Genre Guesstimation – The Atomic Cafe (1982)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre has been chosen by Quiggy of The Midnite Drive-In and it is Documentary Films.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Dec by sending them to

Try to think out of the box!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Documentary Films.

“When not close enough to be killed, the atomic bomb is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.” – Army Information Film

Number of Times Seen – 1 (13 Dec 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Documentary that is made up of a bunch of propaganda films used during the Cold War to show how to deal with a nuclear war.

My Take on it – I decided that in order to make my guest choices of the Genre for the Genre Grandeur series more personal (and expand my own personal horizons of these genres), I will take a recommendation from my guest for a film to watch for this Genre Guesstimation series.

This movie was Quiggy’s choice for me to watch.

I had never heard of this film before Quiggy suggested I watch it and the premise actually was fascinating to think about.

The idea of making a full length movie based solely on connecting a series of short films about nuclear war is actually quite a clever one but it slightly misses out on the being even more impactful because it lacks a real story.

Some of the films strewn together for this movie are quite hilarious to watch largely due to the perspective that they are completely absurd in the way that they try and present what nuclear war and its effects on the world as a whole.

The scary part s how ignorant the government seems to have been about how things work and obviously about the dangers that testing of nuclear weapons can be on the population and soldiers.

Overall, this film tries to show something intriguing, yet it leaves the viewer wanting much more.

Bottom Line – Interesting premise that works for what it tries to do, but it misses out on being even more impactful by actually having a story.  Some of the films shown here are quite hilarious from the perspective that they are absurd in the way they present nuclear war and the effects it will have on the world.  It’s a bit scary about how ignorant the government was at the time about how things work and of course regarding the dangers involved in nuclear testing and in nuclear warfare.  As an overall idea, it’s good, but I wanted it to do even more. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The segment “Duck and Cover” showed how school children were reassured by “Bert the Turtle” that they would survive a nuclear bomb by simply forming a huddle together by the wall of the school-house. The Atomic Cafe has been attributed to raising public consciousness of the short film “Duck and Cover” and introducing it to a whole a new generation. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Nope. Interesting idea that is quite impactful, yet lacks a real plot which hurts things.

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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4 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – The Atomic Cafe (1982)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

  2. Pingback: Genre Grandeur December Finale – Frank Capra’s Why We Fight (1942-1945) – Midnite Drive-In |

  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1982 |

  4. Sorry to hear you weren’t all that impressed with it. It seemed to me to be kind of preachy when I watched it the second time, 20 years later, but my first viewing back in ’87 when I was in college was really impactful. It changed my focus on my emphasis in my history major from a military history emphasis to a post-WWII cultural history emphasis.

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