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The War Game (1965)

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain.

Director:

Peter Watkins

Writer:

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

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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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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Krigsspel See more »

Filming Locations:

Canterbury, Kent, 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Soldier: They're not letting any photographers in there.
Interviewer: Yes yes I know, but just a minute, will you tell us what they're doing in there, please?
Soldier: They're simply burning the bodies. The buildings are full of them, there's just too many to bury. The buildings are full so all we can do is put them under eight steel girders and put a fire underneath, just like making a grill.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 28 Days Later... (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a graphic, horrifying portrayal
22 August 2006 | by bazarov24See all my reviews

The War Game is a British film that gives a graphic, horrifying portrayal of what would happen to the civilian population of Great Britain if the country were hit by nuclear bombs.

"The War Game" is a 47-minute film that was originally made for the British Broadcasting Corporation and then withheld from showing on the air because it was considered too grisly and gruesome for indiscriminate projection into homes.

Its fearful and forceful nature was reported in papers from all over London by reporters in the 60's, and its availability now on DVD is but a token of the talk and controversy its subsequent showing over the years in a few British theaters has caused.

The film was made by a young man, Peter Watkins, in hand-held-camera style and at a pace that endow its grim, on-the-spot enactments with the seeming truth of a documentary film. It gives us a minute-by-minute rundown of cumulating horrors in an area of Kent from the time the first off-course Soviet bomb explodes in the region until the better part of the landscape and population are laid waste.

While the horrors it shows, such as firestorms, the melting of children's eyes and the mercy shooting by police of rows of victims who are too badly burned to be helped, are based upon actual experiences in Hiroshima and in German cities in World War II, the monstrous piling up of these horrors in one picture seems a calculated showing of the worst.

And the fact that no immediate way to avoid this is suggested to the audience by the film makes it, for most, a sheer frustrating excitement of morbidity and dread.

Mr. Watkins was quoted in the media in the 60's as saying that he hoped that it would agitate people to demand the elimination of nuclear bombs. But one might guess it would serve that purpose only if shown in connection with some concrete and widespread campaign, as even today, we are confronted by nuclear annihilation. Otherwise it is no more than a powerful, isolated horror film of the past.


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