Main content

Nuclear Dynamite

Nuclear Dynamite

In the 1950s, Edward Teller, the co-inventor of the H-bomb, proposed using 'the great and violent power' of the atom bomb for peaceful purposes. NUCLEAR DYNAMITE explores the Soviet-American race to develop nuclear explosives for gigantic megaprojects.

Scientists planned to harness the power of the bomb to launch huge spaceships, dig an instant harbor in Alaska, blast out oil and gas deposits, cut through mountain ranges, and dig a new Panama canal with 300 explosions.

More than 150 nuclear blasts were carried out between 1958 and 1988 before this bizarre and extraordinary atomic dream was destroyed by the emergence of the environmental movements in both countries.

'Absorbing docu digs up declassified footage to explore a threat that ran quietly alongside the Cold War weapons race. The expertly assembled Nuclear Dynamite looks back on 30 years, now almost forgotten, in which the U.S. and the Soviet Union competed to find the most dramatic peacetime use of atomic explosions.' Variety

'Using priceless old footage and modern-day interviews, filmmaker Gary Marcuse reconstructs this anything-goes attitude scientists and governments adopted toward health risks.' Marke Andrews, The Vancouver Sun

'Important and timely, Nuclear Dynamite recalls a fast-fading epoch of the world's nuclear history. Together with the documentary Atomic Cafe, on the government propaganda and popular culture of the early nuclear age, and such commercial films as The Day the Earth Stood Still, On the Beach, and Dr. Strangelove, it would wonderfully enrich courses on postwar America or on the nuclear era...Highly recommended.' The Journal of American History

'Nuclear Dynamite is like the bomb itself, both horrifying and immensely interesting...(It's) humourous, suspenseful and makes a good argument for testing the effects of new technology before experimenting with it on a major scale...As a good documentary should, it allows the interviewees to speak for themselves, and leaves the audience to decide if they agree.' Spencer Herbert, The Peak

'Documentary filmmaker Gary Marcuse combines science and history as he revisits the era of 'peaceful nuclear explosives,' and how it led to the stirrings of the environmental movement that forced governments to ban nuclear testing.' Fiona Hughes, The Vancouver Courier


Main credits

Marcuse, Gary (screenwriter)
Marcuse, Gary (film director)
Marcuse, Gary (film producer)
Carson, Betsy (film producer)
Suzuki, David T. (narrator)

Other credits

Director of photography, Kirk Tougas; editor, Stuart de Jong; original music composed by Henry Heillig.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Global Issues
International Studies
Nuclear Energy
Physical Science
Russian/Slavic Studies
Science, Technology, Society
War and Peace


Edward Teller, nuclear testing, dynamite, hydrogen bomb, cold war, atom bomb, geographical engineering; "Nuclear Dynamite"; Bullfrog Films