Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: 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, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. Written and directed by acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker, the film features an array of important international statesmen, including President Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. It makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament, an issue more topical than ever with the Obama administration working to revive this goal today. (Magnolia Pictures) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Countdown to Zero makes old terrors radioactively new again.
  2. Like Charles Ferguson's excellent Iraq documentary "No End in Sight," "Countdown to Zero" has an agenda but has the cogent, reasoned rhetoric to support it.
  3. Walker integrates stranger-on-the-street testimony to further her general vibe of ignorance, thus pinpointing the true target of an agitated doc--our own blithe apathy.
  4. 75
    Alternately edifying and alarming film about nuclear proliferation.
  5. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    A politically urgent picture, it will also literally scare the breath out of what will certainly be a worldwide audience.
  6. 63
    The best medium in which to view Countdown to Zero is on The History Channel, not in a theater.
  7. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    This is another well-intentioned but preaching-to-the-choir doc, and boring as well.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Nov 27, 2010
    This was a documentary deals with the danger of atomic weapons, I would highly recommend it might not be a documentary worth of ten but at least it does a good job at proving its point, which is as long as we have atomic weapons, sooner or later, for one reason or another one is going to detonate. And in the world we live in more and more nations are seeking them, and the more nation have it the bigger are the chances of being used, and if one uses them they start a chain reaction and before you know it is MAD (mutually assured destruction) Expand
  2. Nov 29, 2010
    A film documenting nuclear warheads and how one single bond of atom can destroy the entire New York City. What else can we ask for in a doc? Countdown to Zero uses facts and expert opinions at the same time to convince us that nuclear weapons are, well, bad. With gather facts that director Lucy Walker (Waste Land) deliver so smoothly with great style, Zero is another great documentary that Walker had deliver in 2010. It is scary to see that highly enriched uranium is so easy to access and how terrorists can get it just about anywhere. It is scary to see how many mistakes were made over the years with nuclear weapons on hand. And it is scary to know that US, the nation of peace, was the one that started nuclear weapons. After seeing the film, it gave me a whole new aspect about nuclear war. Before seeing the film, I had no worries about nuclear war, now, I'm scared sh*tless! Countdown to Zero really is an informant that informs you to go out there and do something about this situation. Expand
  3. Jan 2, 2011
    This movie will shock you. It becomes evident after seeing it that it is really only a matter of time before the wrong people get their hands on fissile material. I really don't understand the negative reviews because the movie doesn't try to prove anything. It just shows how much uranium/ plutonium is out there and reviews well documented occurrences which it's nearly fallen into the wrong hands. Expand
  4. Mar 30, 2012
    The film makers don't try to disguise their disarmament agenda behind this picture, nor should they. It's eye-opening and upsetting but the mood is often positive and encouraging, as though this is still a threat but it's a threat that we're gradually moving away from through diligence and knowledge. Recommended viewing for everyone! Expand
  5. Feb 1, 2011
    The history and the technological detail of the film is fantastic...That said, if I was a terrorist, then watching this film would be a fantastic way to get my knowledge base up on what it takes to build a nuclear bomb. The film is almost a 'how-to' for dummies! Expand
  6. Aug 11, 2010
    The people in this movie should be arrested for delivering this movie. Much of this movie is a lie if you ask me, nothing wrong will go with our nukes, I mean come on, do they really want us to follow along for attention like An Inconvenient Truth and Food Inc.? Expand
  7. Aug 21, 2010
    No surprise the new 'Countdown to Zero' disarmament documentary omits life-saving strategies from their genda of banning nukes, like advocating public Civil Defense, to try and better survive nukes in the meantime. The disarmament movement for decades has hyped that with nukes; all will die or it will be so bad you'll wish you had. Most have bought into it, now thinking it futile, bordering on lunacy, to try to learn how to survive a nuclear blast and radioactive fallout. In a tragic irony, the disarmament movement has rendered millions of American families even more vulnerable to perishing from nukes in the future. For instance, most now ridicule 'duck & cover', but for the vast majority, not right at 'ground zero' and already gone, the blast wave will be delayed in arriving after the flash, like lightening & thunder, anywhere from a fraction of a second up to 20 seconds, or more.

    Today, without 'duck & cover' training, everyone at work, home, and your children at school, will impulsively rush to the nearest windows to see what that 'bright flash' was, just-in-time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from that delayed blast wave. They'd never been taught that even in the open, just laying flat, reduces by eight-fold the chances of being hit by debris from that brief, 3-second, tornado strength blast.

    Then, later, before the radioactive fallout can hurt them, most downwind won't know to move perpendicular away from the drift of the fallout to get out from under it before it even arrives. And, for those who can't evacuate in time, few know how quick & easy it is to throw together an expedient fallout shelter, to safely wait out the radioactive fallout as it loses 99% of its lethal intensity in the first 48 hours.

    The greatest tragedy of that horrific loss of life, when nukes come to America, will be that most families had needlessly perished, out of ignorance of how easily they might have avoided becoming additional casualties, all because they were duped that it was futile to ever try to learn how to beforehand.

    The disarmament movement's sincere supporters, just wanting a world safe from nukes, will discover those unintended consequences to be inconvenient truths of the worst kind.

    The Good News About Nuclear Destruction! at dispels those deadly myths of nuclear un-survivability, empowering American families to then better survive nukes. For as long as nukes exist, these life-saving insights are essential to every families survival!