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SUBJECTS — U.S./1945 - 1991; Cold War; Accidental Nuclear War;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Leadership;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility; Caring.
Age: 14+; Not Rated; 1964, Drama; 112 minutes; B & W.
It's the middle of the Cold War. Armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. (Russia) stand toe to toe, ready to destroy each other and the world on a moments' notice. The countries rely upon the logic of Mutual Assured Destruction to prevent war. One day, due to a mechanical failure, a group of U.S. war planes armed with hydrogen bombs flies off toward the Soviet Union. The target is Moscow. The planes don't respond to orders to return. WHAT CAN WE DO?!!!
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Fail-Safe provides background and discussion questions to help teachers and parents introduce children to the Cold War, the limits of technology, and the threat of accidental nuclear war.
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What if Fail-Safe fails? This is a question that we all rely upon for protection from nuclear war. This movie explores what will happen if the mechanisms to protect us from accidental nuclear war fail.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below the Benefits sections of the Learning Guide to Fail-Safe.
Benefits: Fail-Safe serves as a reminder that, while nuclear tensions have diminished, there are still thousands of nuclear weapons in arsenals around the world. ... Additionally, several nations who do not already have nuclear weapons are trying to build them. The chances of an unintended launch of a missile or of a nuclear accident remain all too real. See CNN site on nuclear weapons accidents.
The film also contributes to the contemporary debate over defense systems designed to destroy incoming missiles. ... The movie will help inspire children to discuss the wisdom of possessing large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, as well as to investigate what is being done to safeguard them. One only has to examine the destruction wrought by atomic weapons at the conclusion of World War II and note the incredible advances in their destructive capability to realize that everyone is at risk if there is an accidental explosion of a nuclear weapon.
In 2000, after the end of the Cold War, a remake of Fail-Safe on television attracted more than 20 million viewers. See Fail Safe Remains a Tale for Our Times. This indicates a continuing interest in the story and in the issues that it presents.
The Learning Guide to the film Fail-Safe contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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