelove was his first film role. But I have no idea where to put it, any suggestions? Woknam66 talk James Bond 19:49, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, it should go right after his name in the Cast list section, like: "James Earl Jones, in his first motion picture role as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg, the B-52's bombardier." Please insert the info with a proper source reference (IMDB is not a reliable source for WP articles). Thanks. — UncleBubba T @ C ) 20:35, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Length of plot synopsis[edit]

The length of the plot synopsis exceeds the guideline of "400–700 words" established in WP:FILMPLOT, yet text continues to be added. The Plot section doesn't need to be a word-for-word recitation of everything in the screenplay. Anyone have any thoughts? — UncleBubba T @ C ) 22:44, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, text continues to be added, but not words. Is this eight character edit really worth threatening me? Maury Markowitz (talk) 16:56, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I didn't threaten you, but I did get a little insistent when you didn't respond to notes placed here and on your personal Talk page.
To answer your question, no, the eight-byte edit--your most recent--isn't terribly large, but the preceding three or four added 1,384 bytes to the article, and many of them are words. You also commented in one edit summary, "plot length seems fine to me". — UncleBubba T @ C ) 18:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
The film's on TV now so I came to have a look... the Plot section stands around 1300 words, nearing double the recommended maximum. Unfortunately, I don't know the film well enough to trim it effectively. This is why i'm tagging it again. JaffaCakeLover (talk) 11:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

release date[edit]

I am fairly certain I saw the film at RAF Swanton Morley in March 1963. Was this film shown at military bases before general release? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Beanstew46 (talkcontribs) 22:05, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

  • In March 1963, the movie was still being filmed. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 05:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Getting to Bat Guano[edit]

There is no way to get here without knowing he's a character in Dr. Strangelove. When I searched here on the name, with initial caps, too, it took me to the guano page. There is a disambiguation page for "guano" but not for "Bat Guano." I'm not sure what needs to be done, once again, to avoid the automatic redirect, but I sure wish someone would tell me. I'm really tired of running afoul of them. If it weren't for IMDB, I'd still be searching. Zlama (talk) 13:13, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure why one would be searching for "Bat Guano" without knowing it was a character in this film, but Bat Guano is now a redirect to Dr. Strangelove#Cast. Opera hat (talk) 14:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I can't remember the sequence of events, but I kept coming across names in articles that were links. When I followed them, they took me to pages that had the same name or were related by spelling if not by meaning or purpose because of Wikipedia's automatic redirect. It's a crutch, I'd guess, for authors to just put the brackets there and let the software do the work, but it would be nice if they'd check first to see if there was an actual page that applied. ;) /end rant Zlama (talk) 21:40, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Cutting the "Pie Fight Ending"...[edit]

These sentences appear in the "JFK Assassination" section of the article:

The assassination also serves as another possible reason why the pie-fight scene was cut. In the scene General Turgidson exclaims, "Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!" after Muffley takes a pie in the face. Editor Anthony Harvey states that "[the scene] would have stayed, except that Columbia Pictures were horrified, and thought it would offend the president's family."

Yet in the section above—and in most Strangelove scholarship—Kubrick is cited as the decision-maker to cut the pie fight for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being it didn't work. I understand that Anthony Harvey was the film editor, but aren't we being misleading when we include his dubious claim that it was the studio's intervention on behalf of the Kennedy family that cut the scene, otherwise "it would have stayed"?—HarringtonSmith (talk) 13:43, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

My question is where's that footage now? I've read Kubrick's wife or daughter is sitting on the several minute segment cut from the end of The Shining (the scene where Ullman talks to Wendy and Danny in the hospital at the end) and she refuses to release to the public. Do they have the pie fight footage, too? --RThompson82 (talk) 02:40, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Depending on the breaks[edit]

In the below quote from the movie, are the breaks a reference to firebreaks or a reference to the probabilty of Nuclear weapon Fratricide. I've never got a good answer on the true meaning of the word in that context, any help would be appreciated. Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boundarylayer (talkcontribs) 01:40, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

This has been discussed before; it's an American term referring to random chance. "Uh, depending on how lucky we get" would be similar--since a certain percentage of the Soviet bombers would manage to get through American air defenses, it's just a matter of which targets would successfully get hit, and that's pretty much a matter of luck. rdfox 76 (talk) 03:57, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

So it was not a reference to firebreaks? I see, confusing, can you point me to where it has been discussed before? Boundarylayer (talk) 22:34, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Previous discussion can be seen here Talk:Dr. Strangelove/Archive 3#Possible misquotation. I can also back up the fact that this is a very common term in US life and you will find it used in many different areas including business, sports etc. A related term is "those (sometimes themz) are the breaks." My thanks to rdfox 76 for his detailed explanation from almost 5 years ago and for remembering it now. MarnetteD | Talk 00:21, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Good lord, that far back? God, I'm getting old... Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers! rdfox 76 (talk) 03:53, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Who is the narrator?[edit]

This is my favorite film and I think I've read close to everything ever published about it, but nowhere have I seen a credit for - or even speculation about - the narrator. My top suspect is Peter Ustinov. Does anybody have a clue on this?Aileron Spades (talk) 03:33, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

"News of the detonation..."[edit]

The final paragraph of the Plot section begins with: "News of the detonation reaches the war room; the activation of the doomsday device is inevitable..." I don't recollect the scene where any news reaches the war room; could someone please refresh my memory? (talk) 05:54, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

There is no on-screen receipt of the news of a detonation, but it is sort of implied by the tone of the conversation towards the end that things have worked out badly.RJ4 (talk) 06:48, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
If there's no on-screen receipt, isn't the sentence in question giving a wrong impression? The personnel in the war room are bounding along on a flight of seriocomic fantasy, planning out their sexual futures, without any regard to any inevitability. They get the news the same way the rest of the world gets it—when the planet is suddenly vaporized. Shouldn't this inaccuracy be fixed? (talk) 15:36, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
"Implied" is going to be in the POV of each viewer. I have seen the film more than 50 times and I never got the sense that they new what had happened with Kong's plane and its bombs. I can see where other viewers would speculate that something had occurred but our plot should reflect what is seen onscreen so I have had a go at reworking the paragraph. MarnetteD | Talk 17:37, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Well done MarnetteD. (talk) 21:28, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, they def. don't get news of the bombing in the film - they just prepare for the worst-case outcome and the mineshaft gap! Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 18:10, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Release date vs production date[edit]

The film was made in 1963, not 1964. Hence "a 1963 film". See the credits at the beginning of the movie (1'47). It was released in 1964. This seems like a minor point, but the confusion between the production year and the release year can lead to serious mistakes in interpretation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Historienne2012 (talkcontribs) 08:21, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

We use the release date in the lead sentence. See WP:FILMLEAD and please don't make such changes again. Yworo (talk) 06:03, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
Using the release date is really stupid. See the example of Andrei Rublev: Wikipedia says it's a movie "of 1966" and it's true, it was made in 1966, but shown abroad during the Cannes festival only in 1969, censored in USSR until 1971, and not officially released in the US before 1983. So please chek out your "rules" again. --Historienne2012 (talk) 17:06, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your opinion. I'll fix that. Yworo (talk) 17:18, 9 March 2013 (UTC)


Concur with User:Darkwarriorblake. There was a consensus here to use the common-name title. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:36, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Character names[edit]

There should probably be a list in the article indicating the names of the characters in the original novel Red Alert, because all of the main characters' names were changed from the book to the film. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 03:39, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Infobox omissions[edit]

We need to mention that the film is in black-and-white. Also the aspect ratio, which the article notes was changed for the 1994 re-release (and note that in the infobox too). -- (talk) 15:01, 25 October 2014 (UTC)


"The film was a popular success, earning US$4,420,000 in rentals in North America during its initial theatrical release.[51]"
Rentals? There were no video rental stores in those days. Video cassettes hadn't been invented yet, let alone DVDs. [-- 01:01, 19 December 2014

Think it's just an entertainment-industry term referring to rental fees charged for providing big film reels to movie theater owners (as opposed to raw ticket sales), as partially explained in footnote... AnonMoos (talk) 05:56, 19 December 2014 (UTC)