[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dr-strangelove.jpg]]

-> ''"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the [[HypocriticalHumor 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 lifted 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, General [[GeneralRipper Jack D. Ripper]] (Sterling Hayden) 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. The President's [[GeniusCripple wheelchair-bound]], [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons ex-Nazi]] [[MadScientist science adviser]], Dr. Strangelove (also Peter Sellers), and the Soviet ambassador 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.

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!!This film includes examples of:

* 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 flouridation, some which persist to this day, 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.
** 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 squadron's within 2 hours of their targets inside the USSR? They were part of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chrome_Dome Operation Chrome Dome]].
* 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!"
* ArmedFarces
* TheArtifact: A pastry table seen in one scene refers to the original ending, a colossal [[FoodFight pie fight]], which was [[DeletedScene deleted]] 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.
* 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.
* AsYouKnow: The exchange between Dr. Strangelove and the Russian Ambassador.
-->'''Dr. Strangelove''': But the whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost...if you keep it a secret, why didn't you tell the world, eh?
-->'''Ambassador [=DeSadesky=]''': It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.
* AttackPatternAlpha: Delivered via SealedOrders - Wing Attack Plan R, which is removed from a whole safe full of attack plans. This was TruthInTelevision.
* 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".
* 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.
* BombersOnTheScreen: The primary purpose of TheBigBoard.
* {{Chiaroscuro}}: The War Room is lit this way.
* CigarChomper: Ripper.
* UsefulNotes/ColdWar: Set in the contemporary [[TheSixties sixties]], at the height of the arms race.
* ColonelKilgore: General Turgidson is letting his inner five-year old playing 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 [[ExplainExplainOhCrap moments]] shortly afterward, as Turgidson gleefully details the last bomber's chances... And then realises they're screwed.
* 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 spy camera 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 MacGyver material in there (not to mention that you could have a pretty good weekend in 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.''
* CutHimselfShaving: Guano ironically lampshades it against Mandrake when he is informed of Ripper's death.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: General Ripper may be demented, but he knows his trade; he's shown as an experienced and competent leader who invokes, anticipates, and discusses very relevant tropes.
* 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.
* DeFictionalization: In probably the most disturbing example of defictionalization, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Hand_%28nuclear_war%29 Dead Hand]] system constructed by the Soviets in the '80s is essentially a real-life version of the DoomsdayDevice.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: By 1963, color was the standard and 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.
* 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 Kubrick simply discovered and made one of cinema's most memorable opening scenes.
* 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: Probably one of the funniest.
* 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 is about as awesome as a death gets! It's one of the most memorable (and parodied) scenes in the film.
* EagleLand: America's generalship is made of gung-ho jingoistic men hardly contained by a mild, well-meaning, but ineffectual President. The top advisor is an "ex"-Nazi who, in the heat of the moment, regresses to his GloryDays under the service of AdolfHitler. Armageddon is triggered by an [[AmericansAreCowboys American cowboy]]. The day is (nearly) saved by the efforts of an exasperated British exchange officer.
* EitherOrTitle
* 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.
* 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".
* ExactTimeToFailure: Justified, as a crewman on the bomber calculates how much flying time they have left after the missile explosion causes a fuel leak.
* 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]].
* 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 planing 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 ''{{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.
* 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:
** In the opening refueling scene, the bomber and the tanker are coupling.
** Bat Guano thinks everything is some kind of "preversion", and ironically his stupidity carries some meta-truth.
** The madness of General Ripper is driven by not-even-veiled [[IntercourseWithYou sexual references]]. He seems to be CompensatingForSomething with his stiff cigars and his long one-barreled machine gun.
** The film is rife with sexually {{Meaningful Name}}s; the two warmongers (Jack T. Ripper and Turgidson) push against a peaceful and mild figure (Merkin Muffley). See below for more examples
** Near the end, there is another MoodDissonance when the characters are happily planning a postnuclear scenario where the male to female ratio would land them with their own [[AdamAndEvePlot harems to repopulate the world]]. The excitement over this allows Strangelove to ''stand up''.
** The end of the world is started by a man yelling and riding on top of a phallic bomb to a site called "Laputa" (Spanish for "the whore"). It triggers a series of climatic explosions.
* FromBadToWorse: Anything that could go wrong in the prevention of the end of the world, does.
* 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".
* 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.
* GeniusCripple: Doctor Strangelove.
* 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 JackTheRipper mutilated women's sexual organs), Merkin Muffley (speaking of CountryMatters), 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.
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: A semi-straight 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); on the other hand, General [[MeaningfulName Turgid]]son has a relatively normal relationship with his SexySecretary and is not much better.
* GovernmentDrugEnforcement: What GeneralRipper fears fluoridation has become.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The Americans and Soviets aren't that different: it's not at all clear which side is meant to be the good guys, 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.
* HarpoDoesSomethingFunny: Many of the scenes with Peter Sellers were improvised, most famously the phone conversation with the Soviet premier and "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!". This is especially impressive when you consider this was a movie by Creator/StanleyKubrick, one of the most infamously controlling directors of all time.
* 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 adresses 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.
* 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 was Friday the 13th.
* 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 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?"
* 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.
* 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.
* {{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.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Everything General Turgidson says sounds deranged, but it's mostly factually correct.
* KubrickStare: General Ripper.
* 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: "You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company."
* {{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 'Johnny I hardly knew ya'.
* 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
* 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.
* 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.
** 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 T. Ripper is motivated by sexual frustration (he's afraid of losing his "essence" through ejaculation) to spread destruction and is named for the misogynistic killer.
** 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 sexual tendency.
** Premier Kissov, piss off.
** And let's not forget the multiple potential interpretations of "Strangelove".
* MidAirRefueling: The opening credits are accompanied by stock footage of two planes doing this.
* 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.
* 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.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Whoever thought that putting a General Jack D. Ripper in control of the nuclear launch codes was a good idea?
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: When Turgidson learns Strangelove changed his name (Merkwürdigliebe), he comments "a Kraut by any other name".
* 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 on Army General Edwin Walker, who was reprimanded by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy for distributing John Birch Society literature to his troops (illegal under the Hatch Act) and making seditious comments about American officials. After resigning Walker ran for Governor of Texas and became a well-known spokesman for right-wing causes. Today however, Walker is [[SmallReferencePools probably better-known]] for Lee Harvey Oswald trying to assassinate him..
** 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. Contrary to popular belief, Strangelove was not based on Henry Kissinger, who at the time was not well known outside of academic circles.
* 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.
* 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.
* ObviouslyEvil: Strangelove spends all his screen time acting as [[EvilIsHammy cartoonishly evil]] as possible. Somewhat subverted, since he never actually does anything all that evil, at least not that we know about.
* 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.
* 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".
* OrchestralBombing: And [[MoneyMakingShot what a bombing]].
* ParodyNames: The BLAND Corporation. A parody of the RealLife [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAND_Corporation RAND Corporation]]. Talk about a BlandNameProduct.
* 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.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Mandrake is able to guess the OverrideCommand because Ripper's madness had it spelled all over the place.
* 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 destroy all their radios (so they won't know he's lying and that the Russians aren't actually attacking).
* PragmaticVillainy: The United States ruled out building a device like the Soviet DoomsdayDevice, but only because they realised that such a device could come back to bite them hard.
* PunnyName: Many of them.
** General Jack D. Ripper is [[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"]].
* 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".
* 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.
* 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".
* RidingTheBomb: Major Kong delivering his payload is the TropeMaker.
* 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]].
* 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.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: The good doctor is a memorable character, to be sure, but, definitely not the main one.
* SecretTest: 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]].
* SexySecretary: Turgidson's bikini-clad playmate, Miss Scott.
* 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 ''Twelve O'Clock High'' (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.
* 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 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.
* 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. Stangelove points out the Doomsday Machine is within the means of even the smallest nuclear power.
* StealthPun: Dr. Strangelove is strangled by his glove.
* StiffUpperLip: Mandrake for a while, until Bat Guano's obstructionism makes him lose it.
* 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".
* 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.
* 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 [[AdolfHitler Führer]], I Can Walk!"
* TrivialTitle: The titular character has lines in only two scenes, explaining things, and doesn't have any role in the film otherwise.
* UnaccustomedAsIAmToPublicSpeaking: Major Kong reckons he ain't much of a hand at makin' [[RousingSpeech speeches]] but ends up delivering a pretty solid one anyway.
* {{Understatement}}:
** "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed..."
** President Muffley, on the phone with the Soviet Premier -- "One of our generals went a little... "funny"... and went and did a silly thing..."
** "I hate to judge a man before the full facts are in but at this point it does appear that General Ripper has exceeded his authority..."
* 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 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.
* 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.
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->''We'll meet again some sunny day...''
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