Explosive Satire

By Denzel Ostane

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb or commonly known as Dr. Strangelove is a famous movie written and directed by Stanley Kubrick as well as one of the characters from the movie itself, Peter Sellers. The movie is considered one of the greatest films of all time, released in 1964 and influenced by the ongoing cold war; the film satirizes fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and United States. In 1998 the movie was ranked 26th of the best American movies by the American Film Institute. The story focuses on multiple characters high up in the military chain of command and some working in the White House. They are the president’s advisors and are working on stopping a plane which upon receiving orders from General Jack D. Ripper to bomb the Soviets with nuclear weapons were on their way to attack. The pentagon did not issue such orders as Dr. Strangelove accidentally activated this process and the general took matters into his own hands. This process involves the two as well as General Turgidson.

General Jack D Ripper

General Ripper, who commanded the attack, locks himself and Mandrake in his office as he was paranoid. He thought the Soviets had been fluoridating American water supplies. The U.S paratroopers came after Ripper and started shooting. Then came his death during the shooting between the parashooters and ripper as he is told to call of the bombing but instead wanted to answer to what he had done and to do that he decided to go into the bathroom and commit suicide. This scene enforces strongly humor rather than realism. Instead of calling the bomb off general Ripper decided to off himself with a gun in the bathroom. This scene was not entirely unpredictable considering Ripper’s delusions about the Soviets and that he locked himself in his office.

General Buck Turgidson

General Buck Turgidson upon discussing the escalating situation in the war room outlines the options facing the president, each more ridiculous than the other, which deviated from their original goal. This scene also portrays a satirical piece as he outlined what would happen in the next couple of hours. He states that since the planes are being called at an extremely alarming rate the Soviets will end up noticing the ones who haven’t been called back and retaliate in response. Therefore, his plan is to fire the missiles and hit their airfields and missile bases in advance. His answers to the questions were superficial as he thought that the odds of killing 100,000 Soviets as opposed to 10,000 to 20,000 Americans ending up dead would be a good odds.

Dr Strangelove 

This satirical piece perceives Peter Sellers as a former Nazi member. He is the president’s scientific advisor and was invited into the war room by the president. He is an insane nuclear scientist (Dr. Strangelove) bound in a wheelchair and is discussing with the president concerning the fact that they might exit the earth with the doomsday device being in place. He proposes to gather several hundreds of people to live in underground mines where the radiation from nuclear weapons will not penetrate. To repopulate the earth, he suggests a ratio of 10 females per individual man. However, his Nazi personality keeps taking over as he does the Nazi salute. He stands up and goes on to say that he has a plan but in turn realizes that he is walking and proceeds to say: “Mein Führer! I can walk”. This is translated to My Leader which is also a part of the Nazi principles.

These scenes were devious and deranged from the original goal of calling the planes back or to figure out a counterattack if the bombing ever started, instead, they were merely jokes.

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  1. stevenderosa

    The humor in the film is intended to make viewers think of the absurdity of such concepts as MAD (mutually assured destruction) and even the possibility of deciding to use nuclear bombs. I would like to see further comments on how the use of humor was more effective than had the subject been treated seriously.

  2. Victor Valle

    The fact the film goes with its humor in such bleak moments makes it more memorable and sticks with you. Instead of letting the bleak moments of the threat of nuclear war hang it adds on to it making fun of the government handlings of this type of situation.


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