20 Best Nuclear War Movies and Videos (with Youtube Links)
There’s lots of good free information out there about nuclear weapons, and the easiest way to learn is through video and films. I’ve put together a list of my favourite TED talks, documentaries and other videos on nuclear weapons.
Hope you find the list useful.
Short (0-10 mins):
Barefoot Gen (1983). The Japanese manga artist Keiji Nakazawa was six years old when the atom bomb fell on Hiroshima. When his mother died, he discovered that the radiation from the bomb had badly damaged her body. This so enraged Keiji that he decided to publish his memories of the bombing. This was made into a cartoon called Barefoot Gen. It’s emotionally difficult to watch, but it conveys in a few short minutes a glimpse of the true horror of the bomb.
A millennial’s view of nuclear weapons (TEDx 2017). Clare Conboy packs a lot in, and is an inspiration for young people everywhere.
Dr William Perry speaks about the risks of nuclear weapons (2017). Dr Perry was Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1997. He has produced two animated videos that vividly describe his twin nuclear nightmares of terrorism and an India/Pakistan conflict.
Can we prevent nuclear war? (TEDx 2016). Ira Helfand, MD, is a recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Here he talks about the terrible truths of nuclear war and asks are they preventable.
A Short Vision (1956). This animated film by Peter and Joan Foldes was shown twice on the Ed Sullivan Show – a US primetime TV show. It’s a graphical depiction of the effect of a nuclear bomb, on both animal and human life. It was the first time the American public was exposed to the true horror of a nuclear attack.
Medium (10-30 mins):
I’ve studied nuclear war for 35 years – you should be worried (TEDx 2018). In this sobering talk, atmospheric scientist Brian Toon explains how even a small nuclear war could destroy all life on earth. In addition, he considers what we can do to prevent it.
The insanity of nuclear deterrence. (TEDx 2017). Commander Robert Green (Royal Navy) shares his thoughts on the insanity that lurks in the very concept of nuclear deterrence.
The World doesn’t need more nuclear weapons (TED 2016). Nuclear reformer Erika Gregory calls on today’s rising leaders to pursue an ambitious goal: ridding the world of nuclear weapons by 2045.
Before Forever Changes (2015). Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry speaks about the advent of the nuclear age and the lessons he has learned.
Nuclear Winter – possible but preventable (2013). Alan Robock is a professor of environmental sciences at Rutgers University. He has used computer modelling to predict the consequences of nuclear explosions on the climate.
How to survive a nuclear attack (TED 2008). Disaster-medicine expert Irwin Redlener reminds us that the threat of nuclear attack is still real. Moreover, he offers practical advice on how to survive an attack.
If You Love This Planet (1982). This Oscar-winning short film is a lecture by Dr. Helen Caldicott, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility in the USA. Heartfelt, informative, and utterly compelling. In addition, it includes archival footage of Hiroshima and its survivors.
Longer (30+ mins):
Countdown to Zero (2010). This documentary is where it all started for me. The film traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs. Above all, it opens your eyes to the very real, shocking and present dangers.
Nuclear Tipping Point (2010). This documentary follows the work of four prominent Cold War Warriors in their fight to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. Narrated by Michael Douglas.
White Light, Black Rain (2007). Looks at the reality of nuclear warfare with first-hand accounts from those who survived and whose lives were forever changed by the atomic bomb.
Hiroshima (2005) BBC History. Docu-drama about the world’s first atomic bombing.
When the Wind Blows (1986). Animated tale about an elderly married couple Hilda (Peggy Ashcroft) and Jim Bloggs (John Mills). They prepare and deal with a nuclear attack by valiantly following the government advice booklet ‘Protect and Survive’.
Threads (1984). Chilling drama based on a nuclear holocaust on the city of Sheffield, UK. In addition, it covers the long-term effects of nuclear war on civilisation. Moreover, it sparked a whole generation of activists.
The War Game (1965): Banned by the BBC and the Government for over 20 years, this 60s TV docu-drama still packs a punch. It depicts the before and after of a Soviet nuclear attack against Britain.