The War Game

The War Game

Ratings: 6.92/10 from 24 users.

The War GameThe War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city. It was carefully researched and based on actual events which occurred in World War II during and after the mass allied raids on Germany and the atomic bombings of Japan.

It caused dismay within the BBC and in government and was withdrawn from television transmission. The effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting. It remained unshown in full on British television until 1985.

Part interviews and quotations, part acting, this film simulates the aftermath of a large-scale nuclear attack near a rural area of England. It argues that citizens and Civil Defense authorities are poorly prepared for this eventuality, and describes possible physical, psychological and social damage in graphic detail.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
fred mcmurry
3 years ago

This should be removed from vimeo, I came to see a video, not hear some moron commenting all the way through it -- it's as bad as watching commercial tv, as you get further into it there are more breaks so mr moronic idiot can give us his sparkling wisdom. What a drag.

5 years ago

I saw this film as a very impressionable teenager in 1969 or 70. It was such a powerful emotional shock to me that I became dislocated from reality for weeks. I believe it is one of the primary reasons I struggle with PTSD today. I pray that nothing like this type of war ever happens to anyone. Nuclear war is pure evil: an obscene affront to God.

5 years ago

Gerald Sherwood In the scenario as I imagine it, the only way this works today is if hypothetically America is out of the picture somehow (Maybe it's 1000 years in the future or something). There would either be chaos with everyone bombing each other into the ground and one emerges, or in the years leading up to america's decline and fall, other nuclear states make alliances.

6 years ago

I saw this in Kansas City the fall of 1967. I was 17 at that time and it has stuck with me ever since. Have only met one other person that has seen it. A college English professor who was amazed that any in her classes had also seen it.

jbeckham360 .
9 years ago

I wonder how many so called Allies would stand with each other when it came down to nuking anyone the size of Russia or China when they were not directly threatened. How many would pick up the phone and call Russia and China and say F-that crap man, I not with that dude? lol.

Gerald Sherwood
9 years ago

This film's premise is flawed even for a worst case scenario because ignores a geopolitical fact in the first two minutes. The Chinese would have NEVER helped the Vietnamese beyond sending food and guns regardless of communist affiliations. Why, because the Chinese and Vietnamese have been at each others throats for centuries and the Russians sending advisers didn't help matters especially after 1969. This is why after we left Vietnam the THIRD Indochina war would be fought by none other than the Chinese, their friends the Kmer Rouge, and Vietnamese. I guess nationalism beats communism in the end anyways. Red Dawn is more plausible than this fear mongering relic because at least that acknowledged the fact previously stated that it wasn't just the free world against the Soviet Union and Cuba, it was the entire nuclear bearing world. I could only imagine the casualties would be in the billions if it were a totally conventional world war 3 so it could have been alot worse hypothetical which is what all these remain anyways. My dad, who was an officer in the Navy in the 80's, talks about all these scenarios every once and awhile and he said the most plausible was a conventional attack by the Soviets taking Europe in week like the Nazis, then equalizing the playing field with the US, but still China would be a jokers wild likely against the Soviets. And yes I did watch this whole film and can say with a perfectly straight face that it is about as likely as anthropogenic global warming causing El nino.

9 years ago

my god this is scary as hell...thank god i was born right when the USSR broke apart.

Daniel McIntyre
10 years ago

Noughts and crosses, no one wins after a while. War is a sham marriage of politicians and the military making money and justifying their existence.

10 years ago

Today I worry about Peak Oil and some dark future life living through some probably depression to come between most likely the 40s and 80s.
My mother lived in a world where everything could of been ended in a few minuets.
I never really knew how she felt until I saw this....

10 years ago

war is a racket

10 years ago

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the Captain and a positive crime in the statesman. ~ George Santayana

Methinks our politicians are criminals!

10 years ago

Don't let the age of this film fool you. It is very well done if not quite graphic. It is chock full of more than enough information on all the ways that countless millions will perish in the face of nuclear war.

I can clearly see why this film was far too disturbing & was not shown until 1985. When this was made it had only been 20 yrs since WWII. That is less time in the past than Gulf 1 for us. WWII is all but forgotten in the average psyche. Very few people left alive that lived through the horrors of that war.

This is a solid reminder for a new generation that has absolutely no idea of what it would be to experience all out war. The fear throughout the cold war was very real. The Bay of Pigs incident was about as close as man has come to nuclear war & it was very real.

Difficult to watch at times, but very worth while film. The reality of what our leaders & military are willing to expose their citizenry to is very much a kick in the teeth.

Thanks for this one TDF. I almost passed on it but now highly recommended the time spent viewing this. Especially for the younger generation stepping into future positions of authority.

10 years ago

we need a world wide pig hunt before these mo fos destroy it all. they gotta go.

10 years ago

Sobering!! And just think, this is based on the old nukes- the modern ones are many times stronger. The whole "fire storm" phenomenon was at the same time horrifying and intensely interesting. I certainly wouldn't want to witness one up close but the physics would be very interesting. 800 degree Celsius (the temp at the center of the fire storm) converts to 1472 degrees Fahrenheit, less than the melting point of steel- not a really hot fire in other words- and it causes winds of over 100 mph? I got to check this out, not saying it isn't true only that it seems odd. Why don't smelting furnaces draw winds at this speed, or do they? I've built small smelting furnaces that melted iron myself, but they didn't draw winds anywhere near this speed. I bet it has more to do with the area the fire is covering than the actual temp of the fire itself. Its something interesting to look into anyway, I had heard the term before but never gave it much thought, I had no idea this it what it referred to. I wonder if this is the same effect they talk of fuel bombs having.

10 years ago

@ 11:40 Nations left with no choice but to use collective determination and to call the bluff. Wow...these wildcard folks are playing poker with the world. We're just the chips I guess.

10 years ago

I certainly hope our leaders around the world are above the use of these monstrosities, I don't care if they squabble among themselves, so long as they realize the utter horror it would unleash and that it remains enough deterrence from their use.

Geoffrey Grekin
10 years ago

This is defiantly more detailed than America's informative videos on "Duck and cover"

Ignorance is bliss!

10 years ago

@ 05:50 "It has been estimated that even if there were no war, Britain would need between 1.5 to 4 years to recover economically, from the affects of full-scale civilian evacuation."

I watched "The Road" last night. It hurt. I curled up in my warm chair with a bowl of sweet cereal in cold milk, savouring and appreciating every spoonful. The film, based on a book, was not for the casual viewer. We haven't 'recovered' from 2007/8 crash, where no war or evacuation took place, over 4 years ago.

I think I can safely say, this documentary is harrowingly optomistic of what the bleak reality would be. I'm so affected by the last few days in fact, that my own 'march for change', fist in the air, eyes wide open, defiance of the system has been shellshocked in to gratitude and relief for our current freedoms and comfort. It can after all, be gone in an instant, never to return in a single lifetime. Right now, selfishly for me at least, it's a case of 'careful what you wish for'. How to qualify that statement? Sigh, the current status quo won't roll over or go quietly or transition willingly or ... peacefully, and the interim period wouldn't be as pretty and romantic as many might evisage.

War is about winning, and winning at any cost. There is no room for morals or ethics - being a 'good' soldier (an oxymoron of note) would get you killed in no time. Being a 'good' warmonger would be no different. The 'goal' of winning is why we have such monsterous weapons. No-one ever suggested, in development capabilities, "that weapon just wouldn't be fair." When the line is crossed, the gloves come off - ethics and morals be damned, there is no second place.

Let's hope we continue to remind ourselves, there's no first place either.

10 years ago

"Fighting for peace is like f'ing for virginity."

Not my quote, don't shoot the messenger!

10 years ago

This documentary is one of the most frightening I have seen. The viewing entails a forceful reminder of how close we came to something utterly drastic.

10 years ago

It always amazes how the dial setting for horror of war keeps getting raised. Fire bombing - okay. Carpet bombing of population centers - why not. Napalm - seems reasonable. Gas - cheap and effective, but watch the wind. Infectious disease - it's practically natural. A tiny atomic bomb - we have so many, why not.