8.0/10
6,390
67 user 61 critic

The War Game (1966)

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain.

Director:

Peter Watkins

Writer:

Peter Watkins
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Aspel Michael Aspel ... Commentator
Peter Graham Peter Graham ... Commentator
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Storyline

The War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city. Although it won an Oscar for Best Documentary, it is fiction. It was intended as an hour-long program to air on BBC 1, but it was deemed too intense and violent to broadcast. It went to theatrical distribution as a feature film instead. Low-budget and shot on location, it strives for and achieves convincing and unflinching realism. Written by io <orb@europa.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BBC TV's film about a nuclear attack on Britain directed by Peter Watkins

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The extras for the film were from the towns of Gravesend, Dartford and surrounding areas. Many were members of local Amateur Dramatic companies and can be seen in scenes that are wildly different. See more »

Goofs

Light can be seen reflecting off a woman's "broken" teeth. See more »

Quotes

Female Civil Defense Worker: I think extra numbers would've made no difference at all toward this, 15 or 20 times the number of civil defense, wouldn't have stopped the initial attack from killing or maiming exactly the same number of people.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints replace the stills of Lyndon B. Johnson and Alexey Kosygin with stills of the White House and the Red Square See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night)
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Xaver Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Played on phonograph at Dover refugee compound
See more »

User Reviews

Now THIS is a horror film!
11 May 2003 | by reptilicusSee all my reviews

I just saw this for the first time and more than once while watching it I felt my body go ice cold. This was surely THE DAY AFTER of its time. Presented in a matter-of-fact documentary style it shows people blissfully ignorant of what could happen in the event of a nuclear attack. Sure enough, quicker than you can say "On The Beach" an attack comes and the lives of the people who couldn't care less a moment before are changed forever.

Some scenes are still truly jolting. Looters trying to get away with the only thing of value left in the world, tinned food, are gunned down by expressionless British police. A man displays a shotgun and declares there is only room in his shelter for his family and he will not hesitate to shoot his neighbours if they try to get in. A doctor laments that severely injured people are taken to a "dying room" and left to perish without care or pain killers. Bodies are stacked like logs for mass cremation. Shell shocked survivors are so traumatised they just sit and stare. This movie runs only 48 minutes but you will be aware of every second!

This movie was made in 1965, the year I was born, so I cannot say I understand what the people of that era must have felt but after seeing this I have a rough idea of the mindset of the public in those Cold War days.

After seeing those US Government produced movies telling people to just hide in their basements for 2 week; after which the U S of A will not only have won a nuclear war but will have put the world back into apple pie order THE WAR GAME is the cinematic equivalent of a sucker punch to the jaw. Watch this film, and then TRY to sleep!


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1967 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Krigsspel See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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