Sidney Lumet

Fail Safe

Fail Safe

This unnerving procedural thriller painstakingly details an all-too-plausible nightmare scenario in which a mechanical failure jams the United States military’s chain of command and sends the country hurtling toward nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Working from a contemporary best seller, screenwriter Walter Bernstein and director Sidney Lumet wrench harrowing suspense from the doomsday fears of the Cold War era, making the most of a modest budget and limited sets to create an atmosphere of clammy claustrophobia and astronomically high stakes. Starring Henry Fonda as a coolheaded U.S. president and Walter Matthau as a trigger-happy political theorist, Fail Safe is a long-underappreciated alarm bell of a film, sounding an urgent warning about the deadly logic of mutually assured destruction.

Film Info

  • Sidney Lumet
  • United States
  • 1964
  • 112 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #1011

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2000 featuring director Sidney Lumet
  • New interview with film critic J. Hoberman on 1960s nuclear paranoia and Cold War films
  • “Fail Safe” Revisited, a short documentary from 2000 including interviews with Lumet, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, and actor Dan O’Herlihy
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri

New cover by Adam Maida

Purchase Options

Coming soon, available Jan 28, 2020

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2000 featuring director Sidney Lumet
  • New interview with film critic J. Hoberman on 1960s nuclear paranoia and Cold War films
  • “Fail Safe” Revisited, a short documentary from 2000 including interviews with Lumet, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, and actor Dan O’Herlihy
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri

New cover by Adam Maida

Fail Safe
Cast
Henry Fonda
The president
Walter Matthau
Dr. Groeteschele
Dan O’Herlihy
General Black
Frank Overton
General Bogan
Edward Binns
Colonel Grady
Fritz Weaver
Colonel Cascio
Larry Hagman
Buck
Credits
Director
Sidney Lumet
Screenplay by
Walter Bernstein
From the novel by
Eugene Burdick
From the novel by
Harvey Wheeler
Produced by
Max E. Youngstein
Director of photography
Gerald Hirschfeld
Film editing by
Ralph Rosenblum