Beating The Bomb

Ratings: 8.57/10 from 72 users.


Beating The BombA story about the biggest weapons of mass destruction ever created, the people who use them and, more importantly, the people who fight them. Beating the Bomb charts the history of the British peace movement against the backdrop of the atomic age. The film also frames the nuclear weapons issue within the wider context of global justice.

The narrative follows the now called nuclear deterrent, starting at the dawn of the nuclear age in WWII to present day. Nuclear weapons shaped the power structures that rose out of the rubble of WWII and underpin them to this day. It is widely argued that the pressing issues of the day, from poverty to climate change cannot be tackled without addressing the underlying economic system.

The film evidences the claim that the foundations of our economic system are straight power concepts. The most straightforward of these concepts being the bomb, both in its physical manifestation and also in the mindset it engenders and stems from.

The film charts the efforts of individuals and organizations to rid Britain of its nuclear weapons system from past to present. It also frames the nuclear weapons issue within the wider context of global justice.

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72 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Hélio Pires

    sometimes I wish I was as ignorant as before so I could think everything is ok , but I´m not blind anymore and this scares me !!!
    I learn a lot here and I keep learning , thanks for the wonderful job
    sorry for some possible English mistakes , its not my official language

  2. Sam Haslam

    Wow - what an amazing documentary. Planet Earth's ills condensed into 72 minutes of inspiring film-making. Leaves one somewhat exasperated and bewildered, but compelled to do something about it.

  3. Mercenarry ForHire

    We must accept all thats good and bad about humanity, other wise we end up just picking what we only want. (which is what almost all humans do)

  4. Jeremy

    Good and bad are constructs of the Human mind. Think like this, if an ant get's stepped on by a human, does someone get MAD about it? Is there an ultimate punishment for this travesty? No. So what makes anyone think it is any different for humans? Most likely what we think is real is not, and our lives are dictated by laws and governance created by men to benefit men. There is no right/ wrong, there only is.

  5. Jeremy

    That being said, yes society has agreed on norms. That being said, 80% of them are still probably wrong. That being said, great documentary! : ) fully enjoyed seeing this one.

  6. Xercès Des Stèles

    those bombs are certainly ugly and dirty but, for a fraction of a sec, when they explode, they are all of a show.

  7. KsDevil

    The children of the 60's applaud the children of the 21st Century who have the courage to fight for the continuation of their species aganst those who are self destructive. Sadly, the fight will need to be repeated by their children.

  8. fonbindelhofas

    once brain makes a conections, it canot go back;)

  9. drinker69

    Einstein splits atom then the military uses that knowledge to blow up entire cities. Couldn't the energy produced just be harnessed to fuel those cities? Make a superconductor able to carry the kaboom and run that baby to various grids throughout. Like a giant battery for everyone.

  10. Guest

    At 14 minutes, how can they have blown a bomb so close to so many ships even though they were detonated underwater?
    And the eyebrow whiskers on the guy right!

  11. Jack_Burton

    Leftwing Propaganda....
    For starts, The Atomic Bombing of Japan saved MILLIONS of lives... Japan was in no way going to Surrender. They were training their civilians to fight to the death if the US invaded.
    An Invasion Of Japan would of cost millions of Japanese and a hundred thousands American lives. The use of Atomic weapons on Japan was the right call.

    The rest of the video is "blame the USA for everything"....

  12. Guest

    What would i do without you!

  13. Juraj Filkorn

    your english is great, it is your second language anyway, and aside from that sometimes I feel the world is f....d, just thanks to these documentaries... Seeing it is the minimum you can do

  14. Epicurus

    lol americans keep telling themselves that.

    the evil japanese were training their civilians lol.

    so you decide to drop two nuclear bombs on completely civilian targets.

    excuses, excuses.

  15. Jordan Lebow

    Good doc....but I would like to know what is hyped-up propaganda and what is fact. One can be easily misled if all views are not disclosed. Please, people keep an open mind.

  16. SurvivorVeteran

    Japan tried to surrender NUMEROUS times in the spring of 1945. The US ignored it. They had a weapon to test... And a message to send to the soviets. The Atomic bombs did not save a single life.

  17. Jack_Burton

    1. Japan surprised attacked the USA first.
    2. Every Japanese was prepaired to defend the home islands, from women with knives to children with spears.
    3.The cities were home to key military bases, and war production.
    4. Your grasp of history is suck...

  18. Jack_Burton

    Japan would not accept Unconditional Surrender.... That was their problem not the US's.
    If the US had to invade the Japanese home islands, it would of been a blood bath. In all likely hood, millions of Japanese would of died, and the Japanese country/culture totally destroyed.
    They predicted over 100k US casualties... Saving one US soldiers was more then enough reason to end the war fast.

  19. Epicurus

    1. Japan surprised attacked the USA first.

    not justification to kill civilians. still a war crime in my eyes. still a crime against humanity.

    2. Every Japanese was prepaired to defend the home islands, from women with knives to children with spears.

    prove it. this is exactly the propaganda bullshit you have been made to believe.

    3.The cities were home to key military bases, and war production.

    then just use bombs that could target them instead of nuclear bombs designed to destroy the civilian population.

    4. Your grasp of history is suck...

    grow up.

  20. Epicurus

    one japanese civilian is worth 100,000 american SOLDIERS.

  21. docoman

    @ Jack_Burton

    There are more factors involved, and the history is not as basic as you make it out to be.

    The Pearl Harbor attack was not a huge surprise as was made out by F.D.R., and most the the 'history' written since. Australian Intelligence warned the US that the task force had left Japan, the US knew it was coming. (Have you ever wondered why, conveniently, the Aircraft Carriers were not with the rest of the fleet?) Depending on your perspective, it was not as unprovoked as is often inferred or even stated. (It was however, a convenient way to antagonize the American people into joining a war they didn't want to)

    The argument that the bombs were dropped to save lives has some flaws. Japan was trying to surrender, (yes there were factions within that wanted a fight to the last man, but as shown by the decision to surrender, and the approaches to Russia indicating they wanted to surrender beforehand, this was not the dominant power in Japan in '45), albeit not at that time an unconditional surrender as the Allies had indicated was the only acceptable surrender.
    The fact that Russia had declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria is often overlooked as a big factor in Japans final decision. They were beaten, cut off from their resource supplies, no fuel to fight, and no food for almost anyone, plus a second front and another power had joined the fight. The US didn't have to drop the bombs to save US lives, all they had to do was wait.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were part of the war production, but more importantly, they hadn't been heavily bombed like other, more important military cities/targets had been, and thus the effects of the Atom bomb could be better observed afterwards without having to account for previous bombing damage, plus they had clear weather on the day.

    Jack, your grasp on the basic, 'winner writes the history' account of the dropping of the Atomic bombs is good, your grasp of the 'big picture', unbiased history, no doubt the more accurate picture of history, is sadly lacking.

    (With what I believe I understand of the factors involved in the dropping of the bombs, if I was H.S. Truman, I probably would have 'pressed the button' too). Savings lives, surprise attack ect. is not the whole story.

  22. fonbindelhofas

    i dont even reply to those kind of ppl, its pointless....:/

  23. fonbindelhofas

    Your grasp of history is suck...

  24. MrRichin

    Is this for real?

  25. norlavine

    The USA has effectively ( in my opinion) morphed into the 'Stay Puffed Man' from 'Ghost Busters'. Goodnight xx

  26. LINDAM

    This brought back many memories of my times in the peace movement from the late 70s I am still a member and always will be I taught my children from a young age that war was not the answer to our problems and that weapons of mass destruction would only hasten our demise I marched in London against the was in Iraq not in my name Mr Blair much to my now grown up kid's who are a bit embarrassed by their activist mother now in her mid 50s I tell them I am doing this for your grandchildren and the grandchildren of everyone on this planet. Imagine my horror 10 years ago to find my 16yr old daughter had enlisted in the British Army as a medic as we live in Scotland I was not consulted her reason for joining you have to be 17and1/2 to be a nurse in the N.H.S. but the army take you at 16 it beggars believe more power to this movement we will need it even more in today's fragile world //..\

  27. dewflirt

    I remember when I was little being utterly convinced that we would be nuked, so much so that I made a survival kit in a tobacco tin, needles, thread, a pen knife, string and a magnet. Obviously pointless but I was frightened. My grandad bought me a swiss army knife which made me feel better. There were still rumours that in the event of a war, my home town which had a forest of radio masts would be one of the first places to go. They even tested the warning siren. I made plans, what to do if it happened while I was in school, what if my parents died etc. Even made my little brother practice running to the airing cupboard to hide. Eventually decided after watching Blown Away that it would be best to go and meet the bomb, die quickly. What a miserable child. Don't remember why I stopped worrying about it, think it just faded away.

  28. dewflirt


  29. Jack_Burton

    Nonsense... If the rules of engagement were like in WW2, Afghanistan would of been at peace 5+ years ago. Sometimes heavy force is needed.
    Better to get it over quickly, then have it drawn-out over a long time that does more harm.

  30. Jack_Burton

    Total war...... nuff said.
    You want war crimes, you should start with your heros, Stalin and Mao Zedong... Who combined killed 100 x as many people as the A.Bombs... Of course, you and this Doc ignore that fact.

  31. Guest

    War=financial gain
    If war costed money to the winning Governments, they would not happen.
    There is a site that shows us how much money war cost but it is hidding the fact that the government is actually making that money.
    Go: cost of war dot com / en / rolls

  32. Epicurus

    so you think if we went in and nuked afghanistan everything would be peachy keen now?

    lol wow you are delusional

  33. Epicurus

    my heros? what are you talking about? why would i have Stalin and Mao as my heros?

    why would you even bring those people up? they have nothing to do with the conversation. if you cant focus dont bother responding to me.

  34. magarac

    Guess thats why it all worked out perfectly for the russians in afghanistan.
    Just a tiny bit to little force.

    So by your definition the way to win a war is just a question of the right amount of war crimes?

  35. harry nutzack

    the soviets followed your theory in a-stan. they LOST. military solutions only work against standing armies, and standing governments. they dont work against an idea. we defeated the nazi war machine on VE day, we won the war when denazification was complete. only when the populace was brought face to face with the outcome of their folly, and realized their injust position, was the idea defeated. in the pacific theater, please substitute VJ for VE, otherwise pretty much the same (though the realization started with hirohito, and worked down the foodchain). we bombed vietnams north mercilessly, we LOST. korea, same, same. glasnost and peristroika brought about the fall of the soviets, not nato. compare apples to apples, not oranges.

  36. Irishkev

    Hey dewflirt , I remember feeling like that when I was 10 or 11, so your comment really resonated with me. It seemed like TV and movies were always talking about these terrible weapons. It also made me quite fatalistic.

  37. Al Corrupt

    Brilliant doco.
    Well worth watching, even if you think you have heard it all before.

  38. Al Corrupt

    Growing up in the 80's, I watched alot of R-rated horror videos, well before I was 18, but nothing scared and horrified me like seeing 'The Day After'' on primetime TV.

  39. Bobs

    As the saying goes, history is written by the winners. My home country Brazil fought the WW2 alongside the allies, so basically my knowledge about this issue was the winners' side of story. Now that I'm living in Japan, I'm seeing the other side. And interesting facts you won't often hear in the west like that the US proposed Japan a joint-venture in the very lucrative Manchurian rail transport system in the late 30's. And suddenly I realize Japan was just a latecomer in the Imperialism race that was going on for half a millennium. But they didn't have a clue that the west would never allow a non-white country to join the club. Jawaharlal Nehru said "Japan was the only country in the world that kicked the white imperialist countries asses real hard." And I must add, paid real hard price for it.

  40. dewflirt

    Hello Irish, maybe we're just wired differently. I'm still in touch with some of my childhood friends and not one of them remembers feeling that worried about it. I lived in Switzerland for a while, everyone there has access to bomb shelters, they keep them well stocked too. Used to hate going in them, Too many what ifs.

  41. PeSO821

    As horrible as this may sound - the nuclear bomb did prevented WW3 from happening.
    I am not saying world is generally safer with the bomb, but it did help keep the cold war, well... cold.
    Let's hope future generations will be able to resist the temptation.

  42. Irishkev

    Maybe their memory's aren't as good as ours.

  43. dewflirt

    Or maybe we're super special ;)

  44. Anthony Young

    Ok, I finally had enough when the guy said the only countries using depleted uranium are the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. Russia and China have had them for decades. I relate whole heartedly to the cause, don't get me wrong. Nuclear weapons are the worst scourge in the history of mankind. Just saying that guy is a tool. Also, that cartoon showing all the skulls that says "kuwait liberated" was bs. The whole world wanted to kick Saddam out of Kuwait in the first gulf war. And we did it fast and with minimal civilian casualties. They should have listened to Colin Powel again in the 2nd Iraq War.

  45. ThePhilhw

    Very, very good.
    We need to wake up..........................
    The insanity is only getting worse.

  46. 0_mnipadmium09

    When you consider ho small this planet is the development of the atom bomb under Roosevelt was absolute folly and many of the Physicists involved, on realizing the direction in which this type of warfare was heading formed a committee to warn the U.S Gov't of the consequences but were ignored and only the mad scientists as you could rightly name them forged ahead and in that there is a prime example of power given to those who lacked a balance of intelligence to match the use of force no antidote was considered and having spent some 3 billion dollars the U.S Gov't under Harry Truman wanted to show off its muscles to the rest of the World and it continues to do so but why? Well for one thing primarily each time a government is elected it inherits the faults of the earlier Party and it can never change or improve.Another factor is High Office is always an attraction to those who have a leaning towards destruction like Hitler,Stalin and many still in existence also existing fortunately is the the technology to detect and handle these suppressive elements without force other than in applying that little known subject called Ethics in which case everyone wins Times must change and the least and very effective measure that can be taken is see things from the other's viewpoint then apply real communication that results in understanding and co-operation .John

  47. MoolaMails

    I hope that we can "beat the bomb' the bomb is new to us and we have not even began to deal with it, will there be humans in 200 or even 400 years? or will be be all gone due to the bomb.

  48. Zebrahimovic

    Sure nuclear weapons are dangerous, but what if there were none during the cold war? Why didin't the SU attack the U.S. and vice versa? Because they were afraid of complete mutual destruction, we have all seen (well I haven't since I wasn't even born during ww2) how easily wars can start, global wars and not just america invading a third-world country. Also thanks to nuclear weapons we now have nuclear power, which if done properly has got by far the best ratio of output of energy to output of pollution.

  49. wt1776

    "one japanese civilian is worth 100,000 american SOLDIERS"

    What a stupid statement.

  50. Epicurus

    a soldier willingly signs up to fight and/or die. they know damn well what they are getting into.

    but killing a civilian?! that is a war crime. and america is responsible for so many war crimes it is disgusting.

  51. kirkdayton


    Contrary to what George Monbiot suggests (“Why I am urging David Cameron to act against Friends of the Earth”, 15 March), nuclear power not only unnecessary in the fight against climate change, it is actually a hindrance.

    We know that it is unnecessary because there are now many reports showing how to decarbonise the world’s economies without nuclear power ( and many reports demonstrating the superabundance of renewable sources of power ( -- more than enough to meet our needs for energy, not just electricity, now and for the foreseeable future.

    Nuclear power is a hindrance in the fight against climate change because it diverts resources away from technologies that are more effective in cutting emissions, much quicker to build, and cheaper.

    Peer-reviewed research shows that the nuclear cycle emits between 9 and 25 times as much fossil carbon as wind power ( Emissions from most other renewables are similar to wind power.

    In general, renewables can be built much faster than nuclear power. For example, in 2010, Germany installed 8.8 GW of photovoltaic solar panels, producing, overall, about the same amount of electricity each year as a 1 GW nuclear power station but up to 8.8 times the peak output of a nuclear power station — because PV generates during the daylight hours when demand is high. But it can take 7 or more years to build that 1 GW nuclear power station.

    There is now much evidence that nuclear power is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity -- and costs are rising. Meanwhile, the cost of most renewables is falling. In the case of PV, costs are plummeting.

  52. kirkdayton

    far from green - mining uranium, milling and processing, transportation over thousands of miles, building a new station [predicted 400,000 tons of concrete for 3Gw plant], waste storage for 150 years, decommissioning over 25 years.
    Need I say more !

  53. CURI0S

    "We must accept all thats good and bad about humanity, other wise we end up just picking what we only want. (which is what almost all humans do)"

    I strongly disagree. 99.9% of the population knows that killing is wrong.

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke.

  54. CURI0S

    This documentary, or something similar, should be part of school curriculum. This would encourage some critical thinking by future leaders regarding the insanity to which our society is mired.

  55. Pawel

    Yet another hippie-gloryfying, soviet-sponsored (at least mentally) docummentary on war-mongers from US and Briain.
    If it hadn't been for those guys who showed stamina and perseverance in the face of brutal soviet aggression there still would be divided and half-occupied Europe and communist states all over Africa, Asia and Middle East.

  56. Miroslav Griffin

    half-occupied communist states all over Africa, Asia and Middle East ? we lived in a same world?

  57. dks2012

    a bit slow and amateurish doco, and Pawel u must be a strange human being, stuck in another era

  58. spikebat

    Ha ha ha ha ha ..........funny guy

  59. Ks Liakouris

    very nice!!!!

  60. awful_truth

    A terrific documentary that should be posted on the main page of topdocumentaryfilms. Perhaps it would inspire others to take a philosophical look at what is most important in life, which is to get off our butts, and actually make a difference instead of debating over minutia that has no consequence towards improving humanity's future!

  61. docoman

    ......says the person at home on his butt.

    G'day awful. :) You're right though, they're scary weapons :(

  62. Pedro Doinel

    People from the site, what is the song they sing at 28:46?

  63. bluetortilla

    Absolutely great. Where do I sign up?

    Why is the concern over nuclear war so conspicuously absent and the documentation over the weapons so rare? Every day that we live with these things is a day lived in peril. I'm amazed we've made it this long.

  64. bluetortilla

    Well try saying that living in a post-nuclear era.

  65. bluetortilla

    Yeah I'm quaking all over.

  66. bluetortilla

    Every day that nuclear weapons exist is another chance for nuclear war. Not only do we need to petition daily against nuclear weapons, we need to petition for more and more media to expose the nuclear war industry and force the public to think about the horrifying condition that we actually live in.
    The greatest part of this great documentary was the amazing epilogue- required watching!

  67. gainline

    Its called "You can't kill the spirit".

  68. a_no_n

    You could put it in context of all the other options to build a bigger picture.

    Solar energy is only useful at certain latitudes where the suns radiation is strong enough.

    Wind farms have measurable negative effects on the surrounding ecology and is unreliable on calm days.

    We don't have the technology to drill deep enough for Thermal energy.

    Finally and most importantly none of these green technologies even come close to being able to gather enough power to fuel an entire country, unless you coat every inch of ground with solar panels and fill the coastlines with wave energy farms...but if you've got to destroy all of the environment to save it i kinda feel like perhaps that's missing the point.

    Without nuclear energy there's no green answer.

  69. bluetortilla

    I believe as well that we will have to bite the bullet and develop highly regulated nuclear energy for an interim period. It may be cold comfort to point out that nuclear energy has proven to be far, far safer than fossil fuels on the environment, albeit several devastating accidents such as the one in Fukushima.
    I do believe also that hydrogen could solve many of propulsion and engine needs, including aerospace, but it will take decades to make it cost-effective and safe.
    Finally, the oil and gas companies are undoubtedly working like mad on alternative energy sources the findings of which they are not releasing to the public. Perhaps they've progressed farther than we can possibly imagine. In the meantime, solar and other forms of energy DO need to continue to be developed and for the time being used on a local basis. The aggregate will make a huge difference. With all the billions on the planet, we are in dire straits there is no question about it.

  70. a_no_n

    I'm glad we can see somewhat eye to eye on this. In developed countries Nuclear energy is actually quite highly regulated already...the problem with nuclear energy at this time is that a lot of the reactors are getting old and are out of date.

    Of course it cuts into CEO's profit margins to update stuff, so it's not going to happen easily, especially not with well meaning but ultimately counterproductive and in my opinion misinformed protesters hindering every step.

    Fukushima for example was built in the sixties, but it still mostly survived an earthquake and a tidal wave...Remember it didn't just melt down out of nowhere, it was hit by utter devastation that damaged huge swathes of Japan. But there were still no mushroom clouds in the sky or reenactments of chernobyl.

    Even when you take into account disasters like five mile island and even chernobyl, nuclear energy is statisticly one of the safest methods of energy harnessing that we have.
    We didn't even have colour TV when that plant was built. Modern ones would be even safer, and capable of achieving far more efficient results with less waste left over.

    I'm not saying that nuclear energy is the final solution, but it's a vital step in the process of fully transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.

    Nuclear energy gives us the decades that we need to reach the technological level to best harness renewables.

  71. bluetortilla

    I am not saying that there are serious issues and safety concerns surrounding nuclear energy (such as radioactive waste), but demonizing nuclear energy obviously works in the oil companies' favor (though I wouldn't doubt they have investments in nuclear plants as well). There is a great idea called the 'public utility' that should in theory serve to keep plant managers' minds focused on safety and upgrades rather than profits. But for such things to work they too need to be free of graft and subject to law. Some have worked and the model is a viable one.
    On the other hand millions of tons of highly poisonous exhaust fumes are released into the atmosphere every day legally and without protest. Petrochemical dependence and excessive use are clearly linked to environmental destruction, climate change, and grave health problems yet they continue unimpeded. Petrol consumption has in fact become crucial to the regional economic development of every part of the world and will continue to be so until governments step in with alternatives or supplies run out.
    Now, no one is going to root and cheer for nuclear fission energy but it does have an excellent safety record. When run properly, it has proven to be 'clean' energy insofar as it is contained, which is accomplished fairly easily. The accidents in which there has been outside exposure are extremely few, and the vast majority of people who suffer from radiation poisoning today are victims or descendants of nuclear bomb testing and the more recent dirty bombing conducted in places like Iraq. As far Fukushima is concerned, it was not the earthquake that caused the disaster but rather the tsunami. Was the plant built too close to the sea? Clearly the planners were gambling that it was not, that a tsunami of that magnitude was extremely unlikely (which it was but occurred nevertheless). Now we are faced with the mammoth task of cleaning it up, and we must do so with honesty and with risks, but clearly there are disasters upon this earth that we will never stop.
    Nuclear energy is not an end in itself, but either a stop gap measure or a step along the path of developing safe fusion energy. A healthier future society will get its energy from a variety of sources, just as it will promote diversity in agriculture and abandon monoculture. We have not in fact arrived to the Information Age on a macro scale yet; rather the raw monopolizing forces of old industrial age capitalism are peaking right now. Profits remain more important than human lives. That must change.
    At the beginning and end of the day, everyone can choose to live with far less energy than they consume now. However, people are brainwashed and taught to be a part of the consumer which is vital to 20th Century style capitalism. It is a model which many wholly identify with and believe in, regardless of their liberal attitudes in other matters, and regardless of whether they know it or not. If most people suddenly did not have cars, they would live closer together, use public transportation, and walk more. But the only practical way I can see of achieving lower consumption of fuel is to make fuel prohibitively expense, or to create laws regulating it use. We can either do that through law today or wait until the fossil fuels run out (along with the unforeseeable consequences). Clearly, our political system favors the latter course.

  72. a_no_n

    yeah i know what you mean...being British i can still remember when our energy system was publicly owned...Since it's been privatised it's turned into a gross and needlessly expensive mess.

    I'm always going to be a socialist because i think things like energy, and healthcare, are too important to be left in the hands of some grasping CEO who only cares about his own personal bank balance.

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