The American Experience: Season 1, Episode 2

Radio Bikini (10 Jun. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 451 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 11 critic

It starts with a live radio broadcast from the Bikini Atoll a few days before it is annihilated by a nuclear test. Shows great footage from these times and tells the story of the US Navy ... See full summary »


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Title: Radio Bikini (10 Jun 1988)

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Episode credited cast:
Kilon Bauno ...
Himself - Chief of the Bikinians
John Smitherman ...
Himself - Veteran of nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Warren Austin ...
Himself - US Delegate to UN (archive footage)
Bernard Baruch ...
Himself (archive footage)
W.H.P. Blandy ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Vice Admiral William H.P. Blandy)
Himself - Concerned About Bikini Test (archive footage)
James Forrestal ...
Himself (archive footage)
Vyacheslav Molotov ...
Himself (archive footage)
Woodrow P. Swancutt ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Woodrow Swancutt)
Harry S. Truman ...
Himself (archive footage)
Harold Urey ...
Himself - Concerned About Bikini Test (archive footage)
Lee Van Atta ...
Himself - Radio Reporter (voice) (archive sound)


It starts with a live radio broadcast from the Bikini Atoll a few days before it is annihilated by a nuclear test. Shows great footage from these times and tells the story of the US Navy Sailors who were exposed to radioactive fallout. One interviewed sailor suffered grotesquely swollen limbs and he is shown being interviewed with enormous left arm and hand. Written by <anon@anon.anon>

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Release Date:

10 June 1988 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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References Gilda (1946) See more »


Marshallese Song
by Skate Im Laa
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User Reviews

Powerhouse documentary concerning overwhelming military stupidity.
29 September 2000 | by (Washington State) – See all my reviews

This documentary is the best of its kind. Stone uses tons (literally) of military and other film footage from the year 1946. He then carefully puts it all together with contemporary (1987) footage of Marshall Islanders, i.e. former residents of Bikina Atoll and a navy veteran/observer of both 1946 atomic bomb tests on Bikini. It all comes together in one of the strangest and most powerful testimonies to military stupidity, especially during those early years of atomic tests. Throughout, we see with profound irony--using the military's own footage of the tests (June/July of that year)--how catastrophically stupid responsible parties (Navy Dept.) were. But, in the end, it was the Marshall Islanders--moved en masse from their native Bikini Atoll--who are the central victims, along with many of the Navy veterans. This latter point is communicated to us, the viewer, in one of the most forceful "pullback" shots in the history of cinema. "Radio Bikini" documents a historic event that should never, never be forgotten. But sadly, it on the main, is.

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