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The Man Who Saved the World

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
The Man Who Saved The World
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

One night in 1983, Stanislav Petrov was at work when a red button on the desk in front of him started flashing, sounding a deafening alarm like an air-raid siren. Petrov was the commander of the Soviet’s nuclear early-warning system. And the alarm signalled an American attack consisting of five missiles.

This was a time of knife-edge tension in the Cold War, weeks after the Russians had shot down a Korean passenger plane that strayed into its airspace. It was Petrov’s job to decide if this was a credible alarm. If yes, he would mostly likely have triggered a Soviet retaliation.

Petrov made the nerves-of-steel decision that the alarm must be false (not trusting his own side’s satellites and reckoning that, if you’re going to start a nuclear war, you’d fire more than five missiles). It’s a nail-biting story, but this doc isn’t as gripping as it should be, mixing reconstruction with fly-on-the-wall footage of Petrov picking up an award at the UN in New York – and hilariously mistaking Matt Damon for Robert De Niro’s son: ‘What’s your name?’ he asks Damon. ‘Mike’?

Written by Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 15 May 2015
  • Duration:110 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Peter Anthony
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