Fail-Safe (1964) Movie Script

You'll wake yourself up.
I'll get you breakfast.
No time.
The meeting starts at 10:00.
Don't worry about it.
They always have coffee there.
You're flying down?
I'll check out one of the trainers.
Then I can get back when I want.
What are you doing today?
Have to get clothes
for the boys.
They grow so fast.
Need any money?
I cashed a check.
I had the dream again.
Always ends at the same place.
I guess that's just as well.
Sometime I'm going to see
that matador, find out who he is.
When I do, that's the end of me.
Don't talk like that.
It's only a dream.
Maybe I ought to resign.
What good would that do?
I'm sure it would make the dream
go away. They're connected.
the dream and what I'm doing...
Sometimes I feel the only way
I can make it disappear is to resign.
But you can't resign.
You can't give up your whole life.
You're my life too.
You and the boys.
Maybe I have to choose.
Or maybe it's too late.
Warren, don't go.
Skip the meeting.
Tell them my wife insists
I go shopping?
I'll skip the shopping.
We could have lunch together.
We haven't done that in months.
A little French restaurant
with wine.
This meeting is special.
The secretary will be there.
They're even holding it in the war room
to show how up-to-date we are.
You could do with a day off.
In the middle of the week?
That's immoral.
We can go out for dinner.
I'll be back by then.
If I can get a sitter.
You got me.
You can get anything.
What would I do without you?
You wouldn't do very well.
There's no chance of that,
is there?
None at all.
First you said 100 million dead.
Now you say 60 million.
I say 60 million is perhaps
the highest price...
we should be prepared
to pay in a war.
What's the difference between
60 million dead and a hundred million?
- Forty million.
- Some difference.
Are you saying saving 40 million lives
is of no importance?
You miss the point, Professor.
Saving those 60 million lives
is what's important.
Face facts, Mr. Foster.
We're talking about war.
Every war, including thermonuclear war,
must have a winner and a loser.
Which would you rather be?
In a nuclear war, everyone loses.
War isn't what it used to be.
It's still the resolution
of economic and political conflict.
What kind of resolution
with 100 million dead?
- It doesn't have to be 100 million.
- Even 60!
The same
as a thousand years ago, sir...
when you also had wars
that wiped out whole peoples.
The point is still who wins and who
loses, the survival of a culture.
A culture?
With most of its people dead...
the rest dying,
the food poisoned...
the air unfit to breathe.
- You call that a culture?
- Yes, I do.
I am not a poet.
I'm a political scientist...
who would rather have an American
culture survive than a Russian one.
But what would it really be like?
Who would survive?
It's an interesting question.
I would predict...
convicts and file clerks.
The worst convicts, those deep down
in solitary confinement...
and the most ordinary
file clerks...
probably for large
insurance companies...
because they would be
in fireproofed rooms...
protected by tons of the best insulator
in the world: Paper.
Then imagine what will happen.
The small group of vicious criminals
will fight the army of file clerks...
for the remaining means of life.
The convicts
will know violence...
but the file clerks
will know organization.
Who do you think will win?
It's all hypothesis, of course,
but fun to play around with.
Time to go home. I didn't mean
to hold forth so long.
I don't usually come to a supper party
and talk through to breakfast.
Nonsense. We were fascinated. I hope
we didn't keep you from your work.
Not at all. I've got
a 10:00 meeting at the Pentagon.
Plenty of time
to get home and change.
You must come again,
Professor Groeteschele, with your wife.
I'd be delighted.
I'm Ilsa Wolfe.
We were introduced before dinner.
I'd like you to take me home.
You'll have to give me directions.
Just stay on this road.
You could joke about the convicts
and file clerks...
because you know
there won't be any survivors.
Not many.
None at all.
That's the beauty of it.
I've heard nuclear war called
a lot of things, but never beautiful.
People are afraid to call it that,
but that's what they feel.
The beauty of death?
Don't patronize me.
What else but that
are you selling, Professor?
We all know we're going to die...
but you make a marvelous game out of it
that includes the whole world.
- You make it seem possible.
- It is possible, even probable.
You make death an entertainment...
something that can be played
in a living room.
As good a place as any.
There's an even better place.
Turn in there.
This where you live?
Don't joke.
Why not?
I am the joker.
I make death into a game for people
like you to get excited about.
I watched you tonight.
You'd love making it possible.
You'd love pressing that button.
What a thrill that would be.
Knowing you have to die...
to have the power
to take everyone else with you...
the mob of them with their plans,
their little hopes...
born to be murdered
and turning away from it...
closing their eyes to it.
You could be the one
to make it true, do it to them.
But you're afraid...
so you look for the thrill
someplace else.
And who better
than a man who isn't afraid?
I'm not your kind.
- Airman?
- Sir?
General Bogan should be on his way in.
Tell him I checked out the new computer.
I'll be back on duty before he leaves
to check it out again with him.
- Yes, sir.
- I'll be in my quarters if he wants me.
- Yes, sir. Sir?
- Yes?
A telephone message for you.
They want you to call back,
said it was urgent.
Line, please.
Yes, I got the message.
Why do you think I'm calling?
Where did he get the money?
No, I'll come myself.
I'm going into town, Airman.
That's the address.
I'll be there about a half an hour,
then I'm coming back to the base.
Yes, sir.
Better button up
before the general gets here.
Yes, sir.
General Bogan's office.
Airman Slote.
No, sir, General.
He just left.
Damn it, I need him.
Where did he sign out to?
Conklin, you know where that is?
Yes, sir.
It's on the way to the base.
Get over there. I'll pick him up
myself, Airman. Thank you.
- This is the house, General.
- You sure this is it?
There's not another street
by this name?
I've in Omaha all my life. I know
this city like the back of my hand.
Don't bother getting out.
- Spending the money I send you on this!
- Give me that!
You raise your hand
against my mother once more...
Just a drop!
Who the hell are you?
- Yeah?
- I'm General Bogan.
I'm looking for Colonel Cascio.
He gave this address.
- Sure, General.
- Let the gentleman in, Luke.
Honored to have you.
My son always speaks well of you.
Sorry to bother you, Colonel.
We have some unexpected VIPs
we have to show around.
Yes, sir.
I'll be right along.
Why don't you come in, General?
Thank you, I...
I just take a drop now and then.
The boy here gets a little excited.
I'm ready, sir.
Damn snot-nosed kid.
It's that Congressman Raskob,
who's been nosing around the bases.
Washington wants us
to put his mind at ease.
- He's on one of those committees.
- Yes, sir.
Gordon Knapp will also be there to look
at that equipment his company makes.
He'll be on our side.
Anyone looks cross-eyed at his stuff,
he goes up like a rocket.
Yes, sir.
Time was when I'd say,
"goes up like a balloon. "
- Times change.
- Yes, sir.
Ploesti was a rough one.
We lost half our group.
Regensburg was the worst one for us.
I never flew the B-17, only B-24s.
The 24 was a good airplane.
You knew you were flying it, not the
other way around, like today's things.
You still have to fly
the Vindicator, Grady.
We're the last of the lot, Flynn.
Don't kid yourself about that.
- The next airplanes won't need men.
- You'll be too old, anyway.
After us, the machines.
We're halfway there already.
Look at those kids.
Remember the crews
you had on the 24s?
Jews, Italians, all kinds.
You could tell them apart.
They were people.
These kids... You open them up,
you'll find they run on transistors.
- They're good kids.
- Sure.
You know they're good at their jobs,
but you don't know them. How can you?
We get a different crew
every time we go up.
That's policy, Grady.
It eliminates the personal factor.
Everything is more complicated now.
Reaction time is faster.
You can't depend on people
the same way.
Who do you depend on?
All right, gentlemen.
The sky awaits.
You know something, Billy?
I like the personal factor.
Those are Vindicator bombers
of the Strategic Air Command...
on routine patrol.
Each one of those planes carries
four Bloodhound air-to-air missiles...
armed with nuclear warheads.
Those are for use
against attacking enemy planes.
In addition, each plane carries
two 20-megaton hydrogen bombs...
designed to detonate
over enemy targets.
At any given moment, night or day,
those airplanes are in the air...
in case of any surprise attack
on our bases.
You can see some
of the other groups...
- Who controls them?
- We do.
This room is the nerve center,
Mr. Raskob.
These machines are constantly receiving
information from all over the world.
And above it.
Mr. Knapp's company did the electronic
work on the Argos satellite.
Would you like to see what
it's photographing right now? Colonel.
This picture you're about to see
is being taken now...
by a camera 300 miles in the sky
traveling 20,000 miles an hour.
Can you give us tighter scale on this?
Those are the rocket sites
from 300 miles up.
- I'm impressed.
- We'll get it sharper soon.
Be able to see the people,
not just the machines.
We'll show you
the hair on their head.
- I suppose they're doing the same to us.
- You can see for yourself.
Let's take a look at the Russian
submarines in the Pacific.
There's the western coast of the
United States, Hawaiian Islands...
and those are Russian subs.
- That close?
- Nearest is 50 miles off San Francisco.
International waters. Nothing
we can do except keep an eye on it.
That's too damn close.
What's it doing there?
Scanning us, the way we do them.
Is it armed?
We have instruments so good,
they can tell the difference...
between a whale breaking wind
and that sub blowing its tanks.
No argument, General. I'm sure
we've got the best money can buy.
- We're proud of what we do here.
- You ought to be, Colonel.
- The money is well spent.
- I don't doubt it for a minute.
And you don't have to snow me.
My committee doesn't deal
with appropriations...
only with how
the appropriations are spent.
You see it all around you.
Pretty impressive, isn't it?
Truthfully, these machines
scare the hell out of me.
I don't like the idea
that every time I take off my hat...
some thing up there
knows I'm losing my hair.
I want to be sure that thing
doesn't get any ideas of its own.
I see what you mean, but that's
a chance you take with these systems.
Who says we have to take that chance?
Who voted who the power
to do it this particular way?
I'm the only one around here
that got elected by anybody.
Nobody gave me that power.
It's in the nature of technology.
Machines are developed
to meet situations.
Then they take over,
they start creating situations.
- Not necessarily.
- There's always the chance.
We have checks and counterchecks
on everything.
Who checks the checker?
Where's the end of the line?
Who's got the responsibility?
- The president.
- No one.
He can't know everything that's
going on. It's too complicated.
If you want to know,
that's what really bothers me.
The only thing everyone can agree on
is that no one's responsible.
Is something wrong, General?
UFO sighted
near Hudson's Bay, sir.
What you're seeing, gentlemen,
is an unidentified flying object...
picked up by our radar.
Until we get positive identification,
we regard it as hostile.
What do you do about it?
We've gone to Condition Blue,
which is our lowest form of readiness.
At the same time, we've informed
those Vindicator bombers...
that you saw in the air before.
They will now start to fly
toward their fail-safe points.
Fixed points in the sky
on the perimeter of the Soviet Union...
which are changed from day to day.
The planes will fly to those points
and orbit...
until they get
a positive order to go in.
And if they don't get that order?
They return to their normal patrols.
In short, we can't go to war
except on an express order.
How do they get that order,
by radio?
Yes, and through a box we call
the fail-safe box aboard each plane...
which can only be activated
at the express order of the president.
- He has to tell them?
- Not directly.
His voice can be imitated.
He just gives the order
and the rest is done electronically.
No one can interfere
with the fail-safe box, Mr. Raskob.
All those new blips you see
are fighter planes...
going after
the unidentified object.
Colonel Cascio,
tight scale, please.
You seem pretty cool about this,
General. Does it happen often?
About six times a month.
Probably an airliner off course.
- And if it isn't?
- Then it's something else.
That means it's at 30,000 feet,
going 525 miles an hour...
on a compass heading of 196.
Headed right for Detroit.
Seven minutes to fail-safe.
Normal procedure, Mr. Raskob.
We start an automatic countdown
at this point.
It's very unlikely the bombers
will even reach their fail-safe points.
It happens one time in twenty.
We usually identify the disturbance
well before that.
Six minutes to fail-safe.
What have you got there, Blackie?
Another UFO?
For a dollar, a commercial plane
or a flock of birds?
Plane. Off course.
You ought to give me odds.
I read your memo
on counterforce credibility.
I don't think Groeteschele
will discuss that today.
You think I should lay off?
Why open a can of peas?
We've got to discuss it
one of these days, Stark.
This whole policy of overkill...
It makes no sense piling up bombs
when we already have a capacity...
Just not today.
Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
- Won't you sit over there?
- Thank you.
- Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
- Good morning, gentlemen.
- Everyone here, General Stark?
- Yes, sir.
All right, Professor Groeteschele.
I see we have an alert
to supplement our discussion.
Unfortunately, we settled the question
of accidental war last week...
so we can't make use of it today.
Today the subject is limited war.
It is not theoretical.
On it depends
the kind of weapons we use...
where we locate them,
how we use them.
In short,
our entire military posture.
Is limited war possible?
Can we confine the exchange
of nuclear weapons...
to military targets alone...
or must war lead inevitably
to the destruction of cities?
- It must.
- Why?
The object of war is to inflict
maximum damage on the enemy...
destroy his ability to resist.
In the last war, both sides
could have used bacterial warfare.
- They didn't.
- It wouldn't have been decisive.
Can you be sure?
Maybe people still couldn't get used
to the idea of killing civilians.
Take that up with the civilians
of London, Hamburg, Dresden or Tokyo...
killed by the thousands
in bombing raids.
I omit Hiroshima and Nagasaki...
since those actions belong
more properly to World War III...
than World War II.
I still don't see
how we could restrict a war.
We could come to a mutual agreement
with the Russians...
to strike only at missile bases.
What if the missile bases
were near the cities?
They would have an incentive
to move them elsewhere.
They might take such an offer
as a sign of weakness on our part.
- It could be worth a try.
- They have as much to lose as we have.
We're talking
about the wrong subject.
We've got to stop war,
not limit it.
That is not up to us, General Black.
We're the ones
who know most about it.
You're a soldier, Blackie.
You carry out policy.
- You don't make it.
- Don't kid yourself, Stark.
The way we say a war can be fought
is making policy.
If we say we can fight
a limited war with nuclear weapons...
we let everyone off the hook.
It's what they want to hear.
We can just keep doing what we're doing,
and nobody really gets hurt.
But you can't fight a limited war,
and you know it.
I'm not so sure.
There's no such thing
as a limited war anymore.
Not with hydrogen bombs.
Once those bombs start to drop,
you won't be able to limit a thing.
Are you advocating disarmament?
I don't know.
It's the logic of your position.
Peculiar reversal.
The press would be interested.
The military man who is the dove,
and the civilian who is the hawk.
We're going too fast.
Things are getting out of hand.
Can you be more specific, General?
We're all trying
to make war more efficient.
- That's our job.
- And we're succeeding.
We now have the capacity to blow up
the whole world several times over.
Which does not mean
we must do it.
We won't be able to stop from doing it.
That's the logic of your position.
We're setting up a war machine
that acts faster...
than the ability of men
to control it.
We're putting men into situations
that are too tough for men to handle.
Then we must toughen the men.
Suppose they launch
a first strike against us?
Then we retaliate,
and we're all finished.
Would you prefer
that only we were finished?
We have to prepare.
We're preparing.
We've got to slow down.
I disagree.
We have got to speed up.
that means taking risks...
but our intention is always
to minimize those risks.
Of course, we can only control
our own actions.
Our concept of limited war is based
on an equal rationality by the Russians.
It also presupposes there will be
no accidents on either side.
But suppose
that unidentified flying object...
was one of their 50-megaton missiles
that had gotten loose by mistake.
What could be done? How could they
prove it was really an accident?
Would it make any difference
if they could?
Even if we believe them, should we
still think of limiting our response...
or should we hit them back
with everything we have?
It's gone, General.
What happened to it?
Colonel Cascio,
let's go to Condition Yellow.
It's dropped below the level
in which our radar can pick it up.
You went to the next state
of readiness.
That's standard operating procedure.
It could be a commercial plane
about to crash.
Or an enemy plane
taking evasive action.
Naturally, we prepare for the worst.
Two minutes to fail-safe.
What are those planes
following the bomber, General?
Fighter support.
Part of Condition Yellow.
From now on, they'll follow
the bombers as far as they go.
- What comes after Condition Yellow?
- Green.
- And then?
- Red.
But we've never gone to red yet.
Red means war, doesn't it?
- Not an air breather?
- What does that mean?
Jet planes suck air
through their engines.
Our warning system can pick up
the turbulence this creates.
If a commercial plane lost power,
no turbulence would be created.
It could be a rocket.
Off course?
Maybe on.
One minute to fail-safe.
It could be a Russian rocket coming in
low where our radar can't pick it up.
- Could it be that?
- It could be anything.
- How do you find out?
- Our fighters are tracking it.
Can't wait too long.
13, 12, 11, 10, 9...
8, 7, 6, 5, 4...
3, 2, 1.
All groups at fail-safe point.
Right on the dot.
That's flying.
- Yes, sir?
- Go to Condition Green.
Tell the planes to keep orbiting
until we positively identify the UFO.
- That's their orders.
- Tell them again.
- You'll have to leave now.
- Sorry.
- That is an order.
- You've got the wrong customer.
The way I see, we could be at war
in just about two minutes.
You can't get me back to my family,
so I'm staying here to see what happens.
There's no place for you here.
If those bombs go off,
there's no place for me anywhere.
You want me out of here,
you better call the military police.
- I think it's coming up again.
- We can't wait any longer, sir.
Give me a tight scale.
That's it, gentlemen.
Sorry we alarmed you.
Contact all the planes and have them
resume their normal patrols.
Yes, sir.
Colonel Grady?
What is it, Thomas?
What's the longest you ever stayed
at these fail-safe points?
The longest I ever stayed
was three minutes...
but it seemed like three years.
- This your first time?
- Yes, sir.
- Nervous?
- No, sir.
It's only natural.
I was just calculating fuel, sir.
How is the group
holding formation, Sullivan?
They're right in orbit, sir.
Even number six is tucked in.
Old Flynn.
Half man, half bird.
Thank you very much, General.
I must say, it was quite...
- What's that, Colonel?
- Checking, sir.
It's okay here.
Send in a K-13.
Something blew in the fault indicator.
We're replacing the whole unit.
The fault indicator
is our master control.
It tells us if something goes wrong
in any of these other components.
- Did something go wrong?
- No sign of it.
We'll know as soon
as they replace the unit.
Sir, the fail-safe box.
There must be some mistake.
Check Omaha.
Can't get through, Colonel.
What kind of interference?
I don't know, sir.
It's a kind I never heard before.
Try another band.
Try all of them.
Can't get through.
They must be trying to keep us
from getting our go signal.
They're too late for that.
Request permission to authenticate
on secondary channel.
Permission granted.
Order confirmed.
Request permission to verify, sir.
Permission granted.
Code sequence correct for today, sir.
Signal is go.
We will now both open
our operational orders.
Ready for approach
and penetration orders, sir.
You say these alerts happen
half a dozen times a month?
About that.
Not usually so dramatic.
We rarely get
to the fail-safe point.
I'd be a nervous wreck.
So would I if I had
to make a speech in Congress.
That blip up there at ten o'clock.
It's headed into Russia.
That is why some people advocate
a return to manned bombers...
for a first-rate retaliation,
rather than missiles.
They are slower and give more time
for evaluation and analysis.
The rockets have the defects
of their virtues.
They are too quick.
They allow too little time for thought.
I find this point of view
By the very nature
of modern warfare, the...
Put that on polar projection.
- Yes, sir?
- Get me the president.
I'm Buck, the translator.
They sent for me.
May I see your identification?
It says you have a small scar
on your left wrist. May I see it?
Dog bit me when I was a kid.
Yes, sir.
Hello, Buck.
How's your Russian today?
Fine, sir. I guess.
Good. We may need it.
Hang on, Jennie.
It's a long way down.
Tell Joe nothing leaks
to the newspapers yet.
Call the vice president and tell him
what's up. He'll know what to do.
On second thought,
we better tell the press something.
Have Joe tell them it's urgent,
but not a bone-breaker so far.
And off the record, no leaks.
Any leaks on this, the guy
and his paper are dead now and forever.
I'll tell Joe in just those words.
Who's at the Pentagon briefing today?
I want them in on this.
Secretary of Defense.
Chiefs of Staff.
That Professor Groeteschele
they like so much is giving the lecture.
- Is Blackie there?
- There's a General Black.
That's Blackie. I'm glad he's there.
We went to college together.
He's got a brain
and says what he thinks.
That's all for now.
Get to work.
Have them turn up the air-conditioning.
It's hot as hell down here.
We're far enough down.
Maybe it is hell.
- You know what's happened?
- No, sir.
One of our Vindicator groups
got a wrong signal.
They took off to bomb Moscow.
We've got to stop it.
Easier said than done.
But we've got a little time;
not much, but a little, so relax.
Easier said than done, sir.
If things get really hot...
I might have to use
the direct phone to the Kremlin.
That's where you'll come in.
Let's hope we don't get that far.
I hope not, sir.
- General Bogan from Omaha, sir.
- Put him on.
Group Six is now about 200 miles
past fail-safe, Mr. President.
We still can't make contact.
- Do you know what went wrong?
- No, sir, we do not.
Why can't you raise them by radio?
We don't know for sure, sir.
We've tried all frequencies.
We just can't make contact.
- Why?
- I dont know.
We had a flash on the board
just before it happened...
and the fault indicator
blew out at the same time.
The Russians may be jamming
their reception with some new device...
we know nothing about.
Why would they do that?
Is it customary?
No, sir, but it's possible.
In other words, it's possible
the fail-safe mechanism...
might be giving them a go signal...
at the same time they can't reach you
for positive confirmation.
It's possible.
It's not probable, but...
- Is it possible?
- Yes, sir.
All right.
If we regain radio contact...
will the bombers respond
to an order to return?
If we can reach them
within the next five minutes.
After that, their orders are
to disregard any verbal command.
Even if I talk to them?
Your voice can be imitated
by the enemy, sir.
Our men have been drilled in that.
Once they're
beyond a certain point...
they're not to trust
any verbal transmission.
What's our next step then, General,
if we follow standard procedure?
We already have
fighter planes in the air.
The next step would be to order
the fighters after the bombers...
to raise them visually
and divert them from their course.
What if the bombers don't respond?
The fighters would be ordered
to shoot them down.
Who gives that order?
You do, sir.
Thank you, General.
I'll be back to you.
Get me Mr. Swenson
in the Pentagon.
Swenson here.
Mr. Secretary,
I have a decision to make.
It's my decision,
and I'll make it...
but I want the advice of you
and your people, and I need it fast.
The president says he may have
to order our fighters...
to shoot down Group Six.
He wants our opinion.
I oppose it, sir,
on the grounds that it's premature.
Our planes have not yet
reached Soviet territory.
They're still hundreds
of miles away.
We got to do it
right now before it's too late.
It might be too late anyway.
Those fighters swung away from
the bombers when they got the all clear.
They've been flying
in the opposite direction.
- They're faster than the Vindicators.
- Not that much faster.
- I'm not sure they can catch up in time.
- They can go to afterburners.
- That will increase their speed.
- And use up their fuel.
They'll never be able to get back.
They'll go down in the ocean.
- We've got to try it.
- Suppose they do catch up?
Why do they have to attack?
Can't they signal?
Our men have been trained
to expect anything from the enemy...
even sending up his own fighter planes
disguised as ours.
They're good men.
We've seen to that.
If their orders are attack, the only way
to stop them is to shoot them down.
We have no alternative.
This minute the Russians
are watching their boards...
trying to figure out
what we're up to.
If we can't convince them it's an
accident that we're trying to correct...
we're going to have a situation
that nobody bargained for...
and only a lunatic wants.
Mr. President...
it is our opinion that the fighters
should be ordered in.
Thank you.
General Bogan, please.
Yes, Mr. President?
The fighters are to overtake
the Vindicators...
and, if necessary,
shoot them down.
Sir, it will be necessary.
I know that, General.
Order them in.
Colonel, order the fighters
to attack Group Six.
They don't have a prayer
of catching them, sir.
That is an order.
But that's the Arctic Ocean
they'll go down in, General.
They'll freeze to death
before they get their chutes off.
Colonel, get on the horn
and give that order.
Every second you wait
takes them farther away.
We're killing them.
They haven't got a chance.
This is Fighter Direction.
We are in voice communication
with Tangle-Abel-One.
You can talk to them on Channel 7,
single side band.
Do I tell them in code
or in the clear?
In the clear.
Tangle-Abel-One, this is
Colonel Cascio at Ultimate One.
This is Tangle-Abel-One.
I read you five-by-five.
Group Six has flown through
the fail-safe point...
and is on an attack course
towards Moscow.
It is a mistake.
Go to afterburners and overtake
and attack Group Six.
Go to afterburners and overtake
and attack Group Six.
Did you all hear that order?
Overtake the Vindicators?
Who are they kidding?
All we got is a 50-mile-an-hour edge.
They're half way to Moscow already.
You heard the man.
We go to afterburners.
And use spit
to run this airplane?
By the time we run out of gas,
they'll only be 1,000 miles away.
- Man, that's organization.
- Cut the chatter.
We're wasting time.
On the mark, go to afterburners.
Five, four, three, two, one, mark.
Shall I alert Air-Sea Rescue, sir?
No point. Bring up the fighters
on the board in tight scale.
Yes, sir.
Fighters on their way, sir.
Thank you.
Buck, let's hope this all blows over
in the next few minutes.
But if it doesn't,
we'll get to know each other very well.
Listen to every conversation I have,
try to get to know how I think.
- It might come in handy.
- Yes, sir.
- How did General Bogan sound to you?
- Sir?
Did he sound worried?
Confident? Scared?
Not scared.
A little worried, I guess.
Bogan's an old-time flier...
but he's not afraid
of all this new equipment.
If he's worried, I'm worried.
Do you know Mr. Swenson,
the secretary of defense?
I've read about him, sir.
You won't be able to tell much
from his voice. He's hard as a rock.
But we listen to him, Buck.
If he gives advice, we take it.
Yes, sir.
Put the war conference room
at the Pentagon...
and General Bogan in Omaha
on a conference line with me.
Yes, sir.
Ready, sir.
- Mr. Swenson?
- Yes, Mr. President.
If our fighters have to shoot down
the Vindicators, the worst is over.
For us, anyway.
I want your people now to consider
what we do if we can't shoot them down.
I'm putting you on the intercom
so you can be heard here and in Omaha.
General Bogan has Mr. Knapp
of Amalgamated Electronics...
and Congressman Raskob with him.
They have my permission to listen in
and say anything they want.
Right, sir.
Gentlemen, we've got four questions
to answer and not a lot of time.
First: What happened?
Second: What do we do about it?
Third: What are the Russians
going to think about all this?
And fourth:
What are they going to do about it?
Please keep the discussion
to those points.
Mechanical failure.
- That's what happened.
- A double mechanical failure?
- Do you know the odds against that?
- Maybe someone went berserk.
It doesn't matter.
Something failed: A man, a machine.
It was bound to happen,
and it did.
Maybe we'll never know why or what.
It doesn't matter now.
- Mr. Secretary.
- Yes, General Bogan.
Mr. Knapp here knows as much
about electronic gear as anyone.
Hed like to say something.
The more complex
an electronic system gets...
the more accident-prone it is.
- Sooner or later, it breaks down.
- What breaks down?
A transistor blows.
A condenser burns out.
Sometimes they just get tired,
like people.
Mr. Knapp overlooks one factor.
The machines are supervised
by humans.
Even if the machine fails, the human
can always correct the mistake.
I wish you were right.
The fact is,
the machines work so fast...
they are so intricate...
the mistakes they make
are so subtle...
that very often,
a human being just can't know...
whether a machine is lying
or telling the truth.
Maybe this time
there wasn't any failure.
Maybe the Russians have masked
the real position of Group Six.
Maybe Group Six is flying back
to the States this minute.
Then what's on the board?
Northern lights?
Maybe a group of Soviet planes,
up there to convince us...
we've accidentally launched
a bomber group.
- For what purpose?
- As an excuse to retaliate.
If they wanted to do that,
they wouldn't need an excuse.
- They'd simply attack.
- This way, we commit our fighters...
our first line of defense,
and made us kill our own men.
I disagree with that analysis!
We have to assume it is our accident
and not their plan.
I agree, General.
Yes, Saunders?
A report that the Russians
have seven bomber groups in the air.
- Is that unusual?
- That's normal for them.
- About like us.
- What kind of course are they on?
Normal patrol patterns
inside their own borders.
They have an abnormally large number
of fighters in the air, sir.
Almost half their fighter strength.
They're having the same problem
with Group Six that we had with the UFO.
They don't know what it is,
why it's there or who it belongs to.
My guess is that
they know all about Group Six.
They saw it fly to the fail-safe point.
They've seen that happen before.
They know the procedure.
- So far, no sweat.
- And when they saw it fly past...
They sent up their fighter planes
just in case.
I don't think they'll take any action
unless their border is crossed.
That puts it up to the fighters.
In my opinion,
they will take no action at all.
They won't just sit there.
I think if our bombers get through,
the Russians will surrender.
Who is the professor, Mr. Secretary?
What's he doing there?
Professor Groeteschele is a civilian
advisor to the Pentagon, General.
Will you explain your statement,
The Russian aim is
to dominate the world.
They think that Communism
must succeed eventually...
if the Soviet Union is left
reasonably intact.
They know that a war would leave
the Soviet Union utterly destroyed.
Therefore, they would surrender.
But suppose they feel
they can knock us off first?
They know we might have
a doomsday system:
Missiles that will go into action days,
even weeks, after a war is over...
and destroy an enemy even after
that enemy has already destroyed us.
Maybe they think even capitalists
aren't that insane...
to want to kill after they
themselves have been killed.
These are Marist fanatics,
not normal people.
They do not reason the way
you reason, General Black.
They're not motivated by human emotion
such as rage and pity.
They are calculating machines.
They will look at the balance sheet,
and they will see they cannot win.
Then you suggest doing what?
- Nothing.
- Nothing?
The Russians will surrender...
and the threat of Communism
will be over forever.
That's a lot of hogwash.
Don't kid yourself.
There will be Russian generals
who would react just as I would:
The best defense
is a good offense.
They see trouble coming up, they'll
attack and won't care what Mar said.
Mr. Secretary,
I am convinced...
when the Russians know bombs will fall
on Moscow, they will surrender.
They know that whatever they do then,
they cannot escape destruction.
Don't you see, sir?
This is our chance.
We never would have made
the first move deliberately...
but Group Six has made it for us
by accident.
We must take advantage of it.
History demands it.
We must advise the president
not to recall those planes.
They're flaming out.
He's firing anyway.
There goes number two.
Mr. President,
the fighters have not succeeded.
Theyve gone down into the sea.
What are the chances of our bombers
getting through to Moscow?
We've made the calculations
a hundred times:
What they have in the way of defense,
what are planes are capable of doing.
The Vindicators fly so fast, the Russian
won't be able to use all their defenses.
One or two of the bombers
will get through.
Thank you.
Buck, I'll talk
to the Soviet premier now.
You'll translate
what he says to me.
He'll have his own translator
telling him what I say...
but I want something more
from you.
- Yes, sir, whatever I can do.
- The premier says what he means...
but sometimes there's more
in a man's voice than in his words.
There are words in one language
that don't mean the same in another.
- You follow me?
- I think so, sir.
It's very important the premier and I
understand each other.
I don't have to tell you that.
So I want to know what he's saying
and what you think he's feeling.
Any inflection of his voice,
any tone...
any emotion that adds to his words...
I want you to let me know.
- Yes, sir. I'll do my best.
- I know you will.
It's all any of us can do.
Don't be afraid
to say what you think.
Don't be afraid all this
is too big for you.
It's big, but it still depends
on what each of us does.
History lesson number one.
I'll talk to Moscow now.
It's the premier, sir.
Mr. Chairman, this is the president
of the United States.
Do you hear me clearly?
Fine, Mr. President.
How are you?
I'm calling you
on a matter of great urgency.
I hope it turns out
to be a small matter...
but it's the first time
it's happened.
If it's misunderstood,
it could be...
Does it have to do
with the aircraft...
we have detected
flying towards Russia?
Yes, Mr. Chairman.
I suppose it's another of your
off-course reconnaissance flights.
Mr. President,
we have warned you repeatedly...
that this constant flying
of armed aircraft...
This is a serious mistake.
I say, it's a mistake.
Very well.
Tell me the mistake.
A group of our bombers each loaded
with two 20-megaton bombs...
is flying towards your country.
We shall watch with great interest...
while you recall them.
So far we have been
unable to recall them.
Are the planes being flown
by crazy men?
We're not sure.
It might be a mechanical failure.
All I can tell you
is that it's an accident.
It's not an attempt to provoke war.
It's not part of a general attack.
How do I know you do not have
hundreds of other planes...
coming in so low
our radar cannot pick them up?
Because I hope to prove to you
that it's an accident...
that we take full responsibility...
that we're doing everything we can
to correct it.
- Go on.
- You must have seen...
that we sent fighter planes
to shoot down the bombers.
American fighters
to shoot down American bombers?
That is correct.
- And you gave that order?
- I did.
How do I know that the planes
were not simply diving...
to a low altitude
to escape our radar?
On our plotting board, the action
could only be interpreted...
as planes out of control.
You have the same equipment we do.
What did it tell you?
It did not tell us what is
in your mind, Mr. President.
I'm telling you that.
And you ask me
to believe you?
You must believe me.
You ask for belief
at a curious time.
If we don't trust each other now,
Mr. Chairman...
there may not be
another time.
We saw your planes
fall into the sea.
I wanted only
to hear your explanation...
and whether it was done
at your own order.
It is a hard thing to order men
to their death, is it not?
It is.
Sir, there's someone trying
to persuade him it's a trick.
They want him
to strike back at once.
Soviet airspace has still not
been violated, Mr. President.
But if it is, we will be forced
to shoot down your bombers.
And then we will come to full alert
with all our missiles and planes.
I understand that. I hope you're able
to shoot down our bombers.
But I urge you not to take any steps
that cannot be recalled.
You know we must
protect ourselves.
You also know that if you
launch missiles, we must do the same.
If that happens, there'll be
very little left of the world.
I understand.
Is there anything more
you wish to say?
If I may make a suggestion...
I will arrange to open
a conference line...
between our headquarters
in Omaha...
and your similar officials
in the Soviet Union.
We will do all we can
to help you.
We do not need your help.
We are perfectly capable
of defending our country.
As you wish, but I must tell you
what my people tell me.
No matter what you do...
at least one of the planes
will get through to the target.
What is the target?
I'll call you back when I see
what our fighters do.
How's the formation holding,
Everyone in line, sir.
- How far from the border?
- Two minutes.
We better start spreading out.
Number six plane in the lead.
Right here, Colonel.
- Go to work.
- Roger.
Project the Soviet fighter planes.
Give me tight scale
on the Russian border.
- That does it.
- They've crossed the border.
Well, Buck,
we're into Soviet territory.
A technical state of war
now exists.
Give me Enemy Defense Performance.
This is Enemy Defense
Performance Desk, General Bogan.
How do you read
the situation?
Our number six plane
carrying defensive equipment...
and masking devices
has moved into the lead.
All those new blips you see
are decoys that it's dropped.
Have the Russian fighters
launched any missiles?
Not yet. You'll see their missiles
on your scope as tiny dots...
that appear suddenly
and then disappear.
There go some of them now.
You can see
they're confused by the decoys.
They're still not grouping
where the real planes are.
Can you wipe the decoys off the screen
so we see just their planes and ours?
There you are, General.
They're still going after decoys.
Our boys aren't making it easy.
They've picked up
one of our planes now.
Get them. Get them!
Knock that off!
This isn't some damn football game!
Remember that!
That plane's in trouble.
It looks like the Soviets
have a very slow missile...
with a much longer range
than we thought they had.
The slowness of speed
made our missile calculate...
they must be drones or decoys...
so it ignored them
and went after the fighters.
We can compensate for that.
The adjustment is minor.
The premier is on the line, sir.
Yes, Mr. Chairman?
We have only
a little time left, Mr. President.
His voice is subdued, sir.
It's not angry.
It's subdued.
How shall we use this time?
He sounds sorrowful, sad.
What luck
are your fighters having?
No luck at all.
We have shot down
only one of your bombers.
What about the other five?
May be yes, maybe no.
Your masking devices
are better than we had thought.
Hundreds of targets
have appeared on the radar.
Perhaps they are decoys.
Perhaps they are real bombers.
Many of my experts
are convinced that they are real.
They urge me to release
our own bombers at once.
Why don't you, then?
- Good question.
- Why haven't you counter attacked?
I am gambling
that you are sincere.
My generals are not so happy
with me about this...
as I'm sure your generals
are not so happy with you.
But there is time
for common sense.
I must have proof,
Mr. President.
Neither of us wants war...
but we must be convinced
that this is...
truly a mistake...
that your intentions are not hostile
and that there is a chance for peace.
Mr. Chairman,
let me ask you something.
Just before our planes took off
from their fail-safe point...
there was a white flash
on our plotting board.
We think this is connected
to some mechanical failure...
that might have activated
their "go" signal.
Could this have been caused
by your radio interference?
They're arguing
with him again, sir...
telling him not to answer...
the information is too secret.
Was it your jamming that kept us
from getting through to our planes?
I do not know
about this jamming.
I think he does.
We cannot be responsible
for your mechanical failures.
Is it possible?
Could it have happened?
You asked for proof, Mr. Chairman.
This could be it.
They're arguing back and forth.
"Don't trust you. "
"Have to trust you. "
"It's a trick. "
We're paying for our
mutual suspicions, Mr. Chairman.
I realize that,
but the wall must be broken.
We have to break it down now.
We can't afford not to trust each other.
We jammed your radios...
with a special device
even I did not know about.
I suppose I must be
very proud of our scientists.
It was more effective
than anyone dreamed.
But why?
Why this time?
We have computers, like yours.
They computed that this time
your alert might be real.
On what grounds?
The law of averages.
They have their own logic.
It is not human, but it is positive,
so we listen.
Will you lift the jamming so I
can talk to the group commander?
- Will he return on your command?
- There's a chance.
I'll give that order.
General Bogan.
Yes, Mr. President.
Put me through
to Group Six, fast.
Right away, sir.
- What's the group commanders name?
- Colonel Jack Grady, sir.
- Does he have a wife?
- I'll see, sir.
Turkey One, this is Ultimate One.
Can you hear me?
Turkey One, this is Ultimate One.
Can you hear me?
- Yes, sir, he does.
- Find her.
If I can't persuade him,
maybe she can.
- Yes, sir.
- Turkey One, can you hear me?
Turkey One, this is Ultimate One,
Can you hear me?
I have an important message.
Turkey One, can you hear me?
Turkey One, can you hear me?
Turkey One, can you hear me?
This is Ultimate One.
They've stopped jamming us.
This is Turkey One. I am not
authorized to receive messages.
Colonel Grady, this is
the president of the United States.
The mission you are flying has been
triggered by a mechanical failure.
It is a mistake.
I order you
and the other planes...
to return at once.
Do you hear? At once!
Colonel Grady, I repeat.
This is the president.
I can no longer receive
tactical alterations by voice.
I know that, but...
What you're telling me, I've been
specifically ordered not to do!
Damn it, Grady,
this is the president!
He's still on, sir.
Mr. Chairman,
I think it would be wise...
for you to remove yourself
from Moscow...
so that you'll be
out of danger.
It will allow us
to continue negotiations...
even if the worst happens.
I have made those arrangements.
His voice is tougher.
we cannot remove Moscow.
It remains here,
open to your bombs...
and when it is destroyed...
it's people dead because there's
no time to evacuate them...
where shall we negotiate,
Mr. President?
Shall I come to Geneva, hat in hand,
begging for peace?
I offered you help.
You refused it.
I offer it again. We will help you
shoot down the planes.
Set up your conference line.
I'll come back on the phone
when I'm a safe distance from Moscow.
Activate the Ultimate One/Red One
Touch Phone, please.
Can we stop them, sir?
Fire. Fire.
Before he gets off
one of those slow ones.
Colonel, knock that off, or I'll
have you taken out of this room.
Two down.
Four to go.
- Excuse me, sir.
- Yes?
Every minute we wait
works against us.
Now, Mr. Secretary.
Now is when we must send in
a first strike.
We don't go in
for sneak attacks.
We had that done to us
at Pearl Harbor.
And the Japanese
were right to do it.
From their point of view,
we were their mortal enemy.
As long as we existed,
we were a deadly threat to them.
Their only mistake was that
they failed to finish us at the start...
and they paid for that mistake
at Hiroshima.
You're talking about
a different kind of war.
Exactly. This time,
we can finish what we start.
And if we act right now...
our casualties will be minimal.
Do you know what you're saying?
Do you believe that Communism
is not our mortal enemy?
You're justifying murder.
Yes, to keep from being murdered.
In the name of what?
To preserve what?
Even if we do survive, what are we,
better than what we say they are?
What gives us the right to live, then?
What makes us worth surviving,
That we are ruthless enough
to strike first?
Those who can survive
are the only ones worth surviving.
Fighting for your life
isn't the same as murder.
Where do you draw the line
once you know what the enemy is?
How long would the Nazis
have kept it up...
if every Jew they came after
had met them with a gun in his hand?
But I learned from them, General Black.
Oh, I learned.
You learned too well, Professor.
You learned so well that now
there's no difference...
between you
and what you want to kill.
Yes, Mr. President.
Contact our ambassador
to Moscow.
Also the Soviet delegate
to the United Nations.
Hook them onto my line.
When the Soviet premier
comes back on the phone...
put us all on together.
Yes, Mr. President.
Is the Touch Phone open
between Omaha...
and the Soviet
command headquarters?
- Yes, sir, all ready.
- Keep it open.
General Black.
Yes, Mr. President.
Remember your Old Testament?
A little.
Remember the story
of the sacrifice of Abraham?
Old what's-his-name
used to use it in chapel...
at least twice a year.
I remember, sir.
Keep it in mind
the next few hours.
I need your help.
Get out to Andrews Field
right away.
Orders will be
waiting for you there.
Yes, sir.
Blackie, are Katherine
and the kids in New York?
Yes, sir.
I may be asking
a great deal of you.
I'll do whatever you say.
Good luck, Blackie.
General Bogan.
Yes, Mr. President?
I've activated the Touch Phone
between you and the Soviet command.
- Will you test it, please?
- Yes, sir.
This is General Bogan,
Strategic Air Command, Omaha.
I am the translator
for Marshal Nevsky.
Marshal Nevsky
sends his greetings.
The same to him.
Our reception is five-by-five.
How do you read us?
We read you five-by-five.
One moment, please.
Mr. President...
we're through to them.
Thank you, General.
Put me on your public address system
so everyone can hear what I say.
I want the Russians to be able
to hear as well.
Yes, sir.
Ready, sir.
Gentlemen, this is the president
of the United States.
Whatever orders I give
to American personnel...
are to be considered direct orders
from the commander in chief.
They are to be obeyed fully...
without reservation
and at once.
We must do
everything we can...
to prevent our planes
from attacking Moscow.
The Soviet premier has behaved
as I believe I would...
under similar conditions.
He has delayed retaliation.
I think he believes
this is an accident...
but we must convince him
and his chief advisors that it is.
I therefore order
every American...
to cooperate fully...
with Soviet officers...
in shooting down
our invading planes.
You are to give
whatever information they request.
Any hesitation,
any withholding of information...
can have
the most tragic consequences.
I cannot emphasize this
too strongly.
Are there any questions?
Gentlemen, I expect you
to conduct yourselves as patriots...
and I wish you success.
Do the missiles on these bombers...
have both infrared
and radar homing capabilities?
A number of our fighter planes
have been destroyed...
by a missile that seems to home
not on the infrared source...
but on the radar transmitter.
Is it possible?
Colonel Cascio
will answer your question.
Answer the question, Colonel.
That is a direct order.
An order, Colonel!
Just a moment, please.
Major Handel.
General Bogan...
Sergeant Collins, on the double!
You're backup man
on fire control, aren't you?
Yes, sir.
Do our Vindicator missiles have both
infrared- and radar-seeking capacity?
Yes, sir.
Loud and clear! They've got
to know we're on the level!
It has both capacities, sir.
Can the radar-seeking mechanism
be overloaded...
by increasing
the strength of the signal?
Tell them!
Yes, sir.
It can be overloaded...
but by increasing the power output...
and sliding through radar frequencies
as fast as possible...
what happens is
the firing mechanism...
reads the higher amperage
as proximity to the target...
and detonates the warhead.
Thank you, General Bogan.
We will be back to you.
That's all, Sergeant.
What does it mean?
We've told them how to blow up
our air-to-air missiles...
and with them, our planes.
They're picking us up.
Thomas, send out the code
for the alternate flight plan.
We're going down to the floor.
They're trying to avoid the fighters
by going too low for their radar.
I'm sorry, General, I...
I don't know what happened.
I just couldn't do it.
It was like a...
I don't know, a fit or something.
Colonel, I...
Forget it.
Who could have expected
this situation?
General, I...
I think this is all a trap.
They wanted this to happen.
We know they've been trying
to foul up our fail-safe signal.
I think we should tell
the president it's a trap.
They're just using the time
to get their missiles ready...
and fly their bombers
into position.
We have no evidence of that.
They could be flying their bombers
in the grass.
They could have
fired missiles already...
and put them up in the orbit
of known satellites...
where we couldn't detect them.
We computed that problem. Satellites
could be used to mask missiles.
We computed
a lot of problems.
I'm not reporting anything
I don't know for sure.
I think we should recommend
a full-strength attack.
That is not our decision!
The Pentagon...
They don't know what we know.
They're not soldiers anymore.
They're politicians.
They don't care
what happens to us.
They make a mistake,
that's politics.
They send out men
to be killed. For what?
To make some lousy deal,
to sell us out.
Save the world, save us.
Save our country
before they destroy it...
with their stinking politics.
Order a first strike, General.
Put an end to it once and for all.
You have the power.
You can do it!
You are talking treason. Stop it now,
or I'll have you put under arrest.
General Bogan,
this is Marshal Nevsky.
Yes, Marshal.
Can you give us
the longitude and latitude...
of the three remaining planes.
Yes, but we can't give you
their altitude.
The signals we're getting
are too distorted.
Will you please give us
the position of the three planes?
We can fly fighters
at various altitudes.
Can do.
Gentlemen, I am taking over
command of this post...
at the specific order
of the president of the United States.
He has long been aware that
General Bogan is mentally unbalanced...
and has warned me
to observe him closely.
The negotiations which General Bogan
has been conducting with the enemy...
are the acts of a lunatic.
By the direct authority
of the president...
I now command you
to take all orders from...
We got orders, Colonel.
You make a fuss, we'll kill you.
You're a traitor.
You're worse than anybody.
You wear the uniform.
You have men under your command.
You're in the field, but you want them
dead before they find you out!
You want me dead!
I saw it this morning
when you found me with those people.
I'm better than you are!
It's a mistake!
You're betraying us all!
You're making a mistake!
I'm better than you are.
You're a traitor.
You're betraying us all!
Marshal Nevsky?
Yes, sir.
I am prepared to give you
the longitude and latitude...
of our bombers
in accordance with your request.
I was aware of your difficulty,
General Bogan.
We have had
such problems ourselves.
I await your information.
Major Handel.
you better have a doctor...
They've got another one.
Sit down, anyway.
That was a bad knock.
Anyone could crack
under the strain.
If you ask me,
he was on the edge...
He was a good soldier.
The Soviet premier
is coming back on the line, sir.
The ambassador and
the Soviet delegate are already on.
- Have they been told?
- Yes, sir, as you said.
Jay, where are you?
On the top floor of the embassy
in Moscow, Mr. President.
Where are you, Mr. Lentov?
In the U.N. Building in New York.
I suppose there is a reason...
for your ambassador
and Comrade Lentov to join us.
There is, Mr. Chairman.
Then let's get on with it.
His voice is firmer, sir.
Like he's made up his mind.
In a few minutes,
the bombs may be falling.
I have brought our forces
to a condition of full readiness.
Unless we can satisfy one another,
I must release those forces.
What do you propose,
Mr. President?
Do your people think there is still
a chance of bringing down the bombers?
There is always a chance.
But I'm asking you,
what if they cannot?
What will you do?
Have you made a decision?
It's my decision,
and I take full responsibility.
Mr. Swenson...
are you on the line?
Yes, Mr. President.
- General Bogan?
- Yes, sir.
This is what will happen if even one
of the bombers gets through.
It will drop two
20-megaton bombs on Moscow.
- Jay?
- Yes, Mr. President?
You might hear
the sound of the engines...
just before the bombs drop,
maybe not.
In any case, you'll hear
the defensive missiles going off.
Right after that,
the bombs will explode.
I'm told that what we will hear
at this end...
will be a high, shrill sound.
That will be
the ambassador's phone...
melting from the heat
of the fireball.
When we hear that sound...
the ambassador will be dead.
You understand,
Mr. Ambassador...
you're to stay
exactly where you are.
Yes, Mr. President.
He's got to attack.
Is this your proposal?
To sacrifice one American
for five million Russians?
No, no, listen to me!
I've ordered a Vindicator bomber
into the air from Washington.
In a few minutes, it will be
flying over New York City.
It is carrying two
20-megaton bombs.
The moment I know
that Moscow has been hit...
I will order that plane
to drop its bombs.
It will use the Empire State Building
for ground zero.
When we hear the shriek
of Mr. Lentov's phone melting...
we will know that he is gone...
and with him, New York.
Holy Mother of God.
He can't do it.
What else can he do?
I don't know any other way,
Mr. Chairman, unless...
unless you feel
the offer itself is enough.
Showing our intentions.
Would you think it enough?
If Russian bombers
were flying against New York...
could you accept
only my good intentions?
I believe
this was an accident.
But I also believe
your action...
is the only way out.
I ask you to believe
I wish it were not so.
We can still hope
I won't have to take that action.
How close to target?
Fourteen minutes, sir.
How many planes left?
Just us and number six.
Still here, Grady.
What's your condition?
Slight wing damage
from ordinary flak. Thats all.
Speed down to 1350.
Drag even.
How many decoys
do you have left?
How many do you need?
Well, I got the bombs.
You don't.
I want you to take some
of those fighters off my tail.
- Will do.
- Billy?
I depend on you.
General Bogan, can you
explain this maneuver?
One of your planes
has just appeared again.
It's standard procedure,
Marshal Nevsky.
That's our number six plane,
the decoy plane.
It's trying to draw your fighters
away from our other plane...
carrying the bombs.
I see.
It carries only defensive equipment.
You don't have to worry about it.
Thank you. We shall try
for a kill in any case.
You'll scatter your forces.
You don't have time for that.
I tell you, it doesn't carry any bombs.
You don't have to worry about it!
You're letting
our other plane get through!
I told you!
There has been a...
Marshal Nevsky has collapsed.
It appears...
Well, I dont know.
General Koniev
is now in command.
Bogan, what's happened?
Marshal Nevsky sent his fighters
after a plane that carried no bombs.
That means our number one plane
will almost certainly get through.
The marshal realized that.
It was too much for him.
General Bogan,
this is General Koniev.
Do you have the remaining plane
on your screen?
No, sir, we do not.
We cannot see it on our radar,
and it is flying so fast...
our anti-aircraft is useless.
I must assume
the plane will get through.
- Yes.
- I intend to focus...
all our remaining rockets
on the estimated path of the plane...
and fire them all off at once.
Our hope is to setup
a thermonuclear barrier...
that nothing can penetrate.
That might work.
It's worth a chance.
You speak English
very well, General.
I was liaison to your headquarters
in London during the war.
I was stationed
right outside of London.
Yes, I know.
With the 8th Air Force.
Did you like London?
Very much.
So did I.
The great cities are those
where one can walk.
I would walk
all the time in London.
Wherever you turn,
there's history.
General, are you in Moscow now?
I was ordered to leave.
Is your...
It's a hard day.
Yes, a hard day.
Good-bye, my friend.
Good-bye, my friend.
- Colonel Grady, sir.
- What is it, Thomas?
The infrared indicator...
shows a large number of ground-to-air
rockets ignited ahead of us.
They should show on the scope soon.
What do you know
about those rockets?
They're no different
from ours, sir.
Designed to home in
on heat-producing engines...
like an airplane.
They can't be aiming at us. We're
too low. They'd blow themselves up.
What are they doing
with them?
- General Bogan?
- Yes.
They found Mrs. Grady.
She's standing by.
Mr. President.
- We have Grady's wife.
- Can we get through to him?
If he follows procedure, he'll contact
us when he within range of the target.
Those are his orders so that we know
how to evaluate the strike.
- He's been following orders so far.
- Yes, sir.
Keep your fingers crossed.
- Thomas.
- Yes, sir.
Would their rockets
follow missiles too?
I don't see why not.
A missile produces heat.
I think I know
what they're gonna do.
Explode the rockets on top of us,
hope to knock us down with a blast.
They can do it too. How many
air-to-air missiles are left?
The minute you see those rockets
ignite on the scope...
you fire our missiles and guide them
for maximum elevation straight up.
Straight up.
Yeah. Maybe their rockets
will follow the missiles...
explode too high to hurt us.
Yes, sir.
Colonel Grady, we're in range.
We have to report in.
Watch that scope.
Ultimate One,
this is Turkey One.
- Can you hear me?
- Grady, this is General Bogan.
Keep receiving no matter what you hear.
Do you understand? Keep receiving.
This is Helen.
It's Helen.
Do you recognize my voice?
It's not a trick.
It's me.
Jack, you must turn back.
You mustn't drop those bombs.
- Do you hear me?
- Is it really your wife?
They've started their rockets.
Fire one.
Do you hear what I'm saying?
Fire two.
Keep them at least 2,500 feet
above the rockets.
- Yes, sir.
- Jack...
There's no war!
We're fine!
You must turn back!
They're at 18,000.
- Go! Go!
- Nineteen.
- 20,000 feet.
- The rockets are following them!
Boost them as much as you can.
The higher, the better.
I've never lied to you, have I?
- 50,000.
- I couldn't, no matter what.
You've got to believe me!
80,000 feet.
Ninety. A hundred.
- They're slowing down.
- 130,000. 140,000.
- We'd better get some altitude.
- Jack, please, answer me!
Jack, do you...
Answer me, please!
You can't trust it, sir!
We gotta get out of here!
Hang on!
Their rockets are catching up!
We're gonna catch some of it.
Hold tight.
There they go.
Think we'll make it now.
How many minutes to Moscow?
Seven minutes, sir.
we have our choice about what altitude
to drop the bombs from.
It's about the only choice
we do have now.
Blast gave us enough radiation.
At best we'd only last
a couple of days.
So I'm taking her in low.
When we're over the target...
climbing to 5,000 feet.
Bombs are set to go at 5,000.
We'll go with them.
What the hell.
There's nothing to go home to anyway.
General Stark, are there any papers
or documents in New York...
which are absolutely essential
to the running of the United States?
General Stark?
No, sir.
There are
important documents, but...
none of them
absolutely essential.
Will there be any warning given?
A lot of lives could be saved
if people had a few minutes.
On short notice, an alert to a big city
would do more harm than good.
All you'd produce is panic.
What about this?
Maybe he doesn't know
his wife is there.
He knows.
Gentlemen, we are wasting time.
I've been making
a few rough calculations...
based on the effect
of two 20-megaton bombs...
dropped on New York City
in the middle of a normal workday.
I estimate the immediate dead
at about three million.
I include in this figure those buried
beneath the collapsed buildings.
Wouldn't make any difference,
Admiral Wilcox...
whether they reached
a shelter or not.
They would die just the same.
Add another million or two
who'll die within about five weeks.
Are immediate problem would be the joint
one of fire control and excavation.
Excavation not of the dead.
The effort would be wasted there.
Even though there are no irreplaceable
government documents in the city...
many of our largest corporations
keep their records there.
It will be necessary to...
rescue as many
of those records as we can.
Our economy depends on this.
Our economy depends on this.
"And the Lord said," gentlemen...
"'he who is without sin...
let him cast the first stone. "'
May I have a drink, please?
How'd you ever get to be
a translator, Buck?
You don't seem
the academic type.
I guess I've got
this talent for languages, sir.
I hear a language once,
I pick it right up.
I don't even know how.
They found out
about it in the army.
You sound sorry they did.
Oh, no.
Very interesting job.
I mean, sometimes.
Well, you did
a good job today, Buck.
Thank you, sir.
All I did was repeat what he said.
You didn't freeze up.
Another man might have.
You're the one who didn't, sir.
I wonder what it's like out.
Looked like rain before.
Radio said it would clear
by the afternoon.
The premier, sir.
Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. President...
I have ordered
our long-range missiles...
to stand down from their alert.
Only that part of our defense...
that has a chance
of shooting down your bomber...
is still active.
We do not think
we have much of a chance.
I know.
And yet, this was nobody's fault.
I don't agree.
No human being did wrong.
No one is to be blamed.
We're to blame, both of us.
We let our machines
get out of hand.
Still, it was an accident.
Two great cities may be destroyed,
millions of innocent people killed.
What do we say to them, Mr. Chairman?
"Accidents will happen"?
I won't accept that.
All I know...
is that as long
as we have weapons...
All I know is that men
are responsible.
We're responsible
for what happens to us.
Today we had
a taste of the future.
Do we learn from it,
or do we go on the way we have?
What do we do, Mr. Chairman?
What do we say to the dead?
I think, if we are men...
we must say...
this will not happen again.
But do you think it possible...
with all that stands
between us?
We put it there, Mr. Chairman,
and we're not helpless.
What we put between us,
we can remove.
- Mr. President?
- Yes, Jay.
I can hear the sound of explosions
from the northeast.
The sky is very bright,
all lit up...
Put me through
to General Black.
Yes, Mr. President.
Yes, Mr. President?
Moscow's been destroyed.
Drop your bombs
according to plan.
Yes, sir.
You've all been briefed on the mission,
so there's nothing more to say.
I have only one last order.
Nobody else is to have anything to do
with the dropping of the bombs.
Repeat: I will fly the plane
and release the bombs.
The final act is my own.
On course, sir.
Approaching target.
Count down from ten.
Give me the signal.
Ten, nine...
eight, seven...
six, five...
four, three...
two, one.
General Black!
The dream...
The dream!
The matador.
The matador!
The matador.