How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 political satire addresses controversial historic events in a comedic manner. The disastrous nuclear bombing and the events leading up to it represented an altered reflection of the heated arms race between the U.S and Soviets in the 1960’s in addition to the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Although the film was obviously not a visual replica of history, many of the themes, ideas, and messages of it were heavily based off realistic issues and sentiments during this chaotic time period.

One of obvious themes mirrored in the film was the widespread Cold War and nuclear war paranoia. Historically, Americans were crippled with fear knowing that a nuclear war that could wipe out all human existence was a possible threat. Children in schools even practiced responding to nuclear attacks by hiding under their desks. Furthermore, any displays of Anti-Americanism were handled with the upmost severity, some leading to unjust legal punishment. Similarly in the film, this same distress and concern can be seen in many characters including Turgidson and the rest of his defense team. While this comedic film does induce laughter from the perspective of knowing that this never occurred, during the high intensity of the 60’s, laughter regarding this particular situation was practically a forbidden act.

Despite the extreme tension surrounding the events portrayed in the film, the brilliance and intricate detail in the film proved to be groundbreaking and positive for the film industry. The courage and bravery required of an individual to direct and produce a film of such extreme political resonance also gives Kubrick another layer of credibility and respectability.

One thought on “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

  1. Considering the tense socio-political climate of the U.S. at the time of the film’s release, I wonder how the film was accepted by audiences back in ’64? Although the “Dr. Strangelove” was incredibly popular upon its release and is now considered one of Kubrick’s best films, I still wonder if Kubrick received any backlash for covering a topic that was so controversial at the time. In some ways, in its coverage of sensitive material, Kubrick’s film reminds me of Seth Rogen’s “The Interview” (2014).

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