The Atomic Cafe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Atomic Cafe Reviews

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November 3, 2015
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?
July 15, 2015
I've watched this film multiple times and it honestly never loses both the humor and the shock value. It's still hard to process that period of time, and this piece manages to capture some of the hysteria and strangeness of that period of American history.
February 15, 2015
A very clever, at times amusing documentary.
December 30, 2013
One of the greatest documentaries about the Cold-war Ever made. Portraying war politics and mass hysteria through the perspective of pop-culture and mixed-media. Pitch-black comedy at its finest.
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.
½ May 26, 2013
Duck and cover! The more things change the more we stay the same.
½ 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.
February 22, 2013
Wow. I'm really glad I live in 2013. Crazy-ass shit!
½ February 21, 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.
½ January 1, 2013
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!
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.
½ 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 13, 2012
Really interesting take on the documentary genre... All footage is archival propaganda or newsreel stuff cut together in a way that tells the story of nuclear warfare and fear without spoon-feeding the audience. Nevertheless, the message was disjointed at times, and requires the viewer to come to the film with a good grasp on the Cold War era.
½ 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.
½ 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.
August 29, 2011
When you see the flash, just duck and cover!
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