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The Atomic Cafe (1982)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 29 October 1982 (Finland)
Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Tibbets ...
Himself (archive footage)
Harry S. Truman ...
Himself (archive footage) (as President Harry S Truman)
W.H.P. Blandy ...
Himself - Commander of the Bikini Test (archive footage) (as Vice Admiral W.H.P. Blandy)
Brien McMahon ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Sen. Brian McMahon)
Lloyd Bentsen ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Rep. Lloyd Bentsen)
Owen Brewster ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Sen. Owen Brewster)
Julius Rosenberg ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ethel Rosenberg ...
Herself (archive footage)
Val Peterson ...
Himself - Director of Civil Defense (archive footage) (as Gov. Val Peterson)
Himself (archive footage) (as Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson)
Lewis Strauss ...
Himself - Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (archive footage) (as Lewis L. Strauss)
George Molan ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Cpl. George Molan)
George Portell ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Tech Sgt. George Portell)
Jerry Schneider ...
Himself (archive footage)
Sergeant Weaver ...
Himself (archive footage)


A compilation of 1960's films about what to do in case of a Nuclear attack and the effects of radiation, also footage of troop tests of the exposure to an atomic bomb. Written by Michael Edwards <medwards@gate.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 October 1982 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Atomic Cafe  »

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with The China Syndrome (1979). The films included Silkwood (1983), Testament (1983), Threads (1984), WarGames (1983), The Day After (1983), The Atomic Cafe (1982), The Manhattan Project (1986), Whoops Apocalypse (1982), Special Bulletin (1983), Ground Zero (1987), Barefoot Gen (Barefoot Gen (1983)), Rules of Engagement (1989), When the Wind Blows (1986), Letters from a Dead Man (Dead Man's Letters (1986)), Memoirs of a Survivor (1981) and The Chain Reaction (1980). See more »


Civil defense film: Be sure to include tranquilizers to ease the strain and monotony of life in a fallout shelter. A bottle of 100 should be sufficient for a family of four. Tranquilizers are not a narcotic, and are not habit-forming.
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Flying Home
Written by Benny Goodman (uncredited), Lionel Hampton (uncredited) and Edgar De Lange (uncredited)
Performed by Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band
Courtesy of RCA Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

Horrifying and hilarious.
5 January 2003 | by (West Lafayette, Indiana) – See all my reviews

A great look into the ultra-paranoid mindset of the Cold War which I lived through. It is truly amazing how such madness (paranoia and intolerance of someone who dares to exercise REAL freedom of speech, of which examples are clearly shown) was accepted in those times.

The "Bert the Turtle" sequence cracked me up. I REMEMBER doing this "Duck and Cover" idiocy! When I was in grade school, we had Civil Defense drills: we were taught to leave the classroom, go out in the hall, face the wall, lean against it and cover our faces with our folded arms. Never you mind that the wall that was behind us consisted mostly of window glass! A shockwave hitting it would have blasted the shards into our backs. It would have looked like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre!

A great film.

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