The Atomic Cafe (DVD)
Armageddon has never been so darkly funny as in The Atomic Cafe. This 1982 cult classic juxtaposes Cold War history, propaganda, music and culture, seamlessly crafted from government-produced educational and training films, newsreels and advertisements. Taken together, these sources cheerily instruct the public on how to live in the Atomic Age, how to survive a nuclear attack (!) ... and how to fight and win a nuclear war. As a U.S. Army training film advises, "Viewed from a safe distance, the atomic bomb is one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man." Returning to theaters in a sparkling 4K digital restoration created by IndieCollect, The Atomic Cafe is an absurdist blast from the past that would be downright laughable if it weren’t so eerily relevant to our fake news present.
Selection of government propaganda films (courtesy of the prelinger archives) | Filmwax radio interview with Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, and Pierce Rafferty | Audio excerpts from Jayne Loader's CD-ROM "Public Shelter" | Trailer
- Kevin Rafferty - Director
- Jayne Loader - Director
- Pierce Rafferty - Director
"Bitterly funny… as vital as ever. A time capsule of a time capsule, the 1982 documentary compilation film The Atomic Cafe feels suddenly, enragingly relevant again… back to remind us how fucked we truly are, and perhaps have always been."
"One of the funniest documentaries ever made. Feels more sharply relevant than ever."
“Never feels too distant, despite the years, perhaps because both careless stewardship of the bomb and surreal official propaganda seem to be making a comeback.”
“A stunner, a movie that has one howling with laughter, horror and disbelief. Deserves national attention."
“An artfully assembled collage of official insanity.”
"Bitterly funny. As vital as ever. A time capsule of a time capsule, the 1982 documentary compilation film The Atomic Cafe feels suddenly, enragingly relevant again… back to remind us how fucked we truly are, and perhaps have always been.”
“A comic horror film. Everyone should visit The Atomic Cafe.”
“A chilling memory of life in the first years under the mushroom umbrella.”
"Nuclear holocausts were never so darkly funny as in The Atomic Cafe (1982), a compilation of hilariously scrunchy archival footage.”
"Jaw-dropping... skillfully illustrates in absurd and horrifying fashion how the job of educating the public was accomplished through God-on-our-side propaganda."
"Often hilarious and frightening. The Atomic Café’s half-life is far from over."
National Film Registry – U.S. Library of Congress