For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
495 Ratings


Directed by Sidney Lumet
United States, 1964
Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller


Miscommunication brings the USA and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war in Lumet’s adaptation of the Cold War novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Fail-Safe Directed by Sidney Lumet

What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    A chilling, masterful work. The Cold War was a mental illness that infected everyone. And it hasn't ended. Russia and USA are still building up nuclear arsenals, Iran is expected to be nuclear soon, and Israel's nukes are probably still pointed at Moscow. The USA media is beating the drums of war today, and we may be fighting Russia in Syria tomorrow. Everyone should stand down and sit down and watch this film.

  • Tigrão's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    Watching this film is like sitting on a razor's edge for 2 hours. It's a really brutal, raw, and depressing cautionary tale of Cold War with top notch performances.

  • Django's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    A high water mark for everyone involved and in a dead heat with The Manchurian candidate and Seven Days in May for the most suspenseful Cold War film ever. A must see.

  • bernardovazdecastro's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    Fail Safe is the purified version of Kubrick’s Doctor StrangeLove. Without the excessiveness, the burlesc, the parody, Lumet create a film with a mathematical precision, with space and time to breath and think (Kubrick always manufactory stereotype characters). The option here is not to push the button, like a nihilistic, but like a bullfighter where fear and bravery determined the action.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    A l'instar d'un Stanley Kubrick qui mettait en avant la folie d'un homme, Sidney Lumet privilégie dans le scénario catastrophe d'un conflit nucléaire, l'insidieuse et mortelle panne informatique, pour finalement dans un dessein et une conséquence identiques, vilipender, stigmatiser le danger nucléaire pour l'humanité toute entière...

  • Dalibor's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    Progressively more and more tense, "Fail-Safe" is a rewarding psychological and political exploration of a topic it might at times try to over-explain, getting lost in the progress. Cinematography and screenwriting are constantly somewhere between charmingly improvised B-movie production and an indie with strong authors note, emphasized by convincing feeling of claustrophobia.

  • Jonathan Smith's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    A superbly on point cautionary tale of a time when nuclear war wasn't just hyperbole but almost an inevitability. Slow to unravel, but once the titular fail-safe is passed the screen closes in on a circling claustrophobia & refuses to give an ounce of breathing space. Henry Fonda, typically noble & measured, leads the story of quiet desperation. The phone call scenes are brilliantly tense affairs full of humanity.

  • Sprungler's rating of the film Fail-Safe

    A brilliantly directed, played and thought motion picture. I did not expect it from a war film, yet this one is so embedded with philosophy that you do not even have to leave a room to feel its strength. "And the Lord said, gentlemen,"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."". A must see of war suspense, Fail-Safe is perhaps one of the best hidden gems of cold war cinema..

Related films