Sputnik Mania (2007)



Critic Consensus: Featuring riveting footage, Sputnik Mania is an informative, well-made piece that effectively captures the mood during the height of the Cold War.

Movie Info

Historians say that there have been three great shocks that brought America to its knees: The events of Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and the launch of Sputnik. Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, "Sputnik Mania" reveals the dramatic and fast-moving story of what happened to America after the Soviet Union's launch of the world's first artificial satellite. Sputnik placed the U.S. and the USSR on a collision-course missile and space race. "Sputnik Mania" is a journey that chronicles how quickly the swing from … More

Rating: G
Genre: Documentary
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Dickson, David Hoffman, Lindsey Palatino
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 20, 2009
Balcony Releasing - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Sputnik Mania

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

Sputnik Mania plays, discreetly, like a negative love story between superpowers. Sure they moved on to other enemies, but they still haven't gotten over each other.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

For those too young to remember, Sputnik Mania documents the fear and anxiety that gripped the United States half a century ago when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite in October 1957.

Full Review… | March 14, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

The archival footage here is great, and the cosmos-conquering craziness will satisfy space-race nuts. But the small budget is obvious, so director David Hoffman couldn't go from the Earth to the moon on every detail.

Full Review… | March 14, 2008
New York Daily News
Top Critic

David Hoffman's documentary Sputnik Mania is an account of that Soviet satellite's effect on the American consciousness.

March 14, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Clips from old television broadcasts make this space documentary entertaining.

March 14, 2008
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Full Review… | November 17, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sputnik Mania

"Sputnik Mania" is a compelling documentary about the events following the launch of the first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957. It would have been significantly better if it had provided more information from the Soviet side of the equation, especially including up to the launch, which should have been possible considering the opening of the Russian archives. Talking to Nikita Khruschev's son is a nice touch, however. The documentary takes a different path than "The Right Stuff," showing the military buildup after everybody in the United States wet their pants at the possibility the Soviets could now launch missiles with nuclear warheads directly at America(And I'm sad at the people who I thought were smarter than this), instead of marveling at the human ingenuity it took to make Sputnik possible. This Cold War mentality would not lead to doomsday as thought possible since cooler heads like Khruschev and Eisenhower would prevail but to the horrors of Vietnam. On the plus side, this whole arms race would provide Stanley Kubrick with tons of material...

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Doc did a really good job on setting the stage and mood for the paranoia of the Cold War. Highlights were the filmmakers presented the case of how the USA and USSR got into a "pissing" contest over technology, the hubris of assumed tech superiority by the USA, how fear will make people irrational and the pressures 2 very oppossite leaders felt from thier military to build more weapons into an ever escalating arms race towrds oblivion.


This is a great documentary made better by the DVD having some fun extras of period films, propaganda laced and oddly banal in scientific portrayal. It really is a great dissection of the time period and how the world got caught up with the idea of space travel. It really brought insight into cultural reactions and good personal insight into world leaders. It doesn?t just float along with the news regurgitation, it picks its points and edits them together well. The interviews enhance the story and the visuals add flavor. This is how a documentary can be made well in a non-Michael Moore or Ken Burns way. A by-the-book doc done well.

Lee B

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