This download includes a one-page version of the handout, a two-page version of the handout with a character guide, AND a PowerPoint with the questions and answers for class discussion. All handouts are provided in both PDF and MS WORD format. Enjoy!
“Arguably the greatest black comedy ever made, Stanley Kubrick's cold-war classic is the ultimate satire of the nuclear age. Dr. Strangelove is a perfect spoof of political and military insanity, beginning when General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), a maniacal warrior obsessed with "the purity of precious bodily fluids," mounts his singular campaign against Communism by ordering a squadron of B-52 bombers to attack the Soviet Union. The Soviets counter the threat with a so- called "Doomsday Device," and the world hangs in the balance while the U.S. president (Peter Sellers) engages in hilarious hot-line negotiations with his Soviet counterpart. Sellers also plays a British military attaché and the mad bomb-maker Dr. Strangelove; George C. Scott is outrageously frantic as General Buck Turgidson, whose presidential advice consists mainly of panic and statistics about "acceptable losses." With dialogue ("You can't fight here! This is the war room!") and images (Slim Pickens's character riding the bomb to oblivion) that have become a part of our cultural vocabulary, Kubrick's film regularly appears on critics' lists of the all-time best.” -- Jeff Shannon
BACKGROUND: If you were to google “Best Cold War Films”, Dr. Strangelove is almost always ranked as number one. The 1964 Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove was made just one year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event which had the world dangerously close to nuclear war. Stanley Kubrick, often ranked as one of the top three directors of all time, has certainly created a classic black comedy with this nuclear-themed film (a black comedy refers to making light of something serious).
REFERENCES TO REAL HISTORICAL ISSUES: Cold War, communism, red scare, nuclear arms race, space race, arms gap, mutually assured destruction,
CHARACTERS: President (Peter Sellers), General 'Buck' Turgidson (George C. Scott), Brigadier General Jack Ripper, Major King Kong (Slim Pickens)
OTHER FILMS BY KUBRICK: Spartacus (1960), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987)