An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.
President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.
[last lines] Dr. Strangelove: Sir! I have a plan! [standing up from his wheelchair] Dr. Strangelove: Mein Führer! I can walk!
[the President calls the Soviet Premier] President Merkin Muffley: [to Kissoff] Hello?... Uh... Hello D- uh hello Dmitri? Listen uh uh I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... 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... a-ha-ha-ha-ha... 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 anytime, 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... They will *not* reach their targets for at least another hour... I am... I am positive, Dmitri... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then... I'd say that, ah... well, ah... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri... I know they're our boys... All right, well listen now. Who should we call?... *Who* should we call, Dmitri? The... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters... Where is that, Dmitri?... In Omsk... Right... Yes... Oh, you'll call them first, will you?... Uh-huh... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri?... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri... I'm very sorry... *All right*, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are... So we're both sorry, all right?... All right.
President Merkin Muffley: I will not go down in history as the greatest mass-murderer since Adolf Hitler. General "Buck" 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.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel... that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there. Colonel "Bat" Guano: That's private property. Group Capt. Lionel 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 a gun! That's what the bullets are for, you twit! Colonel "Bat" Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: What? Colonel "Bat" Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.
Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, EH? Ambassador de Sadesky: It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Sir, you can't let him in here. He'll see everything. He'll see the big board!
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no. General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!
General Jack D. Ripper: Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well, no, I can't say I have.
[first title card] Title Card: 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.
[Strangelove's plan for post-nuclear war survival involves living underground with a 10: 1 female-to-male ratio] General "Buck" Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned? Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature. Ambassador de Sadesky: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Well, boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing... but we got one little budge on them Rooskies. At this height why they might harpoon us but they dang sure ain't gonna spot us on no radar screen!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.
President Merkin Muffley: You mean people could actually stay down there for a hundred years? Dr. Strangelove: It would not be difficult, Mein Führer. Nuclear reactors could - heh, I'm sorry, Mr. President - nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely.
General Jack D. Ripper: Were you ever a prisoner of war? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well... yes I was, matter of fact, Jack. I was. General Jack D. Ripper: Did they torture you? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, yes they did. I was tortured by the Japanese. Jack, if you must know; not a pretty story. General Jack D. Ripper: Well, what happened? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Oh, well, I don't know, Jack, difficult to think of under these conditions; but, well... what happened was they got me on the old Rangoon-Ichinawa railway. I was laying train lines for the bloody Japanese puff-puff's. General Jack D. Ripper: No, I mean when they tortured you. Did you talk? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Ah, oh, no... well, I don't think they wanted me to talk really. I don't think they wanted me to say anything. It was just their way of having a bit of fun, the swines. Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.
General "Buck" Turgidson: General Ripper called Strategic Air Command headquarters shortly after he issued the go code. I have a portion of the transcript of that conversation if you'd like me to to read it. President Merkin Muffley: Read it! General "Buck" Turgidson: Ahem... The Duty Officer asked General Ripper to confirm the fact that he *had* issued the go code, and he said, uh, "Yes gentlemen, they are on their way in, and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country, and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. Uh, my boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now, uhuh. Uh, so let's get going, there's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids. God bless you all" and he hung up. [beat] General "Buck" Turgidson: Uh, we're, still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir. President Merkin Muffley: There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic. General "Buck" Turgidson: We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in. President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring! General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. I tell you something else, if this 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 and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do.
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack. General Jack D. Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack. General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen... tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory? General Jack D. Ripper: [somewhat embarassed] Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm. General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm. General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No. General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.
[after learning of the Doomsday Machine] President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing? Ambassador de Sadesky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap. President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that. Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times.
President Merkin Muffley: And why haven't you radioed the plans countermanding the go-code? General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, I'm afraid we're unable to communicate with any of the aircraft. President Merkin Muffley: Why? General "Buck" Turgidson: As you may recall, sir, one of the provisions of Plan 'R' provides that once the go-code is received, the normal SSB Radios in the aircraft are switched into a special coded device which I believe is designated as CRM-114. Now, in order to prevent the enemy from issuing fake or confusing orders, CRM-114 is designed not to receive at all - unless the message is preceded by the correct three-letter recall code group prefix. President Merkin Muffley: Then do you mean to tell me, General Turgidson, that you will be unable to recall the aircraft? General "Buck" Turgidson: That's about the size of it. However, we are plowing through every possible three-letter combination of the code. But since there are 17,000 permutations... it's going to take us about two-and-a-half days to transmit them all. President Merkin Muffley: How soon did you say our planes will be entering Russian radar cover? General "Buck" Turgidson: About 18 minutes from now, sir.
Adm. Randolph: Try one of these Jamaican cigars, Ambassador. They're pretty good. Ambassador de Sadesky: Thank you, no. I do not support the work of imperialist stooges. Adm. Randolph: Oh, only commie stooges, huh?
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, about, uh, 35 minutes ago, General Jack Ripper, the commanding general of, uh, Burpelson Air Force Base, issued an order to the 34 B-52's of his Wing, which were airborne at the time as part of a special exercise we were holding called Operation Drop-Kick. Now, it appears that the order called for the planes to, uh, attack their targets inside Russia. The, uh, planes are fully armed with nuclear weapons with an average load of, um, 40 megatons each. Now, the central display of Russia will indicate the position of the planes. The triangles are their primary targets; the squares are their secondary targets. The aircraft will begin penetrating Russian radar cover within, uh, 25 minutes. President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. General "Buck" Turgidson: That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Is that the Russian ambassador you're talking about? President Merkin Muffley: Yes it is, General. General "Buck" Turgidson: A-A-Am I to understand the *Russian* ambassador is to be admitted entrance to th-the War Room? President Merkin Muffley: That is correct, he is here on my orders. General "Buck" Turgidson: I... I don't know exactly how to put this, sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he'll see everything, he'll... he'll see the Big Board!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Hmm... Strangelove? What kind of a name is that? That ain't no Kraut name is it, Stainesey? Mr. Staines: He changed it when he became a citizen. Used to be Merkwürdigliebe. [the German word for "Strangelove"] General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, a Kraut by any other name, uh Stainesey?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Erm, what about the planes, sir? Surely we must issue the recall code immediately. General Jack D. Ripper: Group Captain, the planes are not gonna be recalled. My attack orders have been issued, and the orders stand. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well, if you'll excuse me saying so, sir, that would be, to my way of thinking, rather... well, rather an odd way of looking at it. You see, if a Russian attack was in progress, we would certainly not be hearing civilian broadcast. General Jack D. Ripper: Are you certain of that, Mandrake? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Oh, I'm absolutely positive about it. General Jack D. Ripper: And what if it is true? Group Capt. Lionel 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... Oh. I would say, sir, that there were something dreadfully wrong somewhere. General Jack D. Ripper: Now why don't you just take it easy, Group Captain, and please make me a drink of grain alcohol and rainwater, and help yourself to whatever you'd like. [Mandrake snaps to attention and salutes] Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: General Ripper, Sir, as an officer in Her Majesty's Air Force, it is my clear duty, under the present circumstances, to issue the recall code, upon my own authority, and bring back the Wing. If you'll excuse me, sir. [He finds the doors locked] Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: I'm afraid, sir, I must ask you for the key, and the recall code. Have you got them handy, sir?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Do I look all rancid and clotted? You look at me, Jack. Eh? Look, eh? And I drink a lot of water, you know. I'm what you might call a water man, Jack - that's what I am. And I can swear to you, my boy, swear to you, that there's nothing wrong with my bodily fluids. Not a thing, Jackie.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Stay on the bomb run, boys! I'm gonna get them doors open if it harelips ever'body on Bear Creek!
General "Buck" Turgidson: If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!
Miss Scott: It's 3 o'clock in the morning! General "Buck" Turgidson: Weh-heh-heh-ll, the Air Force never sleeps. Miss Scott: Buck, honey, I'm not sleepy either... General "Buck" Turgidson: I know how it is, baby. Tell you what you do: you just start your countdown, and old Bucky'll be back here before you can say "Blast off!"
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [trying to pay for his phone call] Just one second, operator. [to Guano] Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: They won't accept the call. Have you got 55 cents? Colonel "Bat" Guano: What, you don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do you?
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsing around on the airplane?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has been going on here! Colonel "Bat" Guano: You wanna know what I think? Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Yes! Colonel "Bat" Guano: I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE!
[Turgidson advocates a further nuclear attack to prevent a Soviet response to Ripper's attack] General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed. President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war! General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
General Jack D. Ripper: Your Commie has no regard for human life, not even his own. And for this reason, men, I want to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness. The enemy may come individually, or he may come in strength. He may even come in the uniform of our own troops. But however he comes, we must stop him. We must not allow him to gain entrance to this base. Now, I'm going to give you THREE SIMPLE rules: First, trust NO one, whatever his uniform or rank, unless he is known to you personally; Second, anyone or anything that approaches within 200 yards of the perimeter is to be FIRED UPON; Third, if in doubt, shoot first then ask questions afterward. I would sooner accept a few casualties through accidents rather losing the entire base and its personnel through carelessness. Any variation of these rules must come from me personally. Any variation on these rules must come from me personally. Now, men, in conclusion, I would like to say that, in the two years it has been my privilege to be your commanding officer, I have always expected the best from you, and you have never given me anything less than that. Today, the nation is counting on us. We're not going to let them down. Good luck to you all.
Sign: Peace is our Profession.
[General Turgenson's phone rings in the war room] General "Buck" Turgidson: Hello... [whispering] General "Buck" Turgidson: I told you never to call me here, don't you know where I am?... Well look, baby, I c-, I *can't* talk to you now... my president needs me!... Of *course* Bucky'd rather be there with you!... Of *course* it isn't only physical!... I deeply respect you as a human being... Some day I'm gonna make you *Mrs* Buck Turgidson!... Oh, listen uh, you go back to sleep hon, and Bucky'll be back there just as soon as he can... All right... listen, sug, don't forget to say your prayers!
Lieutenant Lothar Zogg: Hey, where'd Major Kong go?
Ambassador de Sadesky: No, sir! It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to to trigger itself automatically President Merkin Muffley: But surely you can disarm it somehow Ambassador de Sadesky: No, it is designed to explode if any attempt is ever made to untrigger it General "Buck" Turgidson: It's an obvious Commie trick, Mr. President. We are wasting valuable time! Look at the big board, they're getting ready to clobber us!
Major T. J. "King" Kong: Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones. You sure you got today's codes?
[first lines] Narrator: For more than a year, ominous rumors had been privately circulating among high-level Western leaders that the Soviet Union had been at work on what was darkly hinted to be the ultimate weapon: a doomsday device. Intelligence sources traced the site of the top secret Russian project to the perpetually fog-shrouded wasteland below the Arctic peaks of the Zhokhov Islands. What they were building or why it should be located in such a remote and desolate place no one could say.
[discussing the Doomsday machine] President Merkin Muffley: How is it possible for this thing to be triggered automatically and at the same time impossible to untrigger? Dr. Strangelove: Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the FEAR to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision-making process which rules out human meddling, the Doomsday machine is terrifying and simple to understand... and completely credible and convincing.
[Strangelove admits that he investigated making such a machine] Dr. Strangelove: 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.
Major T. J. "King" Kong: I don't give a hoot in Hell how you do it, you just get me to the Primary, ya hear!
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: If you don't put that gun away and stop this stupid nonsense, the court of Enquiry on this'll give you such a pranging, you'll be lucky if you end up wearing the uniform of a bloody toilet attendant.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, if I may speak freely, the Russkie talks big, but frankly, we think he's short of know how. I mean, you just can't expect a bunch of ignorant peons to understand a machine like some of our boys. And that's not meant as an insult, Mr. Ambassador, I mean, you take your average Russkie, we all know how much guts he's got. Hell, lookit all them Nazis killed off and they still wouldn't quit.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Is it that bad, sir? General Jack D. Ripper: Looks like it's pretty hairy.
General Jack D. Ripper: The base is being put on Condition Red. I want this flashed to all sections immediately. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Condition Red, sir, yes, jolly good idea. That keeps the men on their toes. General Jack D. Ripper: Group Captain, I'm afraid this is not an exercise. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Not an exercise, sir? General Jack D. Ripper: I shouldn't tell you this, Mandrake, but you're a good officer and you've a right to know. It looks like we're in a shooting war. Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Oh, hell. Are the Russians involved, sir?