Synopsis: A series of human and computer errors sends a squadron of American 'Vindicator' bombers to nuke Moscow. The President, in order to convince the Soviets that this is a mistake, orders the Strategic Air Command to help the Soviets stop them.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Sidney Lumet
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min


You'll wake yourself up.

I'll get you breakfast.

No time.

The meeting starts at 10:00.

Don't worry about it.

They always have coffee there.

You're flying down?

I'll check out one of the trainers.

Then I can get back when I want.

What are you doing today?


Have to get clothes

for the boys.

They grow so fast.

Need any money?

I cashed a check.

I had the dream again.

Always ends at the same place.

I guess that's just as well.

Sometime I'm going to see

that matador, find out who he is.

When I do, that's the end of me.

Don't talk like that.

It's only a dream.

Maybe I ought to resign.

What good would that do?

I'm sure it would make the dream

go away. They're connected.


the dream and what I'm doing...

Sometimes I feel the only way

I can make it disappear is to resign.

But you can't resign.

You can't give up your whole life.

You're my life too.

You and the boys.

Maybe I have to choose.

Or maybe it's too late.

Warren, don't go.

Skip the meeting.

Tell them my wife insists

I go shopping?

I'll skip the shopping.

We could have lunch together.

We haven't done that in months.

A little French restaurant

with wine.

This meeting is special.

The secretary will be there.

They're even holding it in the war room

to show how up-to-date we are.

You could do with a day off.

In the middle of the week?

That's immoral.

We can go out for dinner.

I'll be back by then.

If I can get a sitter.

You got me.

You can get anything.

What would I do without you?

You wouldn't do very well.

There's no chance of that,

is there?

None at all.

First you said 100 million dead.

Now you say 60 million.

I say 60 million is perhaps

the highest price...

we should be prepared

to pay in a war.

What's the difference between

60 million dead and a hundred million?

- Forty million.

- Some difference.

Are you saying saving 40 million lives

is of no importance?

You miss the point, Professor.

Saving those 60 million lives

is what's important.

Face facts, Mr. Foster.

We're talking about war.

Every war, including thermonuclear war,

must have a winner and a loser.

Which would you rather be?

In a nuclear war, everyone loses.

War isn't what it used to be.

It's still the resolution

of economic and political conflict.

What kind of resolution

with 100 million dead?

- It doesn't have to be 100 million.

- Even 60!

The same

as a thousand years ago, sir...

when you also had wars

that wiped out whole peoples.

The point is still who wins and who

loses, the survival of a culture.

A culture?

With most of its people dead...

the rest dying,

the food poisoned...

the air unfit to breathe.

- You call that a culture?

- Yes, I do.

I am not a poet.

I'm a political scientist...

who would rather have an American

culture survive than a Russian one.

But what would it really be like?

Who would survive?

It's an interesting question.

I would predict...

convicts and file clerks.

The worst convicts, those deep down

in solitary confinement...

and the most ordinary

file clerks...

probably for large

insurance companies...

because they would be

in fireproofed rooms...

protected by tons of the best insulator

in the world:

Then imagine what will happen.

The small group of vicious criminals

will fight the army of file clerks...

for the remaining means of life.

The convicts

will know violence...

but the file clerks

will know organization.

Who do you think will win?

It's all hypothesis, of course,

but fun to play around with.

Time to go home. I didn't mean

to hold forth so long.

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Walter Bernstein

Walter Bernstein (born August 20, 1919) is an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Fail-Safe" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Sep. 2021. <>.

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