War Game, The

1781. THE WAR GAME (1966-England). Directed, produced and scripted by PETER WATKINS. This important film is an original and daring, sobering and stunning “staged documentary” which graphically brings home the stark reality of nuclear war. In so doing, it remains as timely today as when it was first seen. Walkins, who began his career in the 1950s as an assistant producer of television commercials, vividly portrays the effect of nuclear war by combining cleverly filmed simulated newsreels and interviews with a take-no-sides narration. In his scenario, there’s a “Berlin crisis,” the result of which is an exchange of nuclear warheads between the United States and the Soviet Union. One bomb lands 27 miles from the English city of Kent (where the film was shot on location), in the wake of this disaster, homes are destroyed; people are killed or maimed; the medical establishment is unable to cope with the crisis; looters run rampant, and anarchy becomes the order of the day. Interspersed with this footage are interviews with religious and political figures, who comment on the how’s and why’s of nuclear war. The film was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the British Film Institute; it was supposed to be screened on British television, but was not shown because the BBC deemed it “unsuitable” for home viewing. Eventually, it was released to theaters, and it went on to earn a most deserved Best Documentary Academy Award, 48 minutes. Documentary