The War Game

Year: 1965

Production: BBC / Pathe Contemporary

Director: Peter Watkins

Screenwriter: Peter Watkins

Made-for-tv film, 47 minutes; B/W


Originally made for tv, this is the first (and best) of Watkin's "documentaries of the future". It was banned by the BBC as being too realistic. Using simulated newsreels and street interviews, Watkins focuses on the appalling results of a nuclear attack on a small Kent town.

The film is full of sharp, penetrating images (the mass cremations and buckets of wedding rings taken from the dead and the execution squads, composed of solid English Bobbies, for example) that are very disturbing, pinpointing concussion, disfigurement, slow death by radiation poisoning and civil disorder in an immediate way. Certainly compared to the widely seen and well-received telefilm The Day After (1983), made nearly 20 years later, The War Game retains its power to shock and anger an audience.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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