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Hiroshima (BBC History of World War II)

214 customer reviews

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Hiroshima (BBC History of World War II) + White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki + 24 Hours After Hiroshima
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Editorial Reviews

It was the defining moment of the 20th Century - the scientific, technological, military, and political gamble of the first atomic attack. This drama-documentary attempts to do what no other film has done before - to show what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion. Set in the three weeks from the test explosion in New Mexico to the dropping of the bomb, the action takes viewers into the room where the crucial political decisions are made; on board the Enola Gay; inside the bomb as it explodes; and on the streets of Hiroshima.

Special Features

  • Interview with the producer, Paul Wilmhurst
  • “A Tale of Two Cities”
  • Enola Gay newsreel footage

Product Details

  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 26, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F4RH8Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,100 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 29, 2007
Format: DVD
I am from Hiroshima. My father was 15 years old and was deployed as a student worker at a ship yard at the time. He does not talk much about his experience, but told me bits and pieces about what he saw. When I was an elementary school student, we had to watch the video footage of the victims that was extremely graphic. So nothing in this program was new to me, although it was very interesting to see how nuclear fusions started inside the bomb.

Having said that, I think this program is a good overview for people who are not familiar with the event. It talks about how the bomb was developed, the political circumstances, the US military mission, GIs who engaged in the mission, and of course, the effect on the people in Hiroshima. There is little criticism or political overtones in the way the program was made, although it is clear that there were terrible misunderstandings between Japanese and US leaders, and that a handful of Japanese extremists led the country into ruins.

I wish the program talked more about the way the atomic bomb affected people long after the event. There is one section that describes the "mistery illness" that plagued the survivers, but it did not talk about the deformed babies born to the mothers who were pregrant at the time, or the cancers that many of the survivers suffered later in their lives. The program also did not mention anything about the American POWs who were detained in Hiroshima at the time. They all perished along with thousands of people of Hiroshima. I am not sure how many Americans know this.

My father is fine. His family lived in the suburbs so none died because of the event although some of the family heirlooms had burn marks that were visible even decades later.
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109 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Jerry D. Morelock on July 31, 2006
Format: DVD
World history's first - and, to date, only - nuclear weapon attacks were the atomic devices the United States exploded over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. Frustrated by the intransigence of Japanese leadership and desperate to use any and all possible means to forestall a costly invasion of Japan's home islands, American president Harry Truman authorized the bombings. The attacks killed outright, perhaps 100,000 Japanese in Hiroshima and about another 50,000 at Nagasaki. Thousands more have since died from the lingering effects of the bombs' deadly radiation. Initially widely celebrated in Allied countries for helping bring history's most destructive war to a close, the attacks began to receive criticism almost as soon as the disturbing images of the bombs' Japanese victims were widely circulated. At the 50th anniversary of the bombings in 1995, the smoldering controversy flamed into a nation-wide, very public debate in the US focused on plans by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC to display an exhibit that many veterans and others who staunchly support the bombings considered one-sided and unfair.

Such criticism, however, cannot be leveled at Hiroshima, BBC Video's outstanding new addition to its highly-acclaimed DVD series, "BBC History of World War II." Without doubt, Hiroshima is the most fair and balanced comprehensive presentation yet produced of what has become one of history's most controversial events. It is also a dynamic example of the inherent power of film media to inform and enlighten in an interesting and absorbing manner.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. MacTavish on September 29, 2011
A caveat, do not neglect to watch the second episode of this film. The first episode only covers events until just before the Hiroshima impact, and it is in the second episode that we see the "after" picture that contrasts with the "before" one, presented here.

If you are expecting an extensive and scientific overview of the weapons and tactics involved in the bombings, you will probably not enjoy this film. While such topics are briefly covered, this is first and foremost a portrait of the HUMAN cost of the bombing of Hiroshima, as recounted not only through historical records but eyewitness accounts by some of the few survivors still left alive. Some were children at the time, others teenagers, still others were grown adults. They came from different occupations, were at different places during the bombing, and had to endure different traumas and difficulties during the aftermath. Each story is different, yet all are tied together by the horror of what happened.

Unlike many films that either openly glorify or tacitly approve of the bombings and the development of nuclear weaponry, "Hiroshima" shows us the true cost of even a relatively small device. It measures that cost in human lives and property, in the lingering impact the events have even today, not in how many square miles of desert sand were turned to radioactive glass, or what happened to test animals and ships. Everyone should watch this film, both episodes, so that they can understand what the events meant to those who endured it, as opposed to the highly published experiences of the scientists and military officials that engineered it (but were ultimately unaffected).
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