The Movie: Fail Safe (1964)
What Is It?: The same year that Stanley Kubrick decided the subject of accidental nuclear annihilation was too absurd to take seriously, Sydney Lumet took it quite seriously. The results are taut and terrifying. The cast—Dan O’Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver, Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman—is explosive.
Why Today?: On this day in 1963, Washington and Moscow establish a “red telephone” link after the Cuban Missile Crisis.