The Atomic Cafe (1982) - Documentary, History

Hohum Score



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.

IMDB: 7.6
Director: Jayne Loader
Stars: Paul Tibbets, Harry S. Truman
Length: 86 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 17 out of 51 found boring (33.33%)

One-line Reviews (60)

This is a nice documentary made up of a collection of American propaganda films and material from newsreel archives.

The film was immensely enjoyable.

Younger folks would get a kick out of the over-simplified logic and ham-handed propaganda and be astonished to think that we took it for granted that nuclear warfare was just a dirty conventional tactic similar to the London Blitz.

A montage of fast food joints is spliced over Eisenhower giving a riveting speech about America.

Pros: Darkly comedic collection of outdated propaganda films, archival footage and so on, soundtrack filled with obscure tunes, final scene featuring Hungarian Rhapsody #2, glad it's selected by the National Film RegistryCons: Not for the fate of heartIT'S A BOMB , DUCK AND COVER

everything about it is fascinating, and dare i say, even a little magical.

The result is stunning, horrifying, comic, unreal, revealing an entire nation, the most powerful and influential nation in the world, the centre of modern democracy, home to many of the brightest minds in the world, giving way to collective insanity.

Someone exclaimed derogatorily as they walked out on it.

What is so disturbing is that you come to the conclusion that the US Government KNEW that nuclear war wasn't survivable, and that much of these propaganda films were made to lull the populace into a false sense of security!

I heard, that makers of The Atomic Cafe sifted through thousands of feet of Army films, newsreels, government propaganda films and old television broadcasts to come up with 86 minutes of material for their movie.

shockingly entertaining .

Comprised of extraordinary newsreel footage, propaganda movies, classroom scare films (the notorious "Duck and Cover" with Bert the Turtle rates as an absolute riot of jaw-dropping idiocy), and military training pictures from the 1940's and 1950's, this genuinely alarming, yet still absorbing and often darkly amusing documentary paints a damning portrait of government duplicity and civilian complacency as Uncle Sam and the media alike spoon feed the gullible American public all kinds of gross misinformation about the severe after effects of the atomic bomb as well as go out of their way to present the communist nation of Russia as a dire threat to the American way of life in order to justify the necessary existence of nuclear weapons.

The documentary "The Atomic Cafe" is a carefully-edited film composed entirely of newsreel footage, military- and defense-industry propaganda, and authoritative, cheerful narration.

propaganda films about the cold war and The Bomb.

(To counter the comment which plays this film off against Atomic Cafe and deems this title 'pointless')Radio Bikini documents, using some of the 18 tons of film shipped to Bikini by the US Navy to record Operation Crossroads, or as we know it, the Bombing of Bikini Atoll by air and undersea atomic bombs explosions.

The difference is there's no democratic system of government in China so democracy and capitalism are not the one and the same thing , but I guess that clip is to illustrate the inherent absurdity of propaganda ?

Making Propaganda Out of Propaganda .

what it is, however, is one of the most entertaining and clever documentaries you could possibly imagine.

This could be outstanding if only it mentioned why these propaganda films were made, what the state of world affairs was at the time, how truthful the propaganda was, how effective it was, and/or any relevancy it might have to modern affairs.

"Freedom of speech" is only presented as acceptable when it coincides with the ruling party; actors in army propaganda films embarrassingly reading off of cue cards; the antiseptic 1950s vision of the nuclear family in their cozy fallot shelters; the absurd, frightening claim that fallout from an A-Bomb is only about as harmful as a nosebleed.

The produces just assumed that the propaganda would speak for itself.

the scariest part of this movie I think is the fact that it is all real footage, put out as propaganda by the us government.

For my personal opinion, the three directors still as usual choose one side of the atomic bomb issue - they make this movie more like propaganda for US government.

But this talent is sadly misused in creating this snickering, snide, snarky, smarmy, one-sided propaganda vehicle.

It is entertaining, informative and a little frightening.

I'm really grateful for its existence since the only kind of movies I was being shown in school were the usual corporate propaganda films that this movie exposes.

The three directors use all kind of footage from propaganda military film, cartoon clips and from various old movies which are related to atomic bomb to keep the narrative story continue.

That said the old cliché of " Americans don't understand irony " is evident as someone praises the virtues of American freedom " because we have shopping malls that are full of food and clothes and most families can afford cars " .

The moronic anti-Red propaganda shown here would be funny if we didn't know how many lives it ruined under McCarthy, Nixon and all their cronies.

The execution itself doesn't quite go to plan, as Ethel survives the recommended dose of electricity - one visibly shaken reporter seems to regret the medieval brutality of the exercise, but still manages to condemn her righteously (the propaganda invokes religious imagery a lot to justify itself).

The movie is just way too entertaining.

It also tells how the US government screwed over the Bikini Islanders, and has some fine coverage of the spoon-feeding of propaganda to the US public through the 40's and 50's.

We get to see how the American people were programed through newsreel US military and US Government educational or propaganda films in how to survive a nuclear attack in the, among many, silly cartoon of "Burt the Turtle" telling us telling us that the best way to survive a nuclear attack is to just to "Duck & Cover" just before the bomb explodes.

it's really something when you can take a subject like this and make it into a thing that is screamingly funny, enjoyable fun, without seeming ironically morbid in the process.

For those who were alive in that time, it's fascinating to see how it tweaks your memory.

Atomic Cafe (1982) was a fascinating movie about the government propaganda films that were produced and widely distributed during the fifties and sixties.

The subject matter is the atomic bomb and while some of the archived footage is tedious, others that splice footage of radiation poisoning into a series of "don't panic" public service announcements.

The filmmakers cannot trust the audience to see the inherent ghastly idiocy of the propaganda for themselves; they have to lead us with a heavy hand.

Artistically, the splicing of propaganda videos and instructional tapes and news reels is handled very well, (though anyone who's had to sit through a Michael Moore documentary may groan at the ironic atomic-bomb-themed country music used as the overture).

A documentary made entirely out of clips from newsreels and propaganda films during the height of the Cold War, punctuated with peppy music of the era (including the gospel song "Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb" and the jazz tune "Atomic Cocktail").

It contains lots of clips of documentaries and propaganda short films, animation, and some other feature films.

The Propaganda Café .

This is a pity because I would liked to have seen what sort of propaganda if any the USSR was producing at the same time .

Is this montage of spliced news serials and army propaganda films a true representation of the people of the Atomic age?

The overall effect is chilling-for every scene of hilariously misguided propaganda and dismissal of nuclear danger(an army film cheerfully assures a fictional fallout victim that his hair will grow back in no time) there's scenes of Pacific islanders affected by fallout from remote nuclear tests and US soldiers getting debriefed on the minimal dangers of witnessing a nuclear detonation a few miles away(with goggles on, to be fair).

How else to contend with the paranoia and boredom of being cooped up while waiting for an emergency to be over.

In my opinion, I'm one, for the latter argument since many of these propaganda films, TV programs, army and military training films, advertisements, film strips, newsreels, cartoons, government archival film, documentaries, civil defense films, anti-nuclear footage, public service announcements, educational films, and commercial stock footage are in the public domain.

"The Atomic Cafe" is an interesting documentary that strings together US government propaganda films and archival footage from atomic era.

It is also billed as a "dark comedy" by some of the critics on the video box, but the movie itself--about the disinformation and manufactured paranoia spread by our government, military, and corporations during the creation and testing of the Atomic Bomb--is a horrifying, riveting, and extremely clever commentary on hypocrisy, mental manipulation, and the speculation that is so often passed off as "truth" in this country.

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 first is the internal time, the Cold War, communism versus the free world, when propaganda about the atomic bomb was made to persuade the people that only nuclear weapons would protect them from the "Evil Empire".

shocking, horrifying, and absolutely riveting .

Worth watching, if just to see what we were led to believe.

Told using Public Domaine US Propaganda Films and Army Training Films (one even starring Joseph Cotton) it documents the paranoia and insanity of that period.

fascinating .

It's highly entertaining on its own twisted terms.

I think someone is confusing system of government with economics .

It is an informative film and very entertaining in its odd way.

The bonus disc features yet another eight government propaganda shorts from the era including 1951's 'Duck and Cover' with Bert the Turtle, and what looks like a must see - 'Self Preservation in an Atomic Attack'.

and highly entertaining.