Beating the Bomb is a comprehensive and accessible overview of the creation and use of nuclear weapons alongside the response of the nuclear disarmament movement.
The documentary opens with the stark beginnings of the 1941 Manhattan project, which led to the creation of the atomic bombs “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”, dropped on Japan in 1945. The feature-length film is an excellent resource for activists who want to further their knowledge on the subject, whilst also learning about the parallel reaction of the movement.
I myself learned for the first time about the extent of nuclear bomb testing on indigenous lands. Over 100 bombs had been tested in this way by 1958, and today that number stands at 2000.
The film is also essential for non-activists who will benefit from an extremely important issue being presented clearly and as a non-activist friend commented: “It really inspired me to go out and campaign”.
The amount of original footage was impressive, especially that of Greenham Common, the mass mobilisation of women in the 80s against cruise missiles based there.
I particularly liked the effective use of mixed media which aided the detailed yet clear explanation of subjects such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Beating the Bomb is a very stylish and important documentary. It’s a fantastic archive of achievements for the anti-nuclear movement, while also being a source of inspiration.
As Mark Thomas summarised at the end: “Campaigning is always harder than you think but we have more power than we think”.