Sputnik Fever (Sputnik Mania)

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 174
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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 Americans' initial thrill and awe turned to panic, fear and anxiety as leading politicians and the media whipped the public into an escalating mass frenzy. Perceived as evidence of an imminent attack by the Soviet Union, Sputnik not only created a deep fear among the American public, but also ushered in an era of remarkable educational, social and scientific developments with profound political and national-security implications for the United States and fascinating parallels to the present.


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Critic Reviews for Sputnik Fever (Sputnik Mania)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1)

  • 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.

    Jun 13, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • David Hoffman's documentary Sputnik Mania is an account of that Soviet satellite's effect on the American consciousness.

    Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • Clips from old television broadcasts make this space documentary entertaining.

    Mar 14, 2008
  • The sharply edited film, which includes (happily) just a few talking heads but mostly exciting archival celluloid and campy stock is a love letter to Ike Eisenhower.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sputnik Fever (Sputnik Mania)

  • Nov 04, 2009
    "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

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