Some films have the power to change the world. The War Game is one such film. At the height of the Cold War, the filmmaker created a realistic glimpse into what actual nuclear war would look like to the British public, its consequences. He has thought the “unthinkable” and put it on the screen. This film is bold, shocking and horrific.
Somehow greenlit by the BBC, the extensive research, the documentary style and the gravity of the content come together in an unforgettable 48 minutes of television.
Other similar cautionary films followed, including The Day After (US, 1983) and Threads (UK, 1984), as well as numerous more fictional works from A Boy and His Dog (1975) to The Road Warrior (DVD) (Blu-ray). Eventually “post apocalyptic” became a sub-genre of action/sci-fi.
The odds are that US president Ronald Reagan never saw The War Game. Reagan was of the misconception that a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union was a feasible option, and not global suicide. If not for the extensive pleading of Reagan’s daughter Patty Davis, along with Dr. Helen Caldicott, on the realities of nuclear horror, Reagan may have actually “pushed the button” in the 1980s. None of us might be here today if not for the sanity of the daughter of a President.