The Atomic Cafe

1982, Documentary/History, 1h 28m

29 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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The Atomic Cafe deconstructs the beginnings of the Nuclear Age with pitch-black humor and a dread-inducing view of history. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This darkly humorous documentary consists of archival footage about nuclear warfare. Drawing largely on government propaganda and training films for American soldiers, the movie, presented in collage form, features clips from early in the Cold War era that are filled with alarming misinformation. Some segments address the alleged safety of nuclear radiation, "duck and cover" drills and other related topics, including instructions for living in a fallout shelter.

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Critic Reviews for The Atomic Cafe

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Atomic Cafe

  • Nov 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.
    Jacob E Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2009
    great document of the paranoia of the nuclear age with some of the blackest humor possible. made entirely from archival footage of atomic blasts, scary news reports and pretty hilarious civil defense propaganda full of misinformation. there are some upsetting scenes of blast victims as well. this would make a great double bill with strangelove
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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