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Tobey Maguire

Three new films show fascinating facets of the Cold War

Cold War movies traditionally pushed hot buttons and earned Oscar acclaim by tapping into collective anxiety over stakes that couldn't get much higher: nuclear annihilation. "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), best picture nominee "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) use fictional frameworks to dramatize the human cost of Anglo-American/Soviet friction; this fall, three thoughtful thrillers of sorts revisit the era with fact-based stories. "Bridge of Spies," "Trumbo" and "Pawn Sacrifice" feature Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston and Tobey Maguire, respectively, as real-life Americans of uncommon mettle.