One of Stanley Kubrick's finest efforts, Dr. Strangelove - or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - is a biting comic satire about the Cold War. As potent today as it was on its release in 1964, it features a tour-de-force from Peter Sellers, who (brilliantly or misguidedly, depending on your viewpoint) plays three characters - a baffled and bemused RAF captain, a confused US President and a crackpot ex-Nazi US strategy expert (Dr Strangelove). George C. Scott offers an equally powerful performance as an gung-ho Air Force general, Sterling Hayden is on top form as a delusional commander of USAF base who causes potential nuclear havoc, and there's an inspired cameo from Slim Pickens as a renegade yee-ha aircraft commander.
Brigadier General Jack D Ripper (Hayden) sets Armageddon in motion when he launches a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia. His number two - Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Sellers) - realises that the US is not under attack and that Ripper has become unhinged, but is unable to recall the nuclear bombers.
Meanwhile in the Pentagon's War Room, a gleeful Air Force General Buck Turgidson (Scott) briefs the President (Sellers again) on the nightmare developments. To his surprise, the President quickly contacts the Russians, and warns them of the imminent danger. By coincidence the Soviets have just activated a Doomsday machine, which, if it senses nuclear attack, will automatically annihilate all life on Earth.
The President calls in his special strategy adviser Dr Strangelove (Sellers again), but oddly the impending end of the world seems to excite (and possibly sexually stimulate) the wheelchair-bound and eccentric scientist. Can nuclear holocaust be averted? And can all the USAF bombers - including the one piloted by Major "King" Kong (Pickens) - be recalled?
Essential viewing. Highly recommended.