[[quoteright:250:[[Pinball/SpyHunter http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/43b0fed6be2fad73ea879aeaabf59318.jpg]]]]

->'''Jim Hacker:''' Tell me general, where's the hotline?\\
'''General:''' Which one?\\
'''Jim Hacker:''' The one to Russia.\\
'''Bernard Wooley:''' The [[{{Pun}} Red hotline]], sir.

If there's a crisis between the USSR and the US in fiction, expect the President to phone up the Soviet leader on his direct line, usually a red dial-telephone with no dial.

[[RealityIsUnrealistic Except it's not like that in real life]], and never was. Beginning operation in 1963, the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow-Washington_hotline Moscow-Washington Hotline,]] colloquially known as the "Red Phone", is designed to relay text originally via Teletype, then fax machine, nowadays a secure fiber-optic line through which emails are exchanged because of the possibility that speech could be misinterpreted (a voice link was tested in the 70's but dropped); each side writes in their own language, which is then translated and both versions are given to whichever leader. Also, the Hotline connects the Pentagon to what was then the Communist Party leadership across the street from the Kremlin; it's not a direct link between the White House and Kremlin itself. During the height of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, the line was tested hourly, often using poetry. The Hotline is still in use today, still not a phone.

Nowadays, after the Cold War, the Hot Line trope is more likely to be used between the UltimateAuthorityMayor or other ReasonableAuthorityFigure and a local superhero. Expect a CatchPhrase, often falling under [[TotheBatnoun "To the Batnoun!"]]




[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'s company built one once. It looked like an ordinary telephone. Dogbert used it to prank call Gorbachev.
* ''ComicBook/BouleEtBill'': In one gag, Boule paints the family phone red. His father tries to use it, only to hear two people holding up the line asking about the weather in Moscow and Washington. He yells at them, then hears a knock on the door... and sees a CIA and KGB agent waiting to ask him some questions.

* Averted in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic {{FanFic/MANE}}. Princess Celestia proposed the installation of a hotline between her palace and the USR Chancellery in Stalliongrad, but the Chancellor would not have it installed because he refused to recognize that Celestia had any claim to be the ruler of Equestria. Comes back to bite them both during the invasion of Saddle Arabia when [[spoiler:the USR mistake an ammunition dump exploding for a tactical nuclear strike, and begin to retaliate in kind.]] Celestia's attempts to communicate with the Chancellor have to be routed through their embassy instead, by which time it is too late.

* Averted in ''Film/ThirteenDays''. The Hotline did not exist at the time in fact, it was created ''because'' of the Cuban Missile Crisis with messages going by coded telegram. As depicted in the film, this resulted in the US spending 12 hours decrypting and translating Khrushchev's offer (a rambling 3000-word message) to remove the missiles in return for the US not invading Cuba. While the Americans were working on interpreting that message, a second message arrived, this one from the Politburo and much more aggressive, demanding the US remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for the USSR doing the same in Cuba. [=ExComm=] thought about it, and publicly accepted the first offer (while discreetly accepting the second later).
* ''Film/TheAvengers1998''. Mother is the head of The Ministry, a top secret British intelligence agency. He has a red phone on his office that connects directly to the British Prime Minister.
* In ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'', Hadley answers a red phone and is told that [[PlotTwist the sacrifice didn't go exactly as planned]]. [[spoiler:Their failure results in the destruction of all life as we know it.]]
* ''Film/DrStrangelove'': Not actually the Moscow-Washington line, but rather an ordinary phone. Which is even worse. Considering the nature of the [[CasualDangerDialog ensuing]] [[SeinfeldianConversation conversation]], as well as the [[BlackComedy entire film itself]], that is very, ''very'' likely intentional.
* ''Film/FailSafe'' (1964, the same year as ''Dr. Strangelove'') probably is the primary inspiration for the common (mis)perception of the White-House-to-The-Kremlin hotline being distinctive telephones for direct talks between the 2 leaderships.
* Expect to see at least one red phone per 1970s ''Film/JamesBond'' movie. Though they're usually in government offices, they're usually not ''the'' hot line.
** In ''Thunderball'', a government head specifically mentions the President and Prime Minister talking over the Hot Line, which, as the Trope Description mentions, was not a voice line at the time (1965) - it's also used between ''friendly'' countries, rather than Moscow.
* ''Film/OurManFlint''. Lloyd Cramden, head of the agency Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage), has a red phone that he uses to communicate with the President of the United States.
* In the MadeForTVMovie ''The Trial of Series/TheIncredibleHulk'', Daredevil's FriendOnTheForce police captain has a direct line to call Daredevil.
* ''Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs'' (1966). The InvisiblePresident is only an [[UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson LBJ]]-sounding voice on the hotline to Colonel Benson, always [[IncomingHam preempted by the strains]] of "Hail to the Chief".

* The Creator/TomClancy novel ''Literature/TheSumOfAllFears'' (and TheFilmOfTheBook) shows a more realistic text-based Hot Line in action. It also shows how the operators tested the Hot Line back in the day: with poetry.
* ''Literature/CharlieAndTheGreatGlassElevator'' parodies this: the US President has a red phone for calling the USSR on his desk... and a ''porcelain'' phone for calling China right next to it.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
%%* ''Series/TwentyFour'' Season 6.
* The live-action ''Series/{{Batman}}'' show had a hotline connecting Commissioner Gordon's office to Bruce Wayne's study (of course, Gordon didn't know where Batman's end of the line was located).
** The phone is also equipped with Diversionary Bat-phone Lines, which prevent tracing the calls back to Stately Wayne Manor.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E5WorldWarThree "World War Three"]]: The Slitheen are thrilled to find the stereotypical bright red phone on the Prime Minister's desk.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E1TheImpossibleAstronaut "The Impossible Astronaut"]], River comments that the functions within the souped-up spacesuit have a communication suite that links up directly to the highest authority it can find, giving the little girl [[spoiler:(River as a child)]] a hotline to the White House.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor "The Day of the Doctor"]] we're shown the Space-Time Telegraph, a gift from the Doctor to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and left for his daughter, Kate, which gives a direct hotline in times of crisis to the TARDIS, or from the TARDIS to the Black Archives. (In the classic series it was mentioned but not seen at the end of [[Recap/DoctorWhoS12E5RevengeOfTheCybermen "Revenge of the Cybermen"]] and beginning of [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E1TerrorOfTheZygons "Terror of the Zygons"]].)
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E8TheLieOfTheLand "The Lie of the Land"]]: The bright red phone turns up again on the desk of the Monks' most loyal servant, the BrainwashedAndCrazy [[spoiler:Doctor]].
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', General Hammond has a frequently used red phone that includes a direct line to the President. That's the second line, though, the first line is for his grandchildren.
** [[DiscussedTrope Diuscussed]] in one episode where Hammond is on the hotline with a lackey who is stonewalling him. Hammond shouts at the flunky "Do you know what color this phone is!?"
* The TV series ''Series/YesMinister'' poked fun at the prosaic realities of the hotline - the phone only goes to a Kremlin switchboard... and the operator doesn't speak English.

* ''Pinball/SpyHunter'' features an unseen caller using a red phone to call Agent GK.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2'', President Dugan has five of them. He only uses the one wired to the Kremlin when he receives word of the invading Soviet forces. Dugan and Soviet Premier Romanov's conversation turns hostile quickly and Dugan threatens to nuke the invasion force. Romanov dismisses the threat, having ensured that the nukes will be swiftly deactivated.
** And, foreshadowing [[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3 the next game]], one of the other phones is labeled "Tokyo".
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}''. Before entering [=GlaDOS=]'s chamber, you see a red phone. In the commentary, the devs explain that it was a hotline for scientists to use in case of an emergency with the AI. They point out that the connection cord is cut, hinting at just how effective it was.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Blindsprings}}'' Asher Thorne, the Prime Minister of Kirkhall, is shown [[http://www.blindsprings.com/comic/blindsprings-page-two-hundred-and-thirty-nine to have one]] that he uses to call up Master Lumen, the controller of the [[WasOnceAMan Gravers]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Podcast/TheJohnDredgeNothingToDoWithAnythingShow'', the ''Human League of Justice'' can be reached via the Leagueophone, while in the ''Gasman & Robert'' sketch, Gas Commissioner Gordon uses the Gasphone for calling Gasman.
* Played with in ''{{Literature/Unsong}}''. Shortly after [[TheMagicComesBack the laws of physics start breaking down]], Richard Nixon gets a call on the red telephone. [[SupernaturalPhone Not the actual hotline to the Kremlin, the plastic prop he keeps on his desk.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Mayor of Townsville has a hotline to ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' that goes to phones in both their bedroom and the school they attend.