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Countdown to Zero [Blu-ray] (2010)

Jimmy Carter , Mikhail Gorbachev , Lucy Walker  |  PG |  Blu-ray
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf, Tony Blair
  • Directors: Lucy Walker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00406UK5K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,005 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Countdown to Zero [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • Interviews
  • Oppenheimer: The Man Behind the Bomb
  • PSA's by key celebrities/musicians, and more

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Countdown to Zero traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possessing nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, leaving the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. The film makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament; an issue more topical than ever with the Obama administration working to revive this goal in the present day.

    About the Director

    Written and Directed by Acclaimed Documentarian Lucy Walker (The Devil's Playground, Blindsight), Produced by Academy Award® winner Lawrence Bender (Inglourious Basterds, An Inconvenient Truth)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    From the people who brought you "An Inconvenient Truth" comes "Countdown to Zero," written and directed by Lucy Walker and produced by Lawrence Bender. After the Cold War, nuclear arms were scaled back and the public naively felt the danger had passed. Although only nine nations developed and continue to possess nuclear weapons, forty others have the knowledge to do it and it is only a matter of time before human error or terrorist pursuits could make a huge lasting impact on this planet.

    "Countdown to Zero" does a fantastic job of setting up the situation first with the history of the bomb, the Manhatten project, and the horrors they caused. It reveals many shocking instances where due to human or machine error, we or other countries were mere minutes or even seconds away from firing the first missile. With all these nuclear weapons set to a hair trigger that can be fired within one minute of receiving the order, we live in a dangerous reality indeed.

    The film also explores the ways to obtain highly refined uranium and how surprisingly easy it is if you know the right people. We assume that even with the materials, it would still be difficult to construct a usable bomb but that also proves false. A large team might be needed but bomb construction can be as easy as pie and the beauty of it is that it does not need to be perfect, it just needs to go boom! and the end result will be the same. It is far too easy to smuggle the uranium into the United States should anyone want to and even the best detection equipment makes mistakes. So basically there are three ways to get bombs: make them, steal them, or buy them and it is almost impossible to keep up with preventing all these ways so it would be much easier to eliminate them altogether.
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    12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's STILL a problem. August 1, 2010
    Upon the demise of the Soviet Union, many of us thought the nuclear threat is all but gone. After all, the weapons' manufacture is diabolically complex, there is no "evil empire," no arch rival to keep us occupied. So the issue no longer exists, right?


    I ran across a short piece in Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies which indicated that those whom we have labled as "terrorists" may not put a lot of value on life, and/or many not really comprehend the degree of damage they may inflict should they use such weapons. (Those are my words, not those of the article's author, or those of the volume's editor, Russ Kick.) It certainly gave me something to think about. Then I talked with an old friend who has for decades been a rival of nuclear energy. He suggested the waste from nuke plants could, if taken by an adversary, be used for acts we cannot yet imagine. That too gave me something to think about.

    So I was compelled to see this film.

    The film begins with a Kennedy speech, with President Kennedy at the UN on September 25, 1961 warning us of "the nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness." That speech was used as a visual technique throughout the film guiding us through the words, their applicability, even in some ways their irony. (Back in the Kennedy era, I don't know that we anticipated accident or madness, probably to our near demise!) And the film eventually led to the Kennedy speech applying it to today, when it's no less important than the nearly half century ago when the speech was originally given!
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    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important films you'll see November 11, 2010
    Countdown to Zero treats a subject that everyone needs to know more about, but almost no one wants to face. Hopefully, this professionally produced film will help overcome that. I found it riveting. And don't let "but zero is dangerous" scare you off. The film is not advocating immediate, much less unilateral, nuclear disarmament. Colin Powell and other military leaders wouldn't be involved if that were the case! Rather, what's proposed is a step-by-step process to take us back from the nuclear abyss in a way that enhances our security. Too many people jump to the wrong conclusion that posing the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons requires rash action. It's a vision and a goal, not a call for impossible and dangerous action.

    The review here that says nuclear deterrence works, so there's nothing to worry about, is just dead wrong -- as is the societal belief it reflects. One of the most frequent such "What me worry?" arguments points to the last 65 years without a world war and says "It ain't broke, so don't fix it!" Given that a child born today has an expected lifetime of 78 years and we have had a number of near misses in the last 65 years, that is weak evidence at best.

    While the Cuban Missile Crisis is the best known near miss (and, for many people, the only one they know of), there have been many, many more. 1961 Berlin, 1983 Able Archer, the 1991 Soviet coup attempt, the 1993 Russian coup attempt, the 1995 Norwegian rocket false alarm (the one time the Russian nuclear launch codes were opened in front of a leader -- thank God Yeltsin was sober enough to make the right decision), and the 2008 Georgian war are just the ones that come to my mind as I write this. And, then there's the specter of nuclear terrorism.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars omg.. everyone should watch this... ...
    omg ..everyone should watch this...Cant believe how many missile's are on the planet..UNBELIEVABLE...
    Published 1 month ago by 780 TANGO
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Published 1 month ago by Stoney
    5.0 out of 5 stars Partly metal, partly real
    I forgot how good this tv show was. Steampunk before there was steampunk . If you're an 80's child or just an animation fan you need to revisit Limbo and revel in duplicitous space... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Doctor Odd
    5.0 out of 5 stars Must see. Countdown to the apocalypse.
    Stunning account of what has transpired and rather freighting of what could happen. A must see. This really makes you think. Read more
    Published 13 months ago by Predator
    4.0 out of 5 stars Not really a question of IF, but a question of WHEN.
    This is one VERY frightening film about the nuclear genie and how hard it continues to be to get him back into the bottle. Read more
    Published 15 months ago by C. ANZIULEWICZ
    4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
    The documentary highlights the challenges with nuclear weapons and how surprisingly it can be to obtain the necessary products to make one. Read more
    Published 16 months ago by Carol Thomas
    5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing film
    Never heard of this film? It's because it's so hard to watch. I taught the History of Technology at the City University of New York and showed this the last week of class. Read more
    Published 17 months ago by David Ezell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and informative
    This is the second time I have watched this documentary, and both times I have come away with a determination in my heart to work towards global peace. Read more
    Published 18 months ago by Jeffrey A. Walker
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary
    This is one of the more interesting and compelling documentaries I have seen. It chronicles how not much has changed in the post-cold war period in terms of MAD and the nuclear... Read more
    Published 18 months ago by music lover
    5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative film
    This is well worth watching. We have become complacent about this issue. Getting ahold of nuclear technology is not that easy to get ahold of, but a lot of countries are still... Read more
    Published 19 months ago by John Thompson
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Pearl Jam "The Fixer"
    They wrote the song for this documentary.
    Mar 14, 2011 by Michael Moses |  See all 2 posts
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