Impact of the Film, Dr. Strangelove, on American Attitudes Towards the Atomic Bomb and Cold War

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Impact of the Film, Dr. Strangelove, on American Attitudes Towards the Atomic Bomb and Cold War

"The truth is bad enough--but nowhere near as bad as you probably think. The truth will do away with a lot of silly ideas, a lot of completely wrong notions, which millions of people now believe about the atomic bomb. These ideas could easily cause great panic. And right now the possibility of panic is one of the best weapons any enemy could use against us." (Gerstell, How to Survive an Atomic Bomb 1)

"Why should the bomb be approached with reverence? Reverence can be a paralyzing state of mind. For me the comic sense is the most eminently human reaction to the mysteries and the paradoxes of life. I just hope some of them are illuminated by the exaggerations and the style of the film. And I don't see why an artist has to do any more than produce an artistic experience that reflects his thinking." (Stanley Kubrick qtd in Wainright 15)

In the third decade of the Cold War, less than two years after the United States population had been scared half-way to death by the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dr. Strangelove invaded the nation's movie theatres and showed the country the end of the world. Touted by critics then and now as the film of the decade, Dr. Strangelove savagely mocked the President, the entire military defense establishment, and the rhetoric of the Cold War. To a nation that was living through the stress of the nuclear arms race and had faced the real prospect of nuclear war, the satiric treatment of the nation's leaders was an orgasmic release from deep fears and tensions. Its detractors argued that the film was juvenile, offensive, and inaccurate. Viewed, however, in its context of the Cold War and nuclear proliferation, Dr....

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Mordden, Ethan. Medium Cool. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

Mumford, Lewis. "Letter." New York Times 1 March 1964: 25.

Prideaux, T. "Take Aim, Fire at the Agonies of War." Life 20 Dec. 1963: 115-118. Rabe, David. "Admiring the Unpredictable Mr. Kubrick." New York Times 21 June 1987: H34+

Starr, Michael. Peter Sellers: A Film History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc. Publishers, 1991.

Suid, Lawrence. "The Pentagon and Hollywood: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)." American History/ American Film: Interpreting the Hollywood Image. Eds. John E. O'Connor and Martin A. Jackson. Boston: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1979.

Taylor, Stephen . Review of Dr. Strangelove. Film Comment, 2. 1 (1964): 40-43.

Wainright, Loudon. "The Strange Case of Strangelove." Life 13 March 1964: 15.

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