Films on Nuclear War

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The Forgotten Bomb

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 34m. The current threat level of nuclear war is examined through in-depth interviews with scientists, historians and survivors of the bombings in Japan.

Countdown to Zero

Documentary 2009 PG 92 minutes. Since the first atomic bomb exploded in 1945, scientists and world leaders have grappled with the apocalyptic dangers and paradoxes posed by nuclear weapons. Lucy Walker’s documentary presents an unblinking look at humanity’s lethal predicament. See Full Review

The Man Who Saved the World (in 1983)

Docudrama 2013 Starring Kevin Kostner, Matt Damon, and Robert De Niro, this docudrama tells the dramatic story of Stanislav Petrov, the Russian officer who, in 1983, saved the world from atomic war.

The Red Button

Documentary 2008. The Red Button is a 52-minute documentary film that tells the dramatic story of Stanislav Petrov, the Russian officer who, in 1983, saved the world from atomic war.

Link to watch Red Button video preview online free

The Man Who Saved the World (in 1962)

Documentary PBS Secrets of the Dead 2012. This documentary reveals that it was the actions of one man alone which saved the planet from utter destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He was The Man Who Stopped World War III. Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet submariner, died humiliated and outcast, despite single-handedly averting World War Three.

Thirteen Days

Docudrama 2000 PG-13 145 minutes. When a nuclear missile presence escalates in Cuba, President John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood) attempts to curb the threat with help from his aides, his generals and his younger brother, Bobby (Stephen Culp), then the U.S. attorney general. After assessing the situation, they quickly realize the Soviets could launch offensive warheads, leaving the fate of the world hanging by a thread. Kevin Costner co-stars in this drama based on actual events.

Trinity & Beyond
The Atomic Bomb Movie

Documentary 1995 NR 1hr 33m. Using jaw-dropping footage that was previously classified by the U.S. government, this fascinating documentary compiled by special effects filmmaker Peter Kuran and narrated by William Shatner chronicles the development of the atomic hydrogen bomb. Highlights include an underwater detonation of an atomic bomb designed to test the effect of the blast on ships at sea, as well as an interview with nuclear weapons developer Edward Teller. Another documentary titled Radio Bikini documents the human suffering as a direct result of the U.S. Government/Military’s efforts to increase the destructive power of the Atomic bomb. See Full Review

Radio Bikini

Documentary 1988 NR 56m. This Oscar-nominated documentary chronicles the eye-opening story of Bikini Atoll, which in 1946 was the site of U.S. atomic bomb tests that left the island uninhabitable for 40 years and exposed thousands of sailors to heavy doses of radiation.

The Missiles of October

Docudrama 1973 NR 150 minutes. William Devane gives a compelling performance as President John F. Kennedy in this dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Based partly on Kennedy’s book Thirteen Days, the film recounts the 13 days in October 1962 that nearly led to nuclear war. Co-stars include Martin Sheen as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Ralph Bellamy as U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson and Howard Da Silva as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Documentary 2004 R 122 minutes. Michael Moore’s hard-hitting documentary addresses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, outlining the reasons the United States (and, in turn, thousands of innocent Americans) became a target for hatred and terrorism. The film not only criticizes President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks but also reinforces Moore’s theory that the Bush Administration used the tragic event to push its own political agenda.See Full Review


Iran: Going Nuclear
Legal Power or Illegal Weapons?

Documentary Frontline / World 2005. Frontline/World and BBC reporter Paul Kenyon travels deep into Iran to investigate charges that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear bomb. With exclusive access to a U.N. inspection team, Kenyon visits Iran’s most sensitive nuclear sites and reports on the escalating diplomatic tensions surrounding the discovery of the facilities.

South Africa: Nuclear Underground
The Middleman

Documentary Frontline / World 2005. Continuing our investigation of nuclear proliferation, Frontline/World reporter Mark Schapiro and producer Cassandra Herrman travel to South Africa to find out how Asher Karni, an Israeli businessman respected in his Orthodox community in Cape Town, became the middleman in a black market operation to supply nuclear technology to Pakistan. Karni has pled guilty to violating U.S. export laws and is in jail awaiting sentencing.

Kim’s Nuclear Gamble

Documentary Frontline 2003. The world is running out of time to strike a peace-preserving deal with North Korea’s strange and reclusive leader Kim Jong Il. For ten years threats deceptions and diplomatic ploys have shaped U.S. relations with the Hermit Kingdom. Now what happens next depends on the outcome of a raging debate within the Bush administration over how best to handle Chairman Kim. Frontline traces the delicate maneuvers and clumsy turns that have brought the world to the brink of a nuclear showdown in Asia.

Missile Wars

Documentary Frontline 2002. Following America’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, Frontline examines the reason why: the Bush administration’s determination to deploy an antimissile system. Supporters say national missile defense is essential to protecting America from a missile attack by rogue states. Critics argue that terrorist attacks like September 11 are a far greater threat than that posed by ballistic missiles. In “Missile Wars,” Frontline examines both sides of the missile defense debate. Through interviews with staunch proponents, skeptical scientists, and military and intelligence experts, the one-hour documentary investigates this multi-billion dollar–yet still unproven–weapons system, and explores how national missile defense fits into the nation’s military strategy after 9/11.

Russian Roulette

Documentary Frontline 1999. The Cold War is ended, but the threat of a nuclear nightmare is far from over. In 1995 Russian President Yeltsin came within two minutes. of launching a nuclear attack because of faulty signals from Russia’s crumbling early warning system. Frontline’s investigation into the safety and security of the Russian nuclear arsenal presents interviews with U.S. and Russian military commanders about the menacing potential for catastrophe. It also includes top Russian military discussing missing Russian nuclear suitcase bombs and U.S Customs agents describing the first credible case of a scenario to smuggle tactical nuclear weapons in the U.S. The web site will offer more details on nuclear suitcase bombs and the tactical nuclear weapons smuggling case in Miami. Plus, extended interviews with nuclear policy experts and Russian nuclear commanders and maps of Russian nuclear facilities.

Loose Nukes

Documentary Frontline 1996. Frontline investigates the new nuclear nightmare of the post-Cold War era. While the fear of nuclear annihilation has faded, the security of 1,400 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium—-enough nuclear material to make roughly 100,000 weapons—-is vulnerable to theft in the former Soviet Union. Top American officials call its potential diversion to rogue states or terrorist groups a major threat to U.S. national security. Frontline examines the most serious case of nuclear smuggling in Russia to date and explores the perilous state of nuclear security in a country already rife with chaos and corruption.

Buying the Bomb

Documentary Frontline 1985. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh presents his first television investigation for Frontline. After six months of work, Hersh uncovers the story of a Pakistani businessman who tried to ship electrical devices which can be used as nuclear bomb triggers out of the US to Pakistan.

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