The Atomic Cafe

  • Fri Sept 7
  • Sun Sept 9
The Atomic Cafe

introduced by Judith Reppy (STS) on Fri Sept 7

Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty

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. In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. The new 4K restoration was an official Selection of the SXSW 2018 Film Festival.

Cosponsored with the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace & Conflict Studies.


New digital restoration
DCP bw
1 hour 28 minutes
release year/country
1982 USA