Fail Safe – 2000 (A made-for-TV live event review)

Made for Television

  • 2000


  • 100% – Rotten Tomatoes Critics
  • 78% – Rotten Tomatoes Movie Goers
  • 70% – Roger Koehler


  • George Clooney, Richard Dreyfuss, Noah Wyle, Harvey Keitel, Hank Azaria

Directed by

  • Stephen Freers, Martin A. Pasetta

Roger’s Review of the Television Remake of the Original Movie – Written June 24, 2017

This is the adapted, television screenplay of the original 1964 motion picture which was released in black and white, as was the original, in 2000.  The made-for-television live broadcast is very well done, and it is very true to the original movie.

This is the original trailer for the made-for-tv movie …

Please also see my review of the classic, 1964 original motion picture by the same name.

Since the original is one of my top five movies of all time, I was predictably not as comfortable with all of the actors who reprised the roles from the original movie.  Richard Dreyfuss was in an absolute no-win situation in comparing his role as the President to the classic performance of Henry Fonda.  I also thought that Hank Azaria was not as effective in the role of Dr. Groeteschele as was Walter Matthau in the original.

However, I do feel that Noah Wyle (Dr. Carter from E.R. and more recently, Tom Mason from Falling Skies) was excellent in his role as the President’s Russian interpreter.  I also liked George Clooney in the role of Col. Grady – the nuclear bomber commander.

Fail Safe 2000 - Binns and Clooney

Interview (4m15s) with George Clooney and Don Cheadle …

Since my wife had never seen the original movie, and neither of us had seen the 2000 TV remake, we checked out both of them from our local library and watched them on back-to-back evenings.  We watched the original first, and then the remake.  If you might plan to do likewise, I would recommend watching them in that order so that you see the best version first and the suspense is not diminished by your knowledge of the outcome.

One interesting thing I learned about this live TV remake of Fail Safe is that George Clooney used some of the lessons learned from the famous live TV episode, Ambush of E.R. shown in 1997.  In that unique event, it actually was shot twice – once for the east coast and another for the west coast.  During the two airings, they had live updates of actual baseball games in progress to emphasize the live nature of the broadcast.

This is a post show interview after the west coast version was completed of Ambush

2 thoughts on “Fail Safe – 2000 (A made-for-TV live event review)”

  1. I recall very well the live broadcast of E.R. Because I was a real fan and never missed an episode. I saw the West Coast edition so can’t compare the baseball games, but it certainly is an interesting point. Leave it to you to pick up on such a thing!


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