The War Game
THE WAR GAME. 1965

Director: Peter Watkins

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



The War Game The Warm Game is an imaginary documentary & disaster film about World War III breaking out early in the Cold War era, made under contract to the British Broadcast Company, based on the best factual data available of the day.

This unusual alternate-history science fiction puts to film what would happen during nuclear holocaust.

It is acted without ego for stark realism, interestingly staged, sometimes as convincing as old newsreels which have been cleverly & seamlessly incorporated into the whole.

Cautionary & imaginative, it recreates what life would be like in England after the horrendous devastation, like that at Hiroshima but vastly more extensive.

Effectively nightmarish at times, inherently a bit preachy & political, & in the main an extraordinary experiment in cinema verite.


The War GameThough made for the BBC, it ended up not being shown because the muckly-mucks decided it was too gruesome.

The director resigned in protest, & his film did not air on television until 1985.

However, due to a contractual loophole which I'd bet the BBC closed for future productions, Watkins was able to get his film a theatrical release.

It did an excellent box office. It ended up on a great many award nomination lists, & won the Oscar as best documentary, the BAFTA best short film award, a United Nations award, besides film festival awards around the world.

It makes for a striking document of the justified paranoia of the time & will always be valuable as a study in black & white of the cold war mentality & of a worldwide catastrophe thus far averted.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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