Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 satirical film about the Cold War in which an insane renegade general attempts to start a nuclear war and others attempt to avert it.
- Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Written by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George, based on the book Red Alert by Peter George.
President Merkin Muffley
- Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
- Note: ranked #64 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.
- [on the phone with the Russian Premier] Hello? Uh, hello? Hello, Dmitri? Listen, I can't hear too well, do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? A-ha, that's much better. Yeah, yes. Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri. Clear and plain and coming through fine. I'm coming through fine too, eh? Good, then. Well then, as you say, we're both coming through fine. Good. Well, it's good that you're fine, and - and I'm fine. I agree with you. It's great to be fine. [Laughs] Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb. The BOMB, Dmitri. The hydrogen bomb. Well now, what happened is, uh, one of our base commanders, he had a sort of - Well, he went a little funny in the head. You know. Just a little funny. And uh, he went and did a silly thing.
Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes...to attack your country.
Well, let me finish, Dmitri. Let me finish, Dmitri. Well, listen, how do you think I feel about it? Can you imagine how I feel about it, Dmitri? Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello?
Of course I like to speak to you! Of course I like to say hello! Not now, but any time, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened.
It's a friendly call. Of course, it's a friendly call. Listen, if it wasn't friendly, you probably wouldn't have even got it. They will not reach their targets for at least another hour. I am, I am positive, Dmitri. Listen, I've been all over this with your Ambassador. It is not a trick. Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your Air Staff a complete rundown on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes.
Yes, I mean, if-if we're unable to recall the planes, then, I'd say that, uh, well, uh, we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri. I know they're our boys. All right, well listen, now, who should we call? Who should we call, Dmitri? The what, the People, you, sorry, you faded away there. The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. Where is that, Dmitri? In Omsk. Right. Yes. Oh, you'll call them first, will you? Uh, huh. Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri? What? I see. Just ask for Omsk information.
I'm sorry too, Dmitri. I'm very sorry. All right, you're sorrier than I am. But I am sorry as well. I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri. Don't say that you're the more sorry than I am because I am capable of being just as sorry as you are. So we're both sorry, all right? All right.
- The whole point of the doomsday machine...is lost if you keep it a secret!
- Sir! I have a plan... [stands from his wheelchair] Mein Führer, I can WALK!
Base Commander Jack D. Ripper
- Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war? ... He said "War is too important to be left to the generals." When he said that, fifty years ago, he may have been right. But today war is too important to be left to the politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
- Mandrake, come over here, the Redcoats are coming!
Major T. J. "King" Kong
- Well, boys, I reckon this is it — nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump — we got some flyin' to do.
- Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
- Well, boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing... but we got one little budge on them Rooskies. At this height why they might harpoon us but they dang sure ain't gonna spot us on no radar screen!
- Turgidson: General Ripper called Strategic Air Command Headquarters shortly after he issued the go code. I have a phone transcript of that conversation if you'd like me to read it.
- Muffley: Read it!
- Turgidson: Ahem... The Duty Officer asked General Ripper to confirm the fact that he had issued the go code, and he said, uh, "Yes gentlemen, they are on their way in, and nobody can bring them back. For the sake of our country, and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation." Uh... "My boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now." Uhuh. Uh... "So let's get going, there's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids. God bless you all." And he hung up.
- [Pause as he realizes the implications of General Ripper's words]
- Turgidson: Uh, we're... still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.
- Muffley: There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.
- Turgidson: We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.
- Muffley: General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you assured me there was no possibility of such a thing ever occurring!
- Turgidson: Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.
- Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.
- Turgidson: That's right sir. You are the only person authorized to do so. And although I hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like General Ripper exceeded his authority.
- Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth, both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless distinguishable, post-war environments: one where you got 20 million people killed, and the other where you got 150 million people killed!
- Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war.
- Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops! Uh, depending on the breaks.
- Muffley: I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.
- Turgidson: Perhaps it might be better, Mr. President, if you were more concerned with the American people, than with your image in the history books.
- Russian Ambassador: When it is detonated, it will produce enough lethal radioactive fallout so that within ten months, the surface of the Earth will be as dead as the moon!
- Turgidson: Ah, come on DeSadeski, that's ridiculous. Our studies show that even the worst fallout is down to a safe level after two weeks.
- Russian Ambassador: You've obviously never heard of cobalt thorium G!
- Turgidson: [pauses] Well, what about it?
- Russian Ambassador: Cobalt thorium G has a radioactive half-life of ninety three years. If you take, say, fifty H-bombs in the hundred megaton range and jacket them with cobalt thorium G, when they are exploded they will produce a doomsday shroud. A lethal cloud of radioactivity which will encircle the earth for ninety three years!
- Turgidson: Ah, what a load of commie bull. I mean, after all...!
- Muffley: I'm afraid I don't understand something, Alexei. Is the Premier threatening to explode this if our planes carry out their attack?
- Russian Ambassador: No, sir! It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to trigger itself automatically.
- Muffley: But surely you can disarm it somehow.
- Russian Ambassador: No, it is designed to explode if any attempt is ever made to untrigger it.
- Turgidson: It's an obvious Commie trick, Mr. President. We are wasting valuable time! (stumbles) Look at the big board, they're getting ready to clobber us!
- Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador. Why on earth would you build such a thing?
- Russian Ambassador: There were those of us who fought against this. But in the end, we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time, our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our Doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a Doomsday gap.
- Muffley: This is preposterous! I've never approved of anything like that!
- Russian Ambassador: Our source was the New York Times.
- Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.
- Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack.
- Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
- Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack.
- Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
- Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen... tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?
- Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
- Mandrake: Hmm.
- Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
- Mandrake: Hmm.
- Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
- Mandrake: No.
- Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.
- Mandrake: Colonel... that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there.
- Guano: That's private property.
- Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!
- Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?
- Mandrake: What?
- Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.
- Dr. Strangelove: I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy...heh, heh...at the bottom of ah...some of our deeper mine shafts. Radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep, and in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in dwelling space could easily be provided.
- Muffley: How long would you have to stay down there?
- Dr. Strangelove: Well let's see now ah...cobalt thorium G....Radioactive half-life of uh,...I would think that uh... possibly uh... one hundred years.
- Muffley: You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?
- Dr. Strangelove: It would not be difficult, Mein Führer! Nuclear reactors could, heh...I'm sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.
- Muffley: Well, I, I would hate to have to decide...who stays up and...who goes down.
- Dr. Strangelove: Well, that would not be necessary, Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha, ha. But ah, with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present Gross National Product within say, twenty years.
- Muffley: But look here doctor, wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?
- Dr. Strangelove: No, sir...excuse me...When they go down into the mine, everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! [involuntarily gives the Nazi salute and forces it down with his other hand] Ahhh!
- Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?
- Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious...service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
- Russian Ambassador: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.
- Peter Sellers - Group Captain Lionel Mandrake/President Merkin Muffley/Dr. Strangelove
- George C. Scott - Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson
- Sterling Hayden - Gen. Jack D. Ripper
- Keenan Wynn - Col. 'Bat' Guano
- Slim Pickens - Maj. T.J. 'King' Kong (a role originally performed by Peter Sellers, until he broke his leg on-set in a fall—Pickens was an emergency replacement)
- Peter Bull - Russian Ambassador Alexi de Sadesky
- James Earl Jones - Lt. Lothar Zogg