The War Game (1965)

Peter Watkins’ black-and-white depiction of a nuclear attack on Great Britain was so shocking that the BBC refused to show it for 20 years. Filmed in the style of a television news magazine, THE WAR GAME features fictional reports on international tensions leading to a nuclear war, real man-in-the-street interviews with citizens who know remarkably little about radiation and fallout, interviews with scientists about the true devastation such a war would pose, scenes depicting the aftermath of a nuclear attack on Kent, England, and statements (based on real quotations) from government and religious leaders in support of nuclear proliferation. Watkins shot on location in Kent with handheld cameras and a largely non-professional cast, producing a horrifyingly persuasive document intended for the BBC. Only, it was a little too horrifying and persuasive for them and they not only banned it but claimed the real reason was Watkins’ artistic failure. Fortunately, a loophole in his contract allowed him to distribute it theatrically around the world, where it became a rallying cry for disarmament advocates. It also won the Oscar for Best Documentary, two BAFTA Awards and a special prize at the Venice Film Festival. The BBC finally aired it in 1985 in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

(d. Peter Watkins, 48m, 35mm) 

In Attendance: Film Author and Professor Emeritus Joseph Gomez.