Great Characters Wiki

Merkwürdigliebe better known by his citizen name, Dr. Strangelove is the titular central antagonist of the 1964 black-comedy film Dr. Strangelove (or how I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). He's an ex-Nazi who became President Muffley's scientific adviser and a U.S. weapons strategist.

He was portrayed by Peter Sellers, who also played President Merkin Muffley and Group Captain Mandrake within the same film.

Why He Rocks

  1. Even though he gets only two scenes focused on him, Sellers' convincing German accent and overall performance really made his time count, to the point where he became the title character.
  2. He can be considered a "Canon Foreigner" considering he didn't exist in the original book the movie was based on. So his existence is pretty creative.
  3. He has a mechanical arm that often tries to choke him or give a Nazi salute. This is also symbolism since it mocks the idea of recruiting Germans to work on American missile systems.
    • Plus his "wrestling with his evil arm" scenes are hilarious especially when he's trying to give a serious speech about the nuclear war.
  4. He's perfectly aware about how the world was going to end when the Doomsday Machine was activated, but he's perfectly calm about it as immediately plan life for the survivors of the destruction.
  5. He's very talented as the president's scientific adviser and weapons strategist. As he knew about the Doomsday Device, how it worked and the dangers of keeping everyone in the dark about it.
  6. As mentioned above, he's also a quick planner as had a 100-year plan for survival and planned to gather various people in a 10-1 ratio with women getting the bigger percentage.
  7. Another factor that makes the character memorable is that his actor, Peter Sellers managed to improvise a lot of his dialogue and scenes even though the film's director - Stanley Kubrick - was known for being a perfectionist.
    1. Towards the ending, Sellers had stood up to deliver a line, forgetting his character was supposed to be wheelchair-bound, but he rolled with it and said his famous "I can walk" line. That's probably why the line's so iconic.


  • His original German name literally translates to "Strangelove" as in having a strong interest with some pretty odd topics.
  • His character is based on the following:
    • Former Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, who developed the V1 and V2 rockets, was given amnesty by the US after the war, and aided the U.S. with early space rocket programs.
    • Evil scientist Rotwang with a mechanical, black-gloved hand in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)
    • Hungarian physicist and father of the H-bomb at Los Alamos, Edward Teller
    • Henry Kissinger, a former Harvard professor, who served as Secretary of State for Presidents Nixon and Ford
    • Nuclear war theorist Herman Kahn, author of On Thermonuclear War (1960), an early employee at the Rand Corporation think tank
    • Computer pioneer and patriotic jingoist John Von Neumann, a brilliant game theorist, who also developed the explosive lenses for the first atomic devices. He also wheelchair-bound.