Fail-Safe Questions and Answers
by Eugene Burdick

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What are the similarities and differences in the book and the film Fail Safe?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are actually two different films based on the book Fail Safe (one from the mid 1960s and one from the year 2000).  I am guessing that you want a comparison of the book and the more recent movie.  (I will go ahead and tell you, though, that the difference between the 1964 film and the 2000 film is length and the deletion of many subplots as a result.)  If that is not so, and you need the exact differences from the 1964 movie, please repost your question with the proper movie indicated and an eNotes Educator will answer accordingly.  In short, there are more similarities than differences.

The two significant differences between the two are as follows: differences in amount of details and differences in the amount of exposition .  Because of time constraints, there are many details taken out of the movie (including all subplots) that can be found in the book.  One interesting detail that is changed is that, in the movie, the unidentified aircraft from Russia is eventually called an "accidental attack," while in the book it is eventually figured out that the plane was just a commercial jet that went off course due to trouble with the engine. In the novel, there is a large amount of plot exposition setting up the time period (the 1960s).  White House employees wake up in the morning and go to work as it's a normal day.  Others are giving tours of the White House and explaining the fail-safe system and how it works.  In the movie, we are almost immediately greeted with the...

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