Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is a 1964 political satire black comedy movie that satirizes the Cold War fears of nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. The movie was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, stars Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and features Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, and Slim Pickens. Take a look below for 30 more strange and interesting facts about Dr. Strangelove.
1. Dr. Strangelove is loosely based on Peter George’s thriller novel “Red Alert.”
2. In 1989, the United States Library of Congress included Dr. Strangelove in the first group of movies selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
3. Dr. Strangelove led to actual changes in policy to ensure that the events depicted could never really occur in real life.
4. While shooting aerial footage over Greenland, the second unit camera crew accidentally filmed a secret U.S. military base. Their plane was forced down, and the crew was suspected of being Soviet spies.
5. Peter Sellers was paid $1 million, 55% of the film’s budget. Stanley Kubrick famously said, “I got three for the price of six.”
6. The scene where General Turgidson trips and falls in the War Room, and then gets back up and resumed talking as if nothing happened, really was an accident. Stanley Kubrick mistakenly thought that it was George C. Scott really in character, so he left it in the movie.
7. In Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers improvised the majority of his lines.
8. George C. Scott was reputedly annoyed that Stanley Kubrick was pushing him to overact for his role. While he vowed never to work with Kubrick again, Scott eventually saw this as one of his favorite performances.
9. As research, Stanley Kubrick read nearly 50 books about nuclear war.
10. Stanley Kubrick wanted the tablecloth on the War Room table to be green, so the actors would feel like they were playing a game of poker over the world’s fate.
11. In one version of the script, aliens from outer space observed all of the action.
12. James Earl Jones initially thought Slim Pickens was staying in character off camera, until being told that he wasn’t putting on the character, that’s the way he always talked.
13. Peter Sellers was the first actor to be nominated for a single Academy Award, for Best Actor, for a movie in which he portrayed three different characters in the same movie.
14. Sterling Hayden, who plays a paranoiac who fears communists, was himself an American Community Party member at one time.
15. Dr. Strangelove was Stanley Kubrick’s last black and white film.
16. Dr. Strangelove has the longest title for a Best Picture nominee or winner, at 13 words long.
17. Columbia Pictures agreed to provide financing only if Peter Sellers played at least four major roles. In the studio’s eyes, Sellers playing multiple roles was one reason “Lolita” was so successful.
18. When Slim Pickens was cast as Major Kong, he had never traveled outside the United States in his life. Production was delayed for over a month while he applied and got a passport to travel to England to film his scenes, which were the very last ones to be shot.
19. The War Room was inspired by “Metropolis.”
20. Stanley Kubrick intended to film Dr. Strangelove in the United States. However, filming was moved to England’s Shepperton Studio because Peter Sellers had to stay in England due to his pending divorce.
21. Although the movie is named after him, the character of Dr. Strangelove has the least amount of screen time of Peter Sellers’ three roles.
22. Over ten miles of electrical cable was required to light up the giant screen in the War Room set.
23. When General Turgidson is in the War Room, the notebook binder in front of him has the rather ominous title of “World Targets in Mega Deaths.”
24. The assault on Burpleson Air Force base was shot on orthochromatic film using a handheld camera that was operated much of the time by Stanley Kubrick himself, something that’s rarely done by feature film directors.
25. Among the titles that Stanley Kubrick considered for the movie were “Dr. Doomsday or: How to Start World War III Without Even Trying”, “Dr. Strangelove’s Secret Uses of Uranus” and “Wonderful Bomb.”
26. The photographic mural in General Ripper’s office is actually a view of Heathrow Airport in London, England.
27. The band Muse based their “Time is Running Out” music video on Dr. Strangelove.
28. According to some accounts, Peter Sellers was also invited to play the part of General Buck Turgidson, but turned it down because it was too physically demanding.
29. In an original script draft, Dr. Strangelove is referred to as Von Klutz.
30. According to Ken Adam, the War Room was exaggerated in size and filmed in long shots to give a fantastic quality to the activity there, primarily the decision making process where the power players are at considerable distances from each other.