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THE WAR GAME, 1965
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  MOVIE POSTERTHE WAR GAME, 1965
Movie Reviews

Director: Peter Watkins

Stars: Michael Aspel and Peter Graham 

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

The consequences of a Soviet nuclear attack on Great Britain are told in shocking detail..

REVIEW:

The world was a much scarier place in the 1960's. The Bay of Pigs incident showed how close the world was to nuclear war. Even though America had nuclear bombs, the Soviets were seen as the bad guys. Tensions were high, especially as American children were taught what to do in the case of a nuclear attack. Although it was still possible that a nuclear attack could happen in the UK, there was a sense of naivety that it would never take place in Hampshire or Surrey. However, The War Game aimed to shock audiences and, nearly fifty years on, it still does.

Released in 1965, The War Game shows how the UK would react to a nuclear attack. From it initially happening to how survivors would cope, the whole of the film is shot on-location. The film doesn't look artificial as it would if it was shot in Ealing Studios – this is reality filmmaking long before the world knew it existed. Showing the confusion of the masses as the UK government fails to control the nuclear fallout, there are many scenes in The War Game which make you sit up and pay attention to a serious documentary.

To shoot the film, only amateur actors were used. As it was a documentary, it wouldn't seem right if Sylvia Syms or Michael Caine appeared at one point. You probably won't notice a single face in the film but you might recognise Michael Aspel who narrates it.

The television comedy series That Mitchell and Webb Look once did a sketch which was a trailer for a spoof documentary. Titled ‘The Boy with an Arse for a Face', it mocked the contemporary idea of what a documentary is like. There are many ridiculous documentaries which have been made recently which have no serious content matter whatsoever –The War Game informed viewers about the threat of nuclear war in cold, hard facts. As a direct result of its realistic interpretation of what the UK would be like if nuclear war did happen, it was banned by the BBC. Even though The War Game won an Oscar for Best Documentary, no one who was watching the BBC at the time could see it.

Even to this day, The War Game is a shocking documentary and should be viewed by as many people as possible. Nuclear war could still happen and films such as this show how true filmmaking genius can deliver a powerful message.

ACTORPeter Watkins
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORMichael Aspel
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORPeter Graham
Best of the ARTIST

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THE WAR GAME, 1965