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The Atomic Cafe Reviews

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November 28, 2013
Now here's a found footage film. This documentary is constructed entirely from footage taken from the US government ... footage of nuclear tests and propaganda films designed to convince the public that they could survive nuclear war and that nuclear weapons were necessary to protect against Russian invasion. It's a bit of a cheap shot, but it's not really trying to make a definite, coherent point so much as to bring out the inherent absurdity of the situation. After all, if the government feels the need to tell absurd lies, what does that say about its policies?
October 23, 2013
A more-or-less chronological display of atomic age documentaries. Starting with the Enola Gay crew, to duck-and-cover films for schools, onto anti-communist news clips. No narrative at all. If you want nuclear bomb clips start with Trinity and Beyond its follow-ups. For information on how communism was affecting the fabric of America through the Civil Rights movement and other avenues, I recommend Anarchy USA. So, dont bother with The Atomic Cafe.
September 7, 2013
Saw this movie in a private preview when I was a teenager. Back then there was still a U.S.S.R. A great movie about an early part of the cold war - an almost parallel one could me made today about the war on terrorism or drugs. Wars all important and insane at the same time. I'd like to find a site that listed each documentary included in the movie. It took courage to make and show The Atomic Cafe at the time. I'm happy to have it in my library in vhs and dvd.
March 30, 2013
As someone who didn't grow up with the threat of nuclear war hanging over my head, I find the clips in this documentary both quaint and disturbing at the same time...

It's funny to see all of the government propaganda in the light of 20/20 hindsight, and a little bit concerning given that if they lied once, they'll probably lie again. I will say the clips of the nuclear test are amazing to watch.
January 11, 2013
A compiliation of government propaganda about the atomic bomb. There is no narrative, only it is put together in a way that you are led to draw certain negative conclusions about what the average American believed when they were spoon fed these often misleading films made by the US Government.

I did enjoy it, especially the dark humor, and it was a nostalgic flick to remind me of the way things were and how the atomic bomb developed. I was especially pleased with the cameo by St. George, Utah.
April 5, 2011
Excellent collage film on the Cold War and a must if you are even remotely intrigued by the specter of the atom.
September 11, 2012
This is a darkly funny and often scary look at first twenty years of the nuclear age. The filmmakers took archival government footage of alleged information on atomic bombs, their effects and what to do in case of a nuclear attack. While I think it is heavy handed at times, it's just plain entertaining to see what was being shown to people in America, what was possible even believed by the American people and how much was probably hidden. Some of it was quite shocking at times, like soldiers asked to patrol ground zero right after a bomb was tested only 150-200 yards from their shallow trenches. Or the feeble instructions for people to simply duck and cover, as if that was an effective way to shield them from a nuclear blast. I was surprised they didn't do more with the Cuban Missile Crisis or interviews with Oppenheimer or some of the scientists. It was nice to see Ward Cleaver show up, though!
John W.
July 30, 2012
It's easy to look back from today's over-saturation of information and find it unbelievable that this is spun from official propaganda or that anyone could have bought these explanations. More scary than funny, and any humor to be gotten from this is of the pretty bleak and dark variety. All of that being said, it is a fascinating (albeit repetitive) look at the creative and destructive power and worldwide changes that the atomic age ushered in.
Anthony B.
April 17, 2012
Alternately hilarious and terrifying, this documentary is a sobering look at America's rapid descent into Cold War-era nuclear madness.
April 12, 2012
our goverment at work!
March 12, 2012
The surprisingly bleak collection of paranoia propaganda films from the 1950s is more alarming than it is comedic.
September 8, 2011
The first half of this flick is pretty interesting, and gives me hopes of doing similar film work with any other type of archive footage I might be interested in conveying.

The second half, however, gets a bit dull as the "message" of the flick becomes apparent.
January 6, 2011
A nostalgic look on the development of the bomb and society's attitude living in the nuclear age. Some of the nuclear ideas in the 50's are down right scary!
Jacob E

Super Reviewer

November 14, 2010
This is easily the most bizarre documentary I've ever seen. Most documentaries use interviews, have a host who guides people through the film (example, Morgan Spurlock in "Super-Size Me"), and have some form a commentary with a narrator. "The Atomic Cafe" is very different. This film is made up entirely of newsreels and propaganda films to tell the story of the world after the atomic bomb and the paranoia of the Cold War. The only alterations the film makers have made is some editing and subtitles so we know who the people are. That's it. The rest is up to the viewer to gather for themselves. I know a lot about this period in history and some of the footage in this is almost as funny as it is disturbing. For example, a happy kids film with a cartoon turtle mascot who cheerfully reminds us "When you see the flash, remember, duck and cover, duck and cover, duck and cover!" If you want to kill an hour and a half, give this a shot. It can get a bit slow at times, but its definitely worth watching.
October 2, 2010
Dark Humor abot A Bomb
March 31, 2010
Scary. A look at how the atom bomb changed the world, told through actual news reels and government information films.
March 11, 2010
I originally watched this my first semester, freshman year at college, as part of our honors seminar, which focused on the Cold War. At that time, I merely found it comedic, while now I absolutely laugh at some bits, but am more interested in the psychological warfare the H bomb really did cause, and the way the former USSR and the US dealt with it.
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