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List of films about nuclear issues

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Title: List of films about nuclear issues  
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Subject: Anti-nuclear movement in the United States, Nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents, Countdown to Zero, Gregory Minor, Arjun Makhijani
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List of films about nuclear issues

A nuclear fireball lights up the night in a United States nuclear test.

This is a list of films about nuclear issues:

Documentary films


The Day After became known for its realistic representation of nuclear war and groundbreaking special effects for a television movie.
  • A Gathering of Eagles (1963) A Strategic Air Command B-52 wing commander must shape up his unit to pass a tough inspection, sacrificing friendships and happiness at home to ensure the wing can accomplish its mission.
  • Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987 film) A 12-year-old boy from Montana becomes anxious after seeing a Minuteman missile on a school field trip. He protests the existence of nuclear weapons by refusing to play baseball.
  • Atomic Twister (ABC made for TV) A film about a modern automated power plant in the path of a tornado which threatens the plant.
  • Barefoot Gen (1983 film) An anime film based on a manga series which depicts the terror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II from the perspective of a child. Although in slow motion, the film is notable for featuring an accurate representation of the bomb's explosion and the effects it had on Hiroshima's people.
  • Battle Beneath the Earth (1967) A discovery that Communist China, using innovative tunneling vehicles, is tunneling under the U.S. to place nuclear bombs in strategic locations, results in a U.S. effort to foil the plan and defeat them.
  • Broken Arrow (1996) A film about two friends in the United States Air Force, who become bitter enemies after one of them steals two nuclear weapons and gives the U.S. Government an ultimatum: Either pay a very huge ransom, or he will destroy a major U.S. city.
  • By Dawn's Early Light (HBO, 1990) -- About rogue Soviet military officials framing NATO for a nuclear attack in order to spark a full-blown nuclear war.
  • Countdown to Looking Glass (HBO, 1984) -- A film that presents a simulated news broadcast about a nuclear war.
  • Crimson Tide (1995) A suspenseful drama about a nuclear submarine, and the mutiny of its Executive Officer, regarding decisions on whether to launch a nuclear missile.
  • Damnation Alley (20th Century Fox, 1977) -- Surprise attack launched on the United States, and the subsequent efforts of a small band of survivors in California to reach another group of survivors in Albany, New York.
  • Der Dritte Weltkrieg ("World War III") A 1998 German/American TV mockumentary of an alternate history in which Soviet hard-liners oust Mikhail Gorbachev with the Iron Curtain intact, soon initiating a conventional war which accidentally triggers a full nuclear exchange; the film then rewinds to the point of divergence and ends with jubilant scenes from the "different path" of our history.
  • Day One (CBS, 1989) -- Made for TV Docudrama about the Manhattan Project.
  • Dirty War (BBC/HBO, 2004) -- Follows the journey of a radioactive isotope into England, where it is ultimately turned into multiple dirty bombs and detonated in central London. Meanwhile, the city of London conducts preparedness drills for a possible terrorist attack
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) -- A black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War and the threat of nuclear warfare.
  • Fail-Safe (1964) -- A film based on a novel of the same name about an American bomber crew and nuclear tensions.
  • Fail-Safe (CBS, 2000) -- A remake of the 1964 film, broadcast live and in black-and-white.
  • Five (1951) -- Four men and a woman together are apparent sole survivors of a global nuclear holocaust.
  • Fat Man and Little Boy a.k.a. "Shadow Makers" (1989) -- Film that reenacts the Manhattan Project.
  • Godzilla (1954) - Atomic tests in the South Pacific awaken a giant, prehistoric monster that threatens to destroy Japan.
  • Goldeneye (1995) -- Tells the story of a Russian terrorist group trying to settle a score in England by capturing two secret Soviet nuclear EMP weapon and detonating them across the globe.
  • Goldfinger (1964) -- A businessman plans to irradiate America's gold supply with a dirty bomb.
  • Iranium—a movie about the nuclear weapons program of Iran
  • K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) -- Covers the Soviet submarine K-19 nuclear accident.
  • Ladybug, Ladybug (1963) -- During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, teachers at a secluded countryside elementary school are asked to walk their pupils home after a nuclear bomb warning alarm sounds
  • Lucky Dragon No. 5 (film)
  • Miracle Mile (1988) -- A film about two lovers in Los Angeles leading up to a nuclear war.
  • On the Beach, 1959 film depicting a gradually dying, post-apocalyptic world in Australia that remained after a nuclear Third World War.
  • On the Beach (Showcase, 2000) -- A remake of the 1959 film.
  • Panic in Year Zero (1961) -- A man (played by Ray Milland) on a camping trip with his family, takes actions to protect his family from looters and cutthroats, in a no law no authorities public panic situation caused by a nuclear bomb attack nearby, but a safe distance from him and his family.
  • Planet of the Apes (1968) and two of its sequels depict Earth after being destroyed in a nuclear war, while two middle sequels depict Earth before such a war.
  • Silkwood (1983) was inspired by the true-life story of Karen Silkwood, who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she worked.[1]
  • Space Cowboys (2000) A space drama film where four older "ex-test pilots" who are sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite, unaware that it is armed with nuclear missiles.
  • Special Bulletin (1983) A very gripping NBC drama about some anti-nuke activists who ironically threaten to detonate a nuclear device in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Split Second (1953) An escaped killer and his two partners hold a few people hostage in a ghost town that is scheduled to be destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) -- Superman rounds up the world's nuclear weapons and hurls them into the Sun, resulting in unintended consequences.
  • Testament (PBS, 1983) -- Depicts the after-effects of a nuclear war in a town near San Francisco, California.
  • The Atomic Cafe (1982) Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.
  • The Atomic Kid (1954) A man (played by Mickey Rooney) is in a house that's within the danger area of a nuclear bomb test area when the bomb is activated.
  • The Children's Story (1982) short film, which originally aired on TV's Mobil Showcase, depicts the first day of indoctrination of an elementary school classroom by a new teacher, representing a totalitarian government that has taken over the United States. It is based on the 1960 short story of the same name by James Clavell.
  • The China Syndrome has been described as a "gripping 1979 drama about the dangers of nuclear power" which had an extra impact when the real-life accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant occurred several weeks after the film opened. Jane Fonda plays a TV reporter who witnesses fears over risk of a meltdown (the "China syndrome" of the title) at a local nuclear plant, which was averted by a quick-thinking engineer, played by Jack Lemmon. The plot suggests that corporate greed and cost-cutting "have led to potentially deadly faults in the plant's construction".[2]
  • The Day After (1983) -- This made-for-television-movie by ABC that depicts the consequences of a nuclear war in Lawrence, Kansas and the surrounding area.
  • The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961) A drama about nuclear tests that throw the Earth off its course around the Sun, dooming it unless scientists can find a way to reverse the change, and a news team that covers the affair.
  • The Divide (2011) -- Survivors of a nuclear attack are grouped together for days in the basement of their apartment building, where fear and dwindling supplies wear away at their dynamic.
  • The Manhattan Project (1986) -- Though not about a nuclear war, it was seen as a cautionary tale.
  • The Peacemaker (1997) -- A US Army colonel and a civilian nuclear expert supervising him must track down a stolen Russian nuclear weapon before it is used by terrorists.
  • The Sacrifice (Sweden, 1986) -- A philosophical drama about nuclear war.
  • The Sum of All Fears (film) (2002) -- A tale of terrorists' attempts to cause a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.
  • The War Game (BBC, 1965) -- Depicts the effects of a nuclear war in Britain following a conventional war that escalates to nuclear war.
  • The World Is Not Enough 1999—Tells the story of a terrorist stealing a nuclear bomb in order to create and accident with a stolen nuclear submarine
  • Thirteen Days (2000) -- Tells the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
  • Threads (BBC, 1984) -- A film that is set in the British city of Sheffield and shows the long-term results of a nuclear war on the surrounding area.
  • Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) -- tells the story of Lawrence Dell, a renegade USAF general, who escapes from a military prison and takes over an ICBM silo near Montana, threatening to launch the missiles and start World War III unless the President reveals a top secret document to the American people about the Vietnam War.
  • True Lies (1994)
  • Under Siege (1992) -- Movie about arms dealers who take over a U.S. Navy battleship, and attempt to sell the ship's nuclear-tipped Tomahawk Cruise Missiles on the black market.
  • WarGames (1983) -- About a young computer hacker that accidentally hacks into a defense computer and risks starting a nuclear war.
  • When the Wind Blows (1986) -- An animated film about an elderly British couple in a post-nuclear war world.

See also


  1. ^ Robert Benford. The Anti-nuclear Movement (book review) American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 89, No. 6, (May 1984), pp. 1456-1458.
  2. ^ The China Syndrome (1979) The New York Times.

External links

  • Video of British Nuclear Tests
  • Annotated bibliography for nuclear film from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
  • Bibliography: The Atomic Bomb
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