[[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.

Except it wasn't like that in real life. The Hot Line (also called the Red Phone) due to the possibilities of misinterpretation, only used a voice link between 1971 and 1978, but instead uses a telex machine - with each side writing in its own language and the other translating for themselves. The Hot Line, still in service, is regularly tested. (Never mind that these days they could probably just DM each other on Twitter...)

This trope also includes examples of custom-installed communication lines from one important character to another.



[[AC:Comic Strips]]
* ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'s company built one once. It looked like an ordinary telephone. Dogbert used it to prank call Gorbachev.

[[AC:Fan Fiction]]
* 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.

%%* ''Film/FailSafe''
* ''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.
* Averted in ''Film/ThirteenDays''. The Hot Line did not exist at the time (in fact it was created as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis), with messages going by coded telegram This resulted (as in the film), in the US spending 12 hours decrypting Khrushchev's offer to remove the missiles in return for the US not invading Cuba. While doing that, a second message arrived, being more threatening, demanding that the US remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for the USSR doing the same in Cuba. [=ExComm=] thought about it, accepted the first offer and accepted the second discreetly later.
* 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.]]
* 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.
* ''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.
* ''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.

* The Creator/TomClancy novel ''Literature/TheSumOfAllFears'' (and TheFilmOfTheBook) shows the 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.

[[AC:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' Season 6.
* 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.
* The live-action Series/{{Batman}} show had a hotline connecting Commissioner Gordon's office to Bruce Wayne's living room (Of course, Gordon didn't know where Batman's end of the line was located).
* Seen in the revival series of ''Series/DoctorWho'', at 10 Downing Street.
* 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.

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

[[AC: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 as Romanov scoffs off the threat, having made ensurances that they'll be swiftly deactivated.
* ''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.

[[AC: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.

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