[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drstrangeloveposter.jpg]]

->''"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"''
-->-- '''President Merkin Muffley'''

''Dr. Strangelove [[EitherOrTitle or]]: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'' is a 1964 BlackComedy film by Creator/StanleyKubrick. The plot is largely taken from the 1958 novel ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Alert_%28novel%29 Red Alert]]'' by Peter George, who contributed to the film's screenplay.

One day during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, General [[GeneralRipper Jack D. Ripper]] (Creator/SterlingHayden) goes mental. He orders the nuclear bombers under his command to carry out a surprise attack on the Soviet Union. He puts his entire military base in lockdown with all communications cut, ordering all radios confiscated (so that Communist infiltrators can't receive outside commands) and all troops to fire on anyone who tries to enter the base, even if they appear to be fellow Americans (because they will surely be Communists in disguise). Ripper's aide, British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Creator/PeterSellers), tries to talk sense into him but shortly realizes his boss has gone right out of his pointy little mind, believing that only he stands in the way of a Communist plot to contaminate America's "precious bodily fluids."

In Washington, U.S. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers again) holds a meeting in the War Room with his top advisors. While the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Buck Turgidson (Creator/GeorgeCScott), sees the crisis as an opportunity to hit the Russkies where they live once and for all, the President's [[GeniusCripple wheelchair-bound]], [[UsefulNotes/NazisWithGnarlyWeapons ex-Nazi]] [[MadScientist science advisor]], Dr. Strangelove (also Peter Sellers), and the Soviet ambassador (Peter Bull) both confirm that an attack on the USSR will trigger [[DoomsdayDevice The Doomsday Machine]]: a computer programmed to [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum detonate a cobalt bomb that will kill nearly all life on Earth's surface with its radiation over the course of months, if the Soviet Union is attacked (or if any attempt is made to disable the Doomsday Machine]]). The president gets on the hotline and desperately attempts to convince the drunken Soviet premier that the American attack is just a silly mistake as they attempt to call off the attack.

The film was supposed to be released in November of 1963 (see TooSoon in the Trivia page), but was eventually released in January of 1964.

Creator/JamesEarlJones made his film debut as one of the crewmen on the bomber plane.

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!!This film includes examples of:
* AccidentalPervert: Col. "Bat" Guano, heading an Army division that fought its way into an Air Force base, takes British military attaché Captain Mandrake to be "some kind of deviated pervert" who killed the commanding general for "finding out about his perversion and organizing a mutiny of perverts" - most likely on the evidence of his odd accent and uniform.
* ActionBomb: Major T J Kong rides the nuke down to its destination below, [[spoiler: thereby causing the Soviets' doomsday device to detonate and end the world]].
* AllGermansAreNazis: Dr. Strangelove.
* AluminiumChristmasTrees[=/=]TruthInTelevision:
** Ripper's paranoia about [[WaterSourceTampering water fluoridation]] was based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy#Conspiracy_theories real conspiracy theories]] about the effects of fluoridation, some which persist to this day on both extremes of the political spectrum, minus the "vodka-drinking Russians did it" part.
** Strategic Air Command's motto really was "Peace Is Our Profession".
** USAF pilot survival kits really did contain such items as condoms and nylons, which can be quite useful in survival situations.
** It turns out that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalt_bomb salting a bomb with cobalt]] is a handy method for making human extinction more likely.
** The babbling about a "doomsday gap" and a "mineshaft gap" was a nod to rhetoric from the 1960 presidential campaign. John F. Kennedy had attacked Nixon and the Eisenhower Administration for allowing the Soviets to open up a "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_gap missile gap]]" between themselves and the United States (in fact, the USA actually had more missiles). This kind of discourse would continue in the seventies with the so-called "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_1975_ship_reclassification#The_.22cruiser_gap.22 Cruiser gap]]".
** The 24-hour B-52 squadrons within 2 hours of their targets inside the USSR? They were part of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chrome_Dome Operation Chrome Dome]].
** The US military actually used "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Drop_Kick Operation Drop Kick]]" as a name. It revolved around biological warfare rather than nuclear.
** [[http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/almost-everything-in-dr-strangelove-was-true A 2014 article]] in ''Magazine/TheNewYorker'' by Creator/EricSchlosser confirmed what many had long suspected: that despite the disclaimer placed in front of the movie, and the scorn heaped upon its plot by the military establishment at the time, for many decades it was entirely possible for someone other than the US President to launch a nuclear first strike without authorization.
** The Soviets developed a real-life "Doomsday Device" called [[http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/08/world/russia-has-doomsday-machine-us-expert-says.html the Dead Hand]], albeit not until the '70s and '80s. One wonders if they drew inspiration from the movie.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: Strangelove spends all his screen time acting as [[EvilIsHammy cartoonishly evil]] as possible, and has a Nazi past to boot, but he never does anything all that evil, at least not that we know about (although his obvious glee to see that humanity is going to be destroyed, and the fact that this joy is enough to make him ''walk again''…).
* AmericansAreCowboys: Major Kong, who wears a cowboy hat on duty, speaks with a Texan accent, and, of course, rides the bomb. Also, his actor, Slim Pickens.
* AppealToForce: The point of the Doomsday Machine. Not that it does the Soviets any good in the long run.
* ApocalypseHow: "Obviously, you've never heard of Cobalt-Thorium G. When the bombs detonate, they'll create a radioactive cloud, that would circle the earth for ninety-three years!"
* ApocalypseWow: The DoomsdayDevice, while "We'll Meet Again" plays.
* ApocalypticMontage: The film ends with a montage of nuclear explosions, famously set to Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again".
* ArmedFarces
* TheArtifact: A pastry table seen in one scene refers to the original ending, a colossal [[FoodFight pie fight]], which was {{deleted|Scene}} from the film's final cut for being too farcical. The fact that a joke was made about the President being "struck down in his prime" by one of the pies didn't help its case (see TooSoon in the Trivia page).
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety[=/=]RecklessGunUsage: General Ripper with his Browning M1919 .30 caliber machine gun. He fires it from the hip and holds it by the barrel. In RealLife, he would be unlikely to hit anything at medium-to-long range, and would probably burn his hand off in the process.
* AsYouKnow: "As you know, the Premier loves surprises."
* AssInAmbassador: "Try one of these Jamaican cigars, Ambassador, they're pretty good." "No, I do not support the work of imperialist stooges." [[{{Hypocrite}} "Oh, only Commie stooges, huh?"]]
** Note that the Ambassador had just asked for a Cuban cigar.
* AteHisGun: Jack D. Ripper goes into a bathroom, and then shoots himself when his base is captured.
* AttackPatternAlpha: Delivered via SealedOrders -- Wing Attack Plan R, which is removed from a whole safe full of attack plans. This was TruthInTelevision.
* BabyFactory: Dr. Strangelove's nuclear war survival plan calls for there to be a group of survivors, including "our top government and military men". To better facilitate this trope, there were would be "a ratio of, say, ten females to each male" and "the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics, which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature". Naturally, monogamy will be "regrettably" abandoned, it being "a sacrifice required for the future of the human race".
* BeneathTheEarth: The future of mankind AfterTheEnd is to dwell in underground facilities and fallout shelters for almost a century -- quickly leading to an AdamAndEvePlot and oaths of eternal vigilance by those who think that "we must not be allowed a mine-shaft gap".
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: General Ripper does this, which is all the more hilariously ironic given that the threat is all in his own demented mind.
* {{BFG}}: General Ripper keeps an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1919_Browning_machine_gun M1919A4 machine gun]] in his ''golf bag!''
* BigBad: General Jack D. Ripper starts the entire affair by ordering the strike on Russia.
* TheBigBoard: TropeNamer. A gigantic, electronic strategic map of the USSR.
* BilingualBonus: Dr. Strangelove's name used to be Merkwürdigliebe before he moved to the US and had it changed. Merkwürdigliebe translates as strange love.
* BlackComedy: Arguably cinema's greatest example of the form.
* {{Blipvert}}: The original trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gXY3kuDvSU.
* BombersOnTheScreen: The primary purpose of TheBigBoard.
* TheBrigadier: Group Captain Mandrake.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Dr. Strangelove is a brilliant former Nazi with a severe case of alien hand syndrome - his right hand gives the Seig Heil salute without his control, and takes extreme effort to force back into his lap, and occasionally attempts to strangle him. Among other things.
* CasualDangerDialog: Imagine, if you will, the American president speaking over the telephone to the Soviet Premier in an extremely timid, friendly voice:
-->'''President Merkin Muffley:''' 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, ahm, 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, ah... he went and did a silly thing. Well, I'll tell you what he did: He ordered his planes... to attack your country... Ah, 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.
* CentralTheme: How do you save mankind when they are bent on destroying themselves?
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Muffley retains some minor but inconsistent characterization. Early on, Peter Sellers faked cold symptoms to play up the character's apparent weakness in a comic fashion. Kubrick ultimately found it inappropriate and aimed for a more straight performance. However the President's cold from early takes is still evident but intermittent in several scenes.
* ChewingTheScenery: Most of ... well, Strangelove himself's lines.
** ''Animals''... vill be ''brred''... and '''''SLAUGHTERED...''''' '''HAAAAAA!''' ''(wrestles with [[EvilHand own arm]])'' '''MEIN FUHERER! I CAN WALK!!!'''
** One of the actors (George C. Scott) was forced to [[LargeHam ham it up]] to ''unbelievable'' levels, which he himself HATED. The director most frequently chose these takes, and the actor was outraged.
** Creator/StanleyKubrick actually [[EnforcedMethodActing tricked Scott]] into doing this (as General Buck Turgidson). For each scene he told Scott to go completely over the top in the first few takes, before playing it straight in the later ones, [[LeftItIn promising to not use the earlier, wilder ones]]. ([[ILied He lied]]).
* {{Chiaroscuro}}: The War Room is lit this way.
* ChromosomeCasting: The film has precisely one female in the movie, a secretary, who is also a Magazine/{{Playboy}} centrefold.
* ChummyCommies: Despite activating the Doomsday Machine, the Soviets did this only because the original General Ripper ordered a nuclear attack, and the "trigger" for the machine was automated. Also, both the American and the Soviet president do their best to avoid a nuclear war.
* CigarChomper: Ripper.
* ColonelBadass: Thoroughly averted: Group Captain (RAF for Colonel) Mandrake is a bit of a wimp and fails to properly stand up for himself when around other domineering American officers, while US Army Colonel "Bat" Guano does not even understand his own mission, and is instead obsessed with eliminating "preverts."
* ColonelKilgore: General Turgidson is letting his inner five-year-old play with army men out. His over-the-top enthusiasm shows he gets a hell of a kick out of a war he is supposed to prevent.
* ComeBackToBedHoney: General Turgidson is called to the War Room, leaving his girlfriend protesting. In keeping with the overall theme of the movie he tells her, "You just start your countdown, and ol' Bucky'll be back before you can say 'BLAST OFF!'"
* ComicallyMissingThePoint:
** After being informed of the ''badness'' of the Doomsday Machine, a world-ending device, Turgidson's first reaction is, "Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines."
** Also played with by one of the moments shortly afterward, as Turgidson [[ExplainExplainOhCrap gleefully details the last bomber's chances... then realises they're screwed.]]
** Another Turgidson one comes when Plan R is in danger of causing the end of the world, and he says that the reliability of it (and the psychological screening process given to those who can enable the Plan that theoretically ''isn't supposed to allow this situation to happen in the first place'') shouldn't be written off after a "single incident".
** [=DeSadesky=] is going to be trapped with the US officials or left to die in the upcoming radioactive wasteland. He still sneaks photographs of the Big Board after this is a foregone conclusion, even though the photos would be obsolete and he'd die long before he could deliver them anyway -- symbolic of the pointlessness of the war, and its probable continuation.
* TheComicallySerious: Pretty much everyone, but General Ripper and Col. Bat Guano take the cake.
* CompensatingForSomething: The entire message in one sentence: "Men make war to prove they have big dicks and it'll destroy the world now that there are nuclear weapons." In particular, General Ripper launches World War III specifically to compensate for his own sexual impotence, which he has blamed on the Soviets using InsaneTrollLogic.
* CoolGuns: General Ripper carries a Browning M1919 in his golf bag. He also has a Lancaster Pistol on his gun wall.
* ConspiracyTheorist: General Jack D. Ripper, with his belief that the Communists are poisoning American drinking water.
* CoolShades: Dr. Strangelove's teashades.
* {{Corpsing}}: If you look carefully, you can see Peter Bull (the Russian ambassador) shaking with barely controlled mirth and biting his own lip as Sellers fights with his EvilHand.
* CrazyPrepared:
** Ambassador [[MeaningfulName DeSadesky]] accuses General Turgidson of trying to plant a SpyCam on him, and is later shown with another spy camera. This means that either Turgidson always carries a spy camera in case of such an eventuality, or the Russian ambassador carried ''two'' spy cameras.
** The survival kit carried by the crew of ''The Leper Colony''. There's a season's worth of Series/MacGyver material in there (not to mention that you could have a pretty good weekend in [[strike:[[TooSoon Dallas]]]] Vegas with all that stuff). Doubles as AluminumChristmasTrees, since it was based almost entirely on real USAF pilot survival kits.
** The collection of Attack Plans kept aboard each B-52 in a safe provide instruction for every possible scenario that could be played out in a nuclear exchange. TruthInTelevision.
** General Ripper (emphasis on crazy), commander of an Air Force base, casually carries a machine gun in his golf bag, handy for additional holes.
* CriticalResearchFailure: In-universe. [=DeSadesky=] explains that the Soviets built their machine because they feared a "Doomsday-gap" when they "discovered" that the Americans were building one. When the US President refutes that as a ludicrous fantasy, the ambassador replies that [[EpicFail their source]] was the ''New York Times.''
* TheCuckoolanderWasRight: General Turgidson comes off like an unhinged paranoid goofball, but darned if he isn't right about the Russian ambassador spying in the War Room.
* CutHimselfShaving: Guano ironically lampshades it against Mandrake when he is informed of Ripper's death.
* DancinInTheRuins: While he's relatively restrained about it, Dr. Strangelove seems quite pleased to have the opportunity to put his survival plans into action. General Turgidson also sees the bright side of having a harem of women with whom to start repopulating the world.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mandrake, as the OnlySaneMan, gets designated snarker status for this film. Strangelove himself has his moments as well.
* DeathByAdaptation: Life on Earth as we know it! In the novel ''Red Alert'', the lone bomber fails to destroy its target and nuclear catastrophe is averted.
* DecapitatedArmy: "Plan R" is designed to subvert this contingency; if Washington leadership is incapacitated, regional commanders have the authority to launch a counter-attack.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: By 1963, color was the standard. The black-and-white photography was a deliberate artistic choice.
* TheDeterminator: Major Kong and the rest of the crew of ''The Leper Colony''.
* DirtyCommunists: Satirizing this trope is one the central tenets of the film. But the Soviets themselves are openly lampooned as well.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** Pretty much what sets the plot in motion; General Ripper believes that Russians are fluoridating his drinking water.
** The DoomsdayDevice is designed and built to respond to an attack -- any attack of any magnitude -- with the detonation of so much salted nuclear ordnance that the surface of the Earth will be sterilized of all life with the possible exception of the cockroach.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The opening scene, of a B-52 re-fuelling in mid-air (which really looks like two planes screwing) set to an instrumental version of "Try A Little Tenderness", no less. Interestingly, it was taken from stock footage that title sequence designer Pablo Ferro simply discovered and made one of cinema's most memorable opening scenes.
** A more subtle form of symbolism: chewing gum represents the upcoming war. Mandrake forlornly fidgets with a stick of chewing gum while sitting on Ripper's couch, while Turgidson gobbles down stick after stick of gum with aplomb.
* DoomsdayDevice
-->'''Gen. Turgidson:''' Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines\\
'''Strangelove:''' We briefly investigated making a similar machine ourselves. Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent ... for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious.
* DoubleVision: Scenes with Strangelove and Muffley in the same frame are either in long shot (the whole table) or with one character shot from behind.
* DoUntoOthersBeforeTheyDoUntoUs: Ripper claims he's giving the US the best kind of head start he can.
* DownerEnding: Despite the attempts of both sides, a single nuclear warhead passes through, triggering a doomsday machine which fills the Earth with nuclear explosions and fallout. The final scene is a series of mushroom clouds, accompanied with the song "We'll Meet Again". [[BlackComedy And yet, it still remains hilarious.]]
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Ripper informs the personnel of the Air Force Base that "commie enemies" may pull this, and the defenders discuss it later when the forces sent by the US President are attacking them.
* DrivenToSuicide: Ripper's fate. He does it because he is not sure he could trust himself to not give up the code to call The Wing back if he is in fact given "[[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques a pretty good working over]]."
* DumbassHasAPoint: When Mandrake is trying to reach the President by placing a ''collect'' call, he's told they won't accept, so he tries bumming 55 cents off of Guano... who rightfully points out "You don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do you?"
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [[RidingTheBomb Riding a nuke]] all the way to the target, whooping and hollering like a cowboy all the way down and [[ApocalypseWow ending the world]] is about as awesome as a death gets! It's one of the most memorable (and parodied) scenes in the film.
* EitherOrTitle: A well-known [[FollowTheLeader (and well-parodied)]] example.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The Doomsday Machine goes off and wipes out all human and animal life on the planet.
* EnemyMine: President Muffley brings the Soviets into the loop as soon as he is informed of the peril. Turgidson is dismayed, instead urging that the United States launch an all-out attack now that Ripper has committed it to war.
* EverythingExplodesEnding: The film ends in this precise manner, in a very BlackComedy sense.
* EvilChancellor: Dr. Strangelove essentially marginalizes Muffley and seduces Turgidson in the climax, seizing power himself.
* EvilHand: Dr. Strangelove has one, which seems to act on Strangelove's violent and Nazi subconscious. The portrayal was so influential that the real life condition [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_hand_syndrome "alien hand syndrome"]] is also known as "Dr. Strangelove Syndrome".
* EvilLaugh: Dr. Strangelove has a broken way of laughing on occasion that sits comfortably between Un-Evil and just plain Evil.
* ExactTimeToFailure: Justified, as a crewman on the bomber calculates how much flying time they have left after the missile explosion causes a fuel leak. Even then he has to adjust his timetable when the fuel leak grows mid-flight.
* ExplainExplainOhCrap: When President Muffley asks General Turgidson whether the remaining bomber has a chance to reach its target, Turgidson enthusiastically describes the crew's skill and technique and concludes by declaring "Hell, ye-!.. y-... y-..." -- realizing [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the implications]].
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: The film takes place over less than a day.
* FailsafeFailure:
** The Doomsday Machine is deliberately Fail Deadly. Otherwise it wouldn't be much of a Doomsday Machine, as Strangelove [[LampshadeHanging points out]]. Unfortunately it didn't occur to the Soviets to tell anyone about the device well after it became operational, rendering it a complete liability as Strangelove once again points out (though they were planning on announcing it the following Monday, because the premier "loves surprises").
--> '''But, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost....if you KEEP IT A SECRET! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL THE WORLD, EH?!"
** Muffley was assured by Turgidson that "Plan R" had safeguards against a rogue launch. Turgidson is reluctant to admit the failure and argues its reliability shouldn't be written off after a single incident.
* FanService: Precisely one female character appears in this movie. General Turgidson's mistress and secretary, heard in one scene and seen in a bikini in another. She is also a ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' centrefold.
* TheFantasticTropeOfWonderousTitles
* AFatherToHisMen: When the base falls, Ripper feels let down and remarks that the soldiers were like his children. It rings as true as anything else he says. Mandrake manages to obliquely mock him.
-->'''Mandrake:''' I'm sure they all died thinking of you, every man jack of them... Jack.
** Major Kong is also an example, telling his men that they all deserve promotions and citations regardless of their race, color or creed.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: This was based on a novel by Peter George called ''Red Alert'' and was originally conceived as a straightforward drama. During the development of the script, Kubrick and company realized the potential for satire in the story and completely overhauled it. George subsequently wrote a {{Novelization}} of the finished film: a RecursiveAdaptation.
* FogOfWar: The Soviets are unable to detect the last B-52, ''The Leper Colony'', because it is flying so low. The Americans urge them to concentrate the search around the assigned targets, but the crew switches them for targets of opportunity and fly at low altitude to escape detection.
* {{Foil}}:
** Ripper and Turgidson are both high-ranking generals, one goes rogue and has intimacy issues, the other stays loyal and is clearly a horn dog. The twist comes in their mannerisms; while Ripper is crazy, he sounds calm, collected, and soft-spoken. Turgidson makes a lot of rational points, but he is a stirred LargeHam who sounds deranged. Judging by the body language and demeanor of both men alone, Ripper would look the saner one.
** The energetic warmonger Turgidson also acts as a more direct foil to the mild, meek, and emasculated President Muffley.
* ForeverWar: Implied; the jingoist generals and advisors are planning AfterTheEnd schemes to maintain the status-quo of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, prevent Soviet expansionism and a "mine-shaft gap". Reinforced by the use of "[[WeWillMeetAgain We'll Meet Again]]" over the final ApocalypticMontage.
* FreudWasRight:
** Invoked by the film itself. A central theme of the movie is the portrayal of sexual symbolism as more than symbolism; Kubrick transparently paraphrases Clausewitz as in "war is the continuation of sex by other means". Specific examples include:
** Bat Guano thinks everything is some kind of "preversion", and ironically his stupidity carries some meta-truth.
* FromBadToWorse: Anything that could go wrong in the prevention of the end of the world, does.
* FunnyForeigner: Peter Sellers portray two such characters: a stuffy British military commander and the former Nazi expert Dr. Strangelove, who both speak in ditto heavy accents.
* GallowsHumor: Given that it was made against the real-life backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which nuclear war was a genuine possibility, much of the film's humor would have qualified at the time. Many contemporary viewers called "DudeNotFunny" -- to the point that some scenes had to be cut or edited.
* GambitPileUp: General Ripper, Premier Kissov, and Dr. Strangelove all have competing plans that lead to the film's events.
* GeneralRipper: TropeNamer, obviously. Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, goes mental and launches an attack on his {{archenemy}}, communist USSR.
* {{Gendercide}}: Implied after the end. With the nuclear holocaust imminent, Government leaders plan to hole up in mineshaft shelters with 10 women for every man. Gen. Turgidson is very excited at this prospect, provided the US doesn't suffer a "mineshaft gap". When you think about it they seem to be suggesting a pretty squicky prospect where every man will have ten sex slaves (beauty was mentioned as the main criteria), and women have little function other than breeding. It would be interesting to see what would happen after the women realized their odds would be ten to one.
* GeniusBreedingAct: Dr. Strangelove proposes a plan for surviving nuclear war that involves preserving the best of humanity in bunkers. Men would be chosen based on their leadership capabilities and wisdom, women based on their appearance and reproductive capacity. The government figures, all of whom are men, are immediately on board with this plan.
* GeniusCripple: Doctor Strangelove, although he regained the ability to walk a second before the world ended.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** Honed to an art form. Almost everything is a sexual reference of some kind if you look hard enough -- Kong's target (Laputa), Buck Turgidson's name, Jack D. Ripper (the murderer UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper mutilated women's sexual organs), Merkin Muffley (both names alluding to [[CountryMatters female pubic hair]]), etc. etc. See VisualInnuendo below, also.
** A specific example, late in the film, is a scene where you can tell from Dr. Strangelove's dialogue and reactions that his EvilHand is clearly doing something ... ''unsavory'' just out of frame. Apparently in his lap.
* GoldenMeanFallacy: Spoofed when General Turgidson tells the President that if they execute ''his'' nuclear strike plan, only ''millions'' of people will be annihilated instead of billions, which isn't too bad. (This "joke" is later used more seriously in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''.)
* GoneHorriblyRight: Kubrick’s primary aim in making this movie was to [[{{Satire}} satirize]] nuclear deterrence theory by demonstrating the inherent craziness of consciously abdicating control over nuclear weapons. Plan R is established to ensure the US has second strike capability even if the President and executive branch are eliminated in a nuclear strike. General Ripper [[{{Deconstruction}} takes this to its extreme conclusion]] by deciding the President should be denied nuclear authority ''altogether'', and that the military (i.e., General Ripper) should decide when to start a nuclear war. From there, Plan R works perfectly, as the pilots shut off all communication with the US and focus on their targets in the Soviet Union. Likewise, the Doomsday Machine works exactly as planned: automatic and irrevocable nuclear retaliation against the United States following an initial nuclear attack.
** Within the context of the film, employing Strangelove for his scientific acumen leads to the downfall of American democracy.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: A downplayed example -- General Ripper won't allow himself to ejaculate during sex (the fear of losing his 'essence' is the motivating factor for his insane behavior, and he came to this conclusion after finding himself unable to perform at least once); on the other hand, General [[MeaningfulName Turgid]]son has a relatively normal relationship with his SexySecretary and is not much better.
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: A perplexing example with Dr. Strangelove himself; when he tries to enjoy a cigarette, his EvilHand keeps trying to remove it from his mouth. This is almost certainly an oblique reference to the Nazi's attempts to discourage smoking [[JerkAssHasAPoint because they thought it was detrimental to the health]].
* GovernmentDrugEnforcement: What GeneralRipper fears fluoridation has become.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The Americans and Soviets aren't that different: despite the crisis is told from the American point of view (which allows for a more direct satirization of the Western power), no side is really meant to be the good guys, as they both indulge in highly morally questionable behaviour (The Soviets build a DoomsdayDevice which is bad enough, only to compound things by not telling the Americans about it, while the American Plan R is simply a manual DoomsdayDevice that's also designed to fail in a deadly fashion, and they're using an obvious Nazi as a science advisor). They try to avert the catastrophe, yet each side is just as scheming or conniving or manipulative as the other, constantly harping on about various "gaps" (missile, doomsday, mineshaft, etc), and even after causing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, they just can't take a step back, look at themselves, and wonder how much of this is their own fault.
* GutturalGrowler: Gen. Turgidson. He is played by George C. Scott, after all.
* HeWhoMustNotBeSeen: The Soviet premier. Not only not seen, but not heard either. Sellers does a Newhart-style telephone gag where, though you only hear President Merkin's side of the conversation, it's pretty clear what "Dmitri" is saying.
-->'''Merkin:''' 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 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.
* HerrDoctor: Strangelove is an ex-Nazi MadScientist who became a U.S. operative after the war. He has trouble shaking his old ways, to the point that he addresses the President (played by the same actor) with "Mein Fuehrer". With elements of MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate.
* HiroshimaAsAUnitOfMeasure: "Each B-52 can deliver a nuclear bomb load of 50 megatons, equal to 16 times the total explosive force of all the bombs and shells used by all the armies in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII".
* HitlerCam: Gen. Ripper is shot this way during the scene where he delivers his insane rant about "our precious bodily fluids".
* HollywoodDarkness: Early in the film, an establishing shot of Burpleson Air Force Base. It's easy to miss, given the heavy use of {{chiaroscuro}} throughout the film, except for visibly bright window lights and the airfield flood lights being lit.
* HookHand: The wheelchair-bound Dr. Strangelove is a type of "mad scientist" whose eccentricities include a severe case of alien hand syndrome, so that his right hand, clad in an ominous black leather glove, variously attempts to strangle Strangelove or make the Nazi salute.
* HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday: When the radio operator checks the code in his book, one can briefly see "Valid: 13 September 1963" on the top of the page. Yep, you guessed it -- the date was [[ThirteenIsUnlucky Friday the 13th]].
* HotLine: Not actually the Moscow-Washington line, but rather an ordinary phone. Which is even worse. Considering the nature of the ensuing conversation, as well as the entire film itself, that is very, very likely intentional.
* HypocriticalHumor:
** No fighting allowed in the War Room.
** SAC's motto "Peace Is Our Profession" is offhandedly highlighted by the camera angle several times; when Ripper explains how he's "preventing" WorldWarIII with his first-strike and later when the soldiers are fighting for the base.
** Turgidson being both a religious man and, assuming he's married, an adulterer in the same phrase while he is talking to his secretary/mistress. If he's not married, he's just commiting a different sin, fornication rather than adultery.
** The Soviet ambassador not supporting "imperialist stooges". He's quickly called out by the person offering him the object of offense (a Jamaican cigar) when the man says "Only Commie stooges, eh?" Note that the ambassador had asked for a Cuban cigar before being offered the Jamaican cigar.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: Before kicking the bucket, Ripper remarks that he knows he'll have to answer in the afterlife for what he did and that he thinks he can.
* {{Improv}}:
** Kubrick used three cameras to shoot his Dr. Strangelove scenes so the best material could be edited together; most famously, much of the hotline telephone monologue is said to be improvised, as is the behavior of his Evil Hand in the second-to-last scene.
** When Sellers is doing the aforementioned evil hand scene, you can see the guy who plays the Russian ambassador trying his hardest not to burst into fits of laughter, complete with shaking and much biting of the lip.
** In the final scene, Dr. Strangelove suddenly stands up and screams "I can walk!" delightedly. Supposedly, Sellers forgot that Strangelove was supposed to be a cripple, and shouted out the line to cover his mistake.
* InsaneAdmiral: General Ripper.
* InsaneTrollLogic: What led Ripper to first suspect the Communists of trying to "sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids" through fluoridation. "A profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed." So sex = loss of 'essence'! Fluoridation starts in 1946 = part of postwar [[DirtyCommies commie conspiracy!]] [[ConspiracyTheorist It all makes sense!]] The commies are, of course, immune to their own plot, as they only drink pure vodka and would never, under any circumstances, drink water in the first place.
* InstructionalTitle
* InterrogatedForNothing: When GeneralRipper is realizing he's about to be arrested for treason and tortured for the recall codes, he suddenly asks Mandrake if he's ever been tortured as a war prisoner. Mandrake explains that he was captured and tortured by the Japanese during World War II. When asked if he talked, he explains they didn't seem to want any information. [[spoiler: Ripper kills himself shortly afterward.]] It's all funnier than it sounds.
* {{Irony}}: Of the comedic variety, as the auto-destruct button "got hit and blew itself up".
* IrrevocableOrder: The entire plot, as the general puts the base on lockdown. Played with in that they do manage to revoke it, but by then one plane is too damaged to receive the recall.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Everything General Turgidson says sounds deranged, but it's mostly factually correct.
* JustBeforeTheEnd: The film takes place at the climax of a LensmanArmsRace and ends with the Doomsday Device destroying the world.
* JustPlaneWrong: Averted: not only was the B-52 correct in exterior shots (save for casting the shadow of a B-17), the B-52's cockpit avionics, especially the arming console, shown were so accurate that the Air Force freaked out (the bomber's interior was still classified). As it happened, Kubrick and his crew had simply done an amazing job of extrapolation.
* KubrickStare: General Ripper.
* LameExcuse: Lionel Mandrake - "I'd love to come, Jack, but you see, the thing is, the string's...gone out...in my leg!" A literal Lame Excuse.
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: "Premier Kissov is a man of the people, but he is also ''a man,'' if you know what I mean."
* LampshadeHanging: [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]]: It was impossible to launch a wing of B-52s on an irrevocable mission, and the movie acknowledges this, not to [[ShownTheirWork show their work]] but to calm potential hysterical moviegoers down.
* LargeHam: George C. Scott originally gave a subtle portrayal of Colonel Turgidson. Before filming each scene, Kubrick would tell him to do one take over the top to help entertain the crew. Almost the entire performance that made it into the film was made of these takes. It works. It works ''so hard''. Notably, Scott was very upset at which takes were used, as he had been assured that his 'serious' takes would be ones used.
** Dr. Strangelove in dealing with his "evil hand". Even Turgidson is sitting there silently dumbfounded at Strangelove's behavior.
* LawfulStupid: Col. "Bat" Guano initially refuses to let Mandrake break into a vending machine to get the change he needs to call the President even though the latter is trying to ''prevent a nuclear holocaust''. Even after giving in Guano sternly insists he will "have to answer to the Coca Cola company".
* LeftItIn: This is how Stanley Kubrick managed to convince George C. Scott to be so over-the-top in his role as General Turgidson. Scott wanted to play him as a noble yet tragic character despite the film being a comedy. So Kubrick would encourage him to do "warmup" takes in preparation for the real thing. The over-the-top takes thus were used in the actual movie, and hilarity was held by all, except Scott. Scott then swore to never work with Kubrick again, even though he admired the sneaky genius of it.
* {{Leitmotif}}: 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home' plays whenever Major Kong's B-52 appears. It could, knowing Kubrick, also be a musical DoubleEntendre on the much, ''much'' darker '[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_I_Hardly_Knew_Ye Johnny I hardly knew ya]]'.
* LensmanArmsRace: The Doomsday Weapon was built by the Americans to reach an unsurpassable upper hand over the Soviets. However, General Ripper launches his attack on Russia before the weapon is announced, creating the Foregone Conclusion to the movie. And a nuclear holocaust can't stop the arms race, because now the Americans have to move people into mine shafts as they wait out the radioactivity on the surface. Fearing the Soviets will move more people into mine shafts and have superior numbers when they emerge, Buck Turgidson declares, "We can't allow a mine shaft gap!"
* LetNoCrisisGoToWaste: Turgidson's initial suggestion; commit to a full attack while the Americans have the upper hand and win the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. This is exactly what Ripper was planning, of course.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: Peter Sellers plays three roles. He was originally slated to play Major Kong, but broke his ankle during filming and [[IncrediblyLamePun the part was recast]]. Sellers also had trouble with the accent.
* TheLoinsSleepTonight: Implied to be the reason General Ripper went nuts with the "precious bodily fluids" and all.
* LongTitle: The film's full title, ''Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb''.
* MadnessMantra:
** "Purity Of Essence" mixed with "Peace On Earth", for GeneralRipper.
** The novelization changes this to "Joe For King" -- supposedly a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII slogan referencing [[UsefulNotes/JosefStalin Joe Stalin]] when he was an ally, but of course we know [[UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy who the initials really refer to]].
* MadScientist: The dear doctor is a ShoutOut to Rotwang from ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' and classical {{Stock Character}}s.
* {{Malaproper}}: Bat Guano gets it all wrong, even on a verbal level.
-->'''Bat Guano:''' I think you're a deviated ''prevert''. Gen. Ripper found out about your ''preversion'' and that you're organizing some kind of mutiny of ''preverts''. If you try any of your ''preversions'' in there, I'll blow your head off.
* MarkedBullet: The bombs in the bomb bay of the B-52 had "Hi There!" (this is the one Kong rode to his death on) and "Dear John" scrawled on them.
* MeaningfulName: Just about every name in the film has some sort of suggestive connotation regarding sexuality, playing on the film's theme that war is fueled by masculine sexual urges. (See also PunnyName, below.)
** General Turgidson is a horn-dog whose name refers to a "turgid" erection.
** Group Captain Mandrake is a voice of reason, and his name refers to the Mandrake root, which can resemble a human figure and which (when ingested) acts as a hallucinogen. In certain ancient texts, it's referred to as an aphrodisiac.
** General Jack D. Ripper is motivated by sexual frustration (he's afraid of losing his "essence" through ejaculation) to spread destruction and is named for the misogynistic serial killer UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper.
** And President [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin Merkin]] [[http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=muff Muffley]] is a pussy.
** Colonel "Bat" Guano is "batshit" insane. His MeaningfulName is lampshaded by Mandrake, who asks him if his name is real. What's really surprising is that the name was improvised by Sellers.
** The target for the bomber is Laputa. La puta is Spanish for "the whore". Doubles as a ShoutOut to ''Literature/GulliversTravels''.
** The Russian ambassador's name [=DeSadesky=] refers to the outrageous Creator/MarquisDeSade, trope namer of the [[{{Sadist}} sexual tendency]].
** The Soviet Premier is named Kissov ("kiss off" and/or "piss off")
** And let's not forget the multiple potential interpretations of "Strangelove".
* MilitaryAlphabet:
** Most famously "Wing Attack Plan R for Romeo." Also used by the bomber crew. Major Kong's accent could be a shining example of why a phonetic alphabet is useful.
** General Ripper uses "R for Robert" when speaking to Mandrake on the phone. The Royal Air Force commonly used a different phonetic alphabet (including R for Robert) until adopting the NATO standard in the late 1950s -- shortly before the events of the film. Since Group Captain Mandrake is a former RAF fighter pilot, Ripper may use it for Mandrake's convenience. Or maybe it's only an oversight filmed before someone could do the research.
* MilkmanConspiracy: General Ripper tries to start nuclear war with the Russians over one such conspiracy. While tampering with our water supply would be a good way to deal a lethal blow to major population centers in the United States, Ripper comes to the conclusion that the Russians are doing this because when he tried having sex his "essence" was denied exit from his body. If he had seen people dying or getting sick from drinking water then there would be some validity to Ripper's claim, but as it stands The General brought on nuclear war with Russia just because he couldn't get it up.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: General Turdgidson enthusiastically reports an unofficial analysis for the contigency summarizing that the United States would suffer reduced ''megadeaths'' (20M vs 150M) if they capitalize on the situation and commit to a full attack.
* MoodDissonance: It's hard not to root for the crew of ''The Leper Colony'', even with the knowledge that when they succeed, they've doomed the world.
* MrExposition: General Turgidson and Doctor Strangelove are advisors who explain most of the strategical and technical details to [[TheWatson the President]], and to the audience by extension.
* MutuallyAssuredDestruction: Turgidson thinks it can be averted with a pre-emptive strike since the United States has a five-to-one missile superiority. Enforced once the Doomsday Machine comes into play as an involuntary SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum.
* MyGodYouAreSerious: Major Kong's first reaction to being told Plan R is to tell his crew to stop horsing around. He sobers up really quickly.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Whoever thought that putting a General Jack D. Ripper in control of the nuclear launch codes was a good idea?
* NaturalizedName: Dr. Strangelove is a German immigrant. When someone mentions that the name "Strangelove" doesn't really sound German, another character reveals that it was originally "Merkwürdigliebe" (literally means "strange love"), but he anglicized it after moving to the US.
--> '''Turgidson:''' Well, a Kraut by any other name, eh, Stainsley?
* NewhartPhoneCall: The conversation between President Muffley and Premier Kissov. We only hear President Muffley's side, but from the way he has to keep explaining things in simple terms and nudging the conversation back on topic, it's clear that (as the Soviet ambassador warned) Kissov is thoroughly drunk.
* NiceHat: Major Kong replaces his flight helmet with a cowboy hat when he thinks that thermonuclear war is in progress.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** President Muffley has some similarities to Adlai Stevenson. Gens. Ripper and Turgidson could both be seen as caricaturing different aspects of real-life USAF General Curtis [=LeMay=]. Ripper also draws inspiration from Army General Edwin Walker, who distributed John Birch Society literature to his troops and became a right-wing demagogue after resigning.
** Strangelove himself has aspects of several real-life nuclear scientists, but his obvious (if never stated) Nazi past specifically evokes Wernher von Braun. ArthurCClarke, who knew both Creator/StanleyKubrick and Wernher von Braun, reported that Kubrick once asked him to "tell Wernher I wasn't getting at him". Clarke adds, "I never did because, firstly, I didn't believe him, and secondly, even if Stanley wasn't, Peter Sellers certainly was."
** Other scientists upon whom the Strangelove character was based were Herman Kahn, Edward Teller and John von Neumann. While many assume Henry Kissinger was an inspiration, Kubrick and Sellers both denied it, and Kissinger's background (he was neither a rocket scientist nor an ex-Nazi) wouldn't fit the character anyway.[[note]]Kissinger did however inspire the similar character of Dr. Groetschle in ''Film/FailSafe'', who fits Kissinger's background and personality to a T.[[/note]]
* NoEnding: Dr. Strangelove suddenly stand up out of his wheelchair, scream "Mein Führer... I CAN WALK", and suddenly cut to a few atomic explosions to the tune of Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again".
* NoOffButton: The DoomsdayDevice will automatically detonate if anyone attempts to shut it off. In this case, the designers of the device [[JustifiedTrope built it like this intentionally]], and to them it made sense. It's meant as the ultimate, permanent deterrent to nuclear warfare; if there were any way to stop it once it's turned on, it wouldn't be able to carry out its function. It wouldn't have needed an off switch if not for a few miscommunications.
* NoodleImplements: The survival kit -- which was based entirely on real survival kits of the second world war.
* NoSenseOfPersonalSpace: As Ripper gets drunk, he starts getting uncomfortably close and hands-on toward Mandrake, suggesting a [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation possible]] [[ArmoredClosetGay explanation]] for his sexual issues.
* NothingPersonal: Used in the second sense - "You just can't expect a bunch of ignorant peons to understand a machine like some of our our boys - and that's not meant as an insult Mr Ambassador."
* ANuclearError:
-->'''President Muffley:''' 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.
* OhCrap: Two ExplainExplainOhCrap realizations:
** Under normal circumstances, a commander would be proud of his own units getting to its target against all odds. In this scenario, it means the end of the World as we know it. Gen. Turgidson misses this point for a while, gushing on about the toughness and skill of the surviving B-52 bomber and its crew. Finally, Pres. Muffley cuts in and asks directly: (on reaching the target and dropping a bomb, even through the entire Soviet air defense grid) "Has he got a chance?" Turgidson: "Has he got a chance? HELL YE...ye...y..." Turgidson's realization face [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxLe8MWdWe0 is priceless]].
** When Mandrake realizes what's happened.
--->'''Mandrake''': Well, I'm afraid I'm still not with you, sir, because, I mean, if a Russian attack was not in progress, then your use of Plan R -- in fact, your order to the entire wing... [{{beat}}] Oh. I would say, sir, that there were something dreadfully wrong somewhere.
** Ambassador [=DeSadesky=], when his superiors tell him that the Doomsday Machine has just been installed.
* TheOneThingIDontHateAboutYou:
** Mandrake laments his [[InterrogatedForNothing treatment]] in a Japanese POW camp, but admits that the Japanese do make bloody good cameras.
** Downplayed by Turgidson, who despises the Russians but tries to balance the scolding with a fair compliment.
--->'''Turgidson''': The Russki talks big, but frankly, we think he's short of know-how. You can't expect a bunch of ignorant peons to understand a machine like our boys. And that's not meant as an insult to you, Mr. Ambassador. I mean, we all know how much guts the average Russki's got. Look at all of them the Nazis killed off; they still wouldn't quit!
* OnlySaneMan:
** Mandrake, at the base; Muffley, in the War Room; and most ironically the bomber crew (save, perhaps, for Kong).
** Played with Strangelove himself. Despite the Dead Hand Syndrome, there's a brief scene with the president demanding to know who would create a doomsday device; the camera lingers on Strangelove, calmly smoking in the shadow, the president off-screen. A few minutes from later, Strangelove casually suggests the mine shaft survival plan, a new system of government, including who lives and who dies. For all intents and purposes, he takes over the US government right then and there, in front of its actual leaders, who are oblivious. Nobody said the OnlySaneMan has to be a good person. He looks and speaks like a WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes character, but everything he says is coldly rational.
** [=DeSadesky=] considers himself one among the Soviet leadership, and despite his quirks, he's not very off in that regard, calling his colleagues "fools" upon hearing they did implement the Doomsday machine, much to his dismay. (Though he still wastes his time on photographing the Big Board even after it's clear that the nuclear war's already happening.)
** Muffley is also clearly a sane man, with a clear understanding of how horrible the situation is, but is woefully incapable of handling it.
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Strangelove's LargeHam behavior is so [[ObfuscatingInsanity distracting]] that it's jarring during a brief shot of him in shadow, calmly smoking while the others wonder who set up the Soviet's doomsday device, underscores that Strangelove's the new shadow leader of the western world.
** Turgidson spends much of the film acting like a belligerent and loud jerk, but clams up when he realizes the world may end.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping:
** Peter Sellers' portrayal of American President Muffley noticeably lapses into English pronunciation during the Doomsday scene. The supposedly Soviet Ambassador (played by the also-British Peter Bull) was a lost cause from the beginning.
** Back when Sellers was still supposed to play Major "King" Kong, he complained of the considerable trouble he had affecting a Texan accent and likely would have run afoul of this trope had the role not been recast with Slim Pickens.
* OpeningScroll: The film opens with an opening scroll which was a basic disclaimer telling patrons that the film was a cautionary tale.
* OperationBlank: Turgidson tells the President that the bombers in Ripper's wing were airborne "as part of a special exercise we were holding called Operation Drop-Kick".
* OralFixation: General Ripper is a CigarChomper. The Freudian aspect is to some extent lampshaded (or at least made all the more obvious) by his obsession with, um, precious bodily fluids.
* OrchestralBombing: And [[MoneyMakingShot what a bombing]].
* OrganAutonomy: One of Dr. Strangelove's hands has a mind of his own, down to attempting to strangle him, and snapping off Nazi salutes.
* OurPresidentsAreDifferent: Merkin Muffley is no Jack Kennedy. President strawman for the most part, Peter Sellers and caricature go hand in hand, taken to the extreme during the phone call with his Russian counterpart. The man is compassionate and softspoken, but he comes off as weak, which is underscored by his baldness, poor eyesight and voice, affected by a cold in some scenes. To his credit, he's able to shut down Turgidson's gung-ho suggestions and is a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who takes the right decisions. These HiddenDepths are modelled after Adlai Stevenson's.
* ParodyNames: The BLAND Corporation. A parody of the RealLife [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAND_Corporation RAND Corporation]]. Talk about a BlandNameProduct.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Mandrake is able to guess the OverrideCommand code because Ripper's madness had it spelled all over the place.
* PayPhone: Mandrake has to relay the recall code to the Pentagon on one of these, and naturally finds he doesn't have enough change. Fortunately a vending machine is conveniently nearby.
-->'''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 the gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit!
-->'''Guano:''' Okay. I'm gonna get your money for you. 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:''' [[LawfulStupid You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company.]]
* PermissionToSpeakFreely: General Turgidson asks the President for permission to speak freely, then proceeds to actively question the Russians' grasp of technical know-how, visibly angering the present Russian ambassador by calling them 'ignorant peons'.
* PointlessDoomsdayDevice: The Soviets activated the Doomsday Machine before they told anyone about it, eliminating the whole point of its role as a deterrent from nuclear war. Dr. Strangelove points this out, and the Soviet ambassador counters that they were saving its announcement for a special occasion (See AsYouKnow above).
* PoorCommunicationKills: Mandrake has problems reaching the president to recall the bombers, he finds a PayPhone, but has not enough pocket change and a brief [[SeparatedByACommonLanguage issue with British vs American terms]]. Finally, one of the bombers cannot be recalled via the OverrideCommand because its communication system has been destroyed. Armageddon ensues. And of course, the Soviets didn't tell the world about their DoomsdayDevice because their premier "loves surprises". It's even enforced by BigBad General Ripper, whose first action in launching his nuclear attack on Russia is ordering his staff to hand over all their radios (so they won't know he's lying and that the Russians aren't actually attacking).
** Interestingly, while the Pentagon stated that pretty much the entire scenario depicted was absurd and could never happen, they ''did'' decide that the pay phone scene raised some important questions about whether information could be gotten to the right people fast enough in an emergency.
* PragmaticVillainy: The United States ruled out building a nefarious device like the Soviet DoomsdayDevice only because they realized that such a device is not a practical deterrent and could come back to bite them hard.
* ProperlyParanoid: General Turgidson on the Russian ambassador, who takes a photo of TheBigBoard with a [[SpyCam camera disguised as a pocket watch]] (or a pocket watch with an integrated camera) at the end. It's ambiguous if the miniature camera really was his or if Turgidson actually planted it on him.
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: Rvery scene of the bomber crew is accompanied by an orchestral arrangement of ''When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again/Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya'', two folksongs which share a tune, but very different tones.
* PunnyName: Many of them.
** General Jack D. Ripper is [[UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper self-explanatory]].
** A merkin is a pubic wig often seen in burlesque. "Muff" is slang for vagina. With President Merkin Muffley, the film basically admits that one of its most well-meaning characters is, in schoolyard terms, a pussy.
** Guano is bat droppings collected for use as fuel, so Col. Bat Guano = "batshit insane".
** "Alexei de Sadeski" just puts a stock Russian suffix on [[Creator/MarquisDeSade "de Sade"]].
* QuintessentialBritishGentleman: Group Captain Mandrake.
* TheRadioDiesFirst: Invoked by Ripper with the base lockdown; he even impounds civilian radios. Straight example in the CRM-114, the communications device onboard the "Leper Colony".
* RadioSilence: General Ripper issues radio silence on his airbase, making his men think that they're under attack. After Captain Mandrake, while shutting off his own radio, discovers that civilian stations are still broadcasting music, he gradually begins to realize that there is no emergency at all, and Ripper is deliberately trying to fool the airbase into starting World War III.
* RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic: Averted with a vengeance. It's especially noticeable in President Merkin's phone call to the Soviet premier, like a cross between SickeninglySweethearts, NoYouHangUpFirst, and CasualDangerDialogue, projecting a ridiculous image of Muffley.
* RealityIsUnrealistic:
** The B-52 scenes were filmed in Britain. The film crew thought that Slim Pickens was putting on the 'Texan' accent, and someone on the crew expressed surprise when he spoke that way after a shoot, until being informed that that was the way he normally spoke. He wasn't 'putting on' an accent.
** Slim's accent wasn't even Texan, but rather "California Okie," an odd blend that occurred when Dust Bowlers relocated from Oklahoma and North Texas to California during the Great Depression. It has since died out in its "true" form, but has influenced most modern California accents, especially NorCal.
* RealSongThemeTune:
** For its opening theme tune, the film uses a lush arrangement of the old standard "Try a Little Tenderness" over B-52 aerial refueling footage, turning it into machine porn.
** Closing the film with stock footage of nuclear explosions overlaid with Very Lynn singing "We'll Meet Again" is also quite memorable.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: President Merkin Muffley acts like a wimp, but isn't gung ho about nuclear annihilation, keeps a level head in spite of the event that spiraled out of his control, and tries to be as diplomatic as possible.
* RedAlert: General Ripper puts his base on Condition Red.
* RedRightHand: Dr. Strangelove's uncooperative right hand, which is so iconic that the real-life disease it's based off is sometimes referred to as "Strangelove Syndrome".
* RenegadeRussian: Inverted. The villain is an American renegade who launches a nuclear attack on the Soviets without authorization.
* RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear: Occurs on and off during the conversation between President Muffley and Premier Kisov as Muffley tries to nudge the conversation back on topic after Kisov's [[VodkaDrunkenski drunken digressions]]:
--> Oh, that's much better. 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....
* RevisedEnding: The film famously had an original ending where everyone in the War Room breaks into a pie fight. Creator/StanleyKubrick decided not to end a black comedy with a farce. (Note there are pies on the table in the room).
* RidingTheBomb: Major Kong delivering his payload wildly whipping his Stetson hat around as he plummets to a thermonuclear death and a blaze of glory is the TropeMaker.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: The doodles General Jack D. Ripper writes out on a sheet of paper (Peace On Earth, Purity Of Essence, POE) are not only a key to understanding his conspiratorial paranoia but also an important clue to figuring out the all-important "Recall Launch" codes that can stop World War III.
* RousingSpeech: Parodied. To the crew of a B-52 on a nuclear bombing run into Soviet territory:
--> '''Major Kong''': "(... ) [T]his 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 an' personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for every last one of ya, regardless of your race, color, or your creed. Now, let's get this thing on the hump. We got some flyin' to do."
* RuleOfSymbolism: An odd example, the table at the war room has a green top, like a poker table, implying the leaders are gambling and bluffing with the human race. It doesn't show on screen, as the movie is black and white, but Kubrick insisted on it anyway.
* SanitySlippage: [[CreatorThumbprint Kubrick's thumbprint]]:
** General Ripper at some point in his backstory, as he was able to pass the safeguard tests and Turgidson and Mandrake are surprised by his sudden behavior.
** Dr. Strangelove's Nazi vein comes back enthusiastically at the end, where he becomes an unambiguous [[MadScientist Mad Doctor]].
* ScientistVsSoldier: Admittedly, everyone is equally unsuited for addressing the threat, but the titular doctor actually acknowledges the Cobalt-Thorium G bomb as horrific risk to all life everywhere, while General Buck Turgidson wistfully wishes that the US had one.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: The good doctor is a memorable character, to be sure, but definitely not the main one.
* SecretTest: Mandrake remarks that the Pentagon is going too far testing their readiness, and one of the crewmen speculates that it's a test -- "give the go code, and see who would actually go." Major Kong rejects that possibility.
* SensorSuspense: When the missiles are approaching the nuclear bomber.
* SeriousBusiness: {{Inverted}}. It's the audience who gag at the enormity of the implications. The majority of the characters -- either by circumstance or by training -- are so tunnel-visioned that they [[ComicallyMissingThePoint comically miss the bigger picture]].
* SexIsEvil: General Ripper's insane [[ConspiracyTheories conspiracy theories]] came about after experiencing confusion over sexual intercourse. He didn't know what a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractory_period_%28sex%29 refractory period]] was, and thus interpreted his post-coital exhaustion as [[InsaneTrollLogic the woman stealing his "vital essence."]]
** SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny: But he still finds it important to mention to Mandrake that [[HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday he still sleeps with women,]] he just doesn't "let them have his essence."
* SexySecretary: Turgidson's bikini-clad playmate, Miss Scott.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: A film about the dangers of nuclear Armageddon. I think you can see where this one is going...
* ShortTitleLongElaborateSubtitle
* ShoutOut:
** Strangelove is an {{expy}} of Rotwang from ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' and the black and white chiaroscuros are also a nod to GermanExpressionism.
** The bomber being called ''Leper Colony'' may be a ShoutOut to ''Film/TwelveOClockHigh'' (probably the movie).
* ShownTheirWork: The movie is filled with references to military life and then quite obscure research. Also subverted, what the cockpit of a B-52 looked like was classified, so Kubrick and crew just made what a B-29 would look if the plane was shaped like a B-52. They were so close to correct that they were briefly investigated to make sure there was no spying going on! Also, all the procedures inside the aircraft (e.g. going through the checklists) are absolutely believable.
* SillyReasonForWar: One of the darkest examples ever: Ripper is willing to (unknowingly) ''[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt extinguish all life on Earth]]'' and (''quite willingly'') cause WorldWarThree because he's blaming the Russians for his ''sexual impotence''.
* SlaveToPR: Turgidson suggests to capitalize on the mistake and do a full scale attack. Muffley shuts this down with an aversion of WouldBeRudeToSayGenocide. Turgidson slaps back.
-->'''Muffley:''' You are talking about mass murder, not war [...] I'm not going down in history as the greatest mass murderer since UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler.
-->'''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.
-->'''Muffley:''' General Turgidson, I've heard quite sufficient from you. Thank you very much.
* SlidingScaleOfGenderInequality: The film has precisely one female in the movie, a secretary, who is also a Playboy centrefold.
* SoundtrackDissonance:
** The ending montage, of course.
** In-universe, the playing of pleasant civilian music over the radio during a supposed nuclear attack is what clues Mandrake into Ripper's lie.
* SovietSuperscience: Subverted. The characters initially react as it's a big feat and the ominous name alone reinforces this perception, but Strangelove points out that the Doomsday Machine is within the means of even the smallest nuclear power.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: In Peter George's novelization, Ripper doesn't commit suicide. Instead he escapes at the controls of a plane. Of course, given what happens later we know it's only a temporary reprieve.
* SpyCam: The Russian ambassador is accused of trying to take pictures of the War Room using a camera disguised as a pack of cigarettes. The ambassador claims that the spy camera was planted. It turns out that the ambassador was telling the truth - his spy camera was disguised as his pocket watch (unless you believe that the ambassador brought two hidden cameras with him).
* StealthPun: Dr. Strangelove is strangled by his glove.
* StiffUpperLip: Mandrake for a while, until Bat Guano's obstructionism makes him lose it.
* StockFootage: The film uses archive footage of atomic bombs exploding near the end.
* StraightMan: Peter Sellers plays two of these, oddly enough. His third role more than makes up for it.
* StrawmanPolitical: President Muffley is a well-meaning but ineffectual liberal (look-up the meaning of merkin, or, for that matter, muff) and General Ripper is an insane "John Bircher" conservative.
* StupidestThingIveEverHeard: Pronounced by Major Kong during his initial incredulous reaction when the crew receives the go ahead codes for "Plan R".
* SuicideMission: The middle part of the film, right before Major Kong rides the bomb to oblivion!
* SuperweaponSurprise: The Doomsday Machine, "as you know the Premier loves surprises". It was meant to be announced on ''Monday''.
* SurvivorGuilt: President Muffley discusses it paraphrasing [[HistoryOfTheUSSR Khrushchev]]; Won't "the living envy the dead"? but Strangelove easily dismisses the concept.
* TakingYouWithMe: The Soviets build a cobalt bomb capable of annihilating all life on Earth. It will be set off automatically if anyone makes a nuclear attack on the USSR. Unfortunately, they forget to tell anyone (they were planning on announcing it on the following Monday, because "the Premier loves surprises").
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: The US version has this kind of disclaimer [[note]] It is the stated position of the U.S. Air Force that their safeguards would prevent the occurrence of such events as are depicted in this film. Furthermore, it should be noted that none of the characters portrayed in this film are meant to represent any real persons living or dead.[[/note]]. Actually a subversion or a false reassurance since it conveys the ''stated position'' of the Air Force about the subject but not the acknowledgement of the film makers.
* ThisIsNotADrill:
--> '''Ripper''': Group Captain, I'm afraid this is not an exercise.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Dr. Strangelove is portrayed as a comically bizarre weirdo who is revealed to be completely insane at the very end of the film.
* ThrowingOffTheDisability: "Mein [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Führer]], I Can Walk!"
** It would have been subverted in the original ending, where he collapses immediately afterwards.
* TwoKeyedLock: The pilot, bombadier and electronic warfare officer each have to have to operate the first and second safety switches to arm the bombs.
* UnaccustomedAsIAmToPublicSpeaking: Major Kong reckons he ain't much of a hand at makin' [[RousingSpeech speeches]] but ends up delivering a pretty solid one anyway.
* UnbuiltTrope: The movie created GeneralRipper. But the {{Trope Namer|s}} isn't a bombastic military man, but acts calm, collected, and suave. The keyword being "[[MaskOfSanity acts]]". Ripper's ability to hide his nervous breakdown from the psychological evaluations, Mandrake, and everybody else allowed him to be in the position of power he needed to be in to set his demented plot into motion. The news of his insanity was a shock to everyone involved. Buck Turgidson could be seen as the more standard version of this trope, with his [[LargeHam loud threats against Communism]], but was (wisely) ignored by the diplomatic President Muffley. And ultimately, Turgidson came to realize the disaster that would unfold.
* {{Understatement}}: General Turgidson gets several of these in quick succession when he informs the President of the United States that General Ripper, a lower echelon American military commander, has ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without the approval or knowledge of the White House or the Pentagon.
** When the President asks how General Ripper could possibly order such an attack, Buck says:
--->"Although I hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like General Ripper exceeded his authority."
** The President questions how the Human Reliability Tests didn't catch General Ripper's burgeoning psychosis:
--->"Well, I don't think it's quite fair to condemn the whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."
** Buck advocates following General Ripper's lead and to launch an all-out nuclear attack on Russia:
--->"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.
** Earlier when the President is talking with the Soviet Premier, he attempts to describe what Ripper did.
--->"...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..."
* UnwittingPawn: The crew of ''The Leper Colony''. Poor guys are just following orders. They don't know that the guy who gave them has lost it.
* VengefulVendingMachine: Col. Guano has to shoot a Coca-Cola vending machine to get change for a crucial phone call to the President. He gets Coke squirted in his face.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The "survival kit" includes, among others, nylon stockings. While this can be lost to today's audience, in the 60s soldiers were issued nylons -- they were supposed to wear them under the uniform, as the stockings would keep them warm.
* VisualInnuendo: There are a number of phallic and sexual images throughout the film to highlight its theme of sexuality. The famous opening credits sequence of planes refueling in a way which looks like sexual congress. General Ripper is particularly fond of compensating for his impotency with enormous cigars (and a machine gun). Major Kong straddles the strikingly tubular bomb just before it explodes.
* VodkaDrunkenski:
** Even though we hear [[NewhartPhoneCall only President Muffley's side of the conversation]], it's quite obvious that Premier Kissov is sloshed out of his gourd. It's more than hinted earlier when [=DeSadesky=] warns Muffley beforehand of a probably-intoxicated Kissov.
** General Ripper asks Mandrake if he has ever seen a Russian drinking water and then "concludes" that they only drink vodka.
* TheWarRoom: A very influential Ur-example. A huge, elaborate set designed by Creator/KenAdam.
* WaterSourceTampering: General Ripper has a paranoid belief that there is a Communist conspiracy involving water fluoridation which will lead to contamination of everyone's "precious bodily fluids".
* WeWillMeetAgain: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdytOGnUFoI The memorable final montage]] plays the song of the same name over images of atomic explosions, implying the two superpowers are destined to trade blows ever after.
* WhateverHappenedToTheMouse: A table full of pastries is visible in the War Room on some scenes. It was meant for the original FoodFight ending, and thus would have been a ChekhovsGun instead.
* WorldGoneMad: Every single group of people are various sorts of insane, incompetent, and/or incapable of focusing on the important subject at hand. Except for the bomber crew, who are all well-trained and manage to adapt to the various obstacles in their path. Too bad they're the one group that desperately needs to fail. Mandrake isn't too bad either. He manages to guess the password and get the wing recalled. Except for one...
* XanatosSpeedChess: Despite Kissov bungling the announcement of the doomsday device, and General Ripper going off half-cocked, Strangelove essentially takes over the US government shortly after the climax of the film, with none the wiser.
* YouAreTooLate: Instead of them stopping the attack that would set off the doomsday weapon, the characters fail and a small amount of the population has to flee to underground bunkers in order to survive.
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->''We'll meet again some sunny day...''
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