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Countdown to Zero

HD   PG Closed Captioning

Lucy Walker

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About the Movie

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.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 88
  • Fresh: 70
  • Rotten: 18
  • Average Rating: 6.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Walker adroitly mixes extensive newsreel footage, lively graphics and talking-head interviews with dozens of people, from scientists to think tank folks to world leaders... – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, Jul 30, 2010

Fresh: Countdown to Zero is worthwhile to an extent, if that extent is largely to remind the viewer of certain facts that are easily shunted to the back of one's consciousness. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews, Jul 30, 2010

Fresh: [A] well-researched, anxiety-provoking film... – Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jul 30, 2010

Rotten: Like the ongoing threat itself, Countdown is simply numbing. – Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, Aug 11, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Hopeful Yet Improbable

Unlike other documentaries, the running time flies by. The editing is well done and I learned quite a bit about near disasters that I hadn't heard before. The documentary explores the actual mechanics of nuclear weapons, specifically what was once complex is now within the reach of many nations. Ideally, the number should be zero but each viewer can decide for themselves if that is actually possible.

Should be required viewing for all of us

Excellent documentary. Extremely informative, interesting, eye-opening, and concerning. Along with vivid explanations of facts and figures, this movie uses historical footage and interviews of many former world leaders and national security experts to give a stark warning about why our current state of nuclear weapons and their proliferation is so precarious. This isn't a topic most of us normally think about (at least I didn't), but this movie makes a convincing case of why it has to be one of our top priorities to solve. It's easy to see why this is so concerning: We (mankind), with all our fallibilities, are in charge of tens of thousands of warheads, each capable of instantly killing tens of millions of people. Just one mistake, one miscommunication, one glitch, one misjudgment can set off an unimaginable nuclear holocaust. As bleak as this sounds, this movie gives us reasons to hope, empowering us to work towards a nuclear-free world.

Nice but flawwed

I liked this movie. It was informative and well rounded. They hint extremely towards nuclear disarment and things as such. But they leave the viewer (you) to decide. BUt I feel as though we have crossed the point of no return. Still I terrific movie as far as documentaries go. Definaty worth the movie.