Study Guide

Dr. Strangelove Warfare

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Dr. Strangelove is probably one of the funniest movies about nuclear war ever made. Come to think of it, there probably haven't been that many funny movies about nuclear war, but still. This classic takes the very real threat of nuclear annihilation and makes it the stuff of pitch-black satire. Like any good satire, Dr. Strangelove isn't just for laughs. It lampoons the defense policies that lead to the massive nuclear build-up that threatened all life on Earth. At the same time, the film shows common soldiers as misguided heroes whose bravery is betrayed by the powerful military leaders who in many ways are total clowns.

Questions About Warfare

  1. What similarities and differences are there in the way that the common soldier is represented as compared to the military leaders?
  2. How is the weapons manufacturing industry represented in the film?
  3. Does the film succeed in presenting war as pointless?
  4. How does Kubrick portray the political leaders vs. the military leaders?

Chew on This

The film portrays war as inevitable when men are in charge of things; it's all about sexual competition.

The film suggests that just about anything can start a war, no matter how trivial.

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