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Operation Avalanche (2016)

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In 1967, four undercover CIA agents were sent to NASA posing as a documentary film crew. What they discovered led to one of the biggest conspiracies in American history.


144 ( 118)
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Matt Johnson
Owen Williams ...
Owen Williams
Josh Boles
Jared Raab ...
Andrew Appelle ...
Madeleine Sims-Fewer ...
James Webb (voice)
Joe Anastasio ...
Emilie Paquet ...
N.A.S.A. Secretary
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alexandra Antonovitch ...
NASA Secretary


1967: the height of the Cold War. The CIA suspects there is a Russian mole inside of NASA, sabotaging the Apollo program. They send two young agents on a mission to go undercover, posing as documentary filmmakers to capture NASA's race to the moon. The real mission - use their access and technology to hunt down the leak. But what they discover is far more shocking than soviet spies - Their government may be hiding a secret about Apollo that could define the decade, and the White House will stop at nothing to silence anyone who learns it.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including a brief sexual reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 September 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Operación Avalancha  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



| (opening sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most of the scenes in the film were improvised. See more »


When the "documentary crew" first arrives at NASA in Houston near the beginning of the film a montage of different NASA buildings is shown in the background, very few if any of these buildings are actually in Houston to include the Saturn V rocket they "drive by" which is actually next to Highway 65 outside Huntsville, Alabama. See more »


References 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Matt Johnson is a genuine force
15 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This hilarious "period-piece mockumentary" of NASA's Apollo landing hoax not only "talks the found-footage talk" (similar to Johnson's brilliant 2013 debut feature THE DiRTiES, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative at the Slamdance Film Festival) but his sophomore effort truly "walks the rebellious walk." Astoundingly shot in a purposefully grainy 16mm (that was blown up to HD) and looks remarkably like it was filmed in 1967, writer-director-actor Matt Johnson actually tricked modern day NASA officials into allowing him to film inside the real headquarters. This Q&A revelation after the world premiere screening was one of the festival's highlights.

Johnson explained "We contacted NASA and we told them we were making a 'documentary' about the Apollo program. They surprisingly agreed to let us film on the premises, so all of the scenes that are actually in the film, where I'm introducing myself as Matt, a documentary filmmaker? That was all real."

Johnson has crafted a genuine "Cold War" thriller here. And while there's a ton of cinematic references — that go well beyond the obvious Stanley Kubrick surface — keep a close-eye open for each movie poster hanging on walls. They each seem to significantly (and psychologically) relate to a different character. But nothing can prepare you for the film's climactic, single-shot driving scene that now ranks pretty damn high on my favorite chase sequences in film history. This is not just a young Canadian filmmaker to watch; Matt Johnson is a genuine force who has now completed two fully realized films that contemporary audiences should embrace.

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