“Atomic Cover-Up” Unveiled

Greg Mitchell
9 min readMar 21, 2021

Early acclaim for new documentary, now streaming free for all via festival in Rio after world premiere. “It is the visual equivalent of John Hersey’s classic 1946 New Yorker article and Hiroshima book,” one reviewer writes.

My first film Atomic Cover-up received its world premiere a few months back at Cinequest and has since gained another dozen festival selections and two awards. Below is the current schedule for virtual screenings — which anyone can access — along with quotes from dozens of positive reviews and responses.

It is now streaming via the Portland Film Festival, and it opens virtually on Oct. 14 at the San Diego International Film Festival. Coming on November 1, live and virtual screenings at The Big Apple Film Festival (for its NYC premiere), then the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Louisville Festival of Film.

In Rio de Janiero, the 10th annual International Uranium Film Festival. awarded the film one of the two top prizes there as well as the audience awarsd (almost 1400 viewers). Later it earned another award, as runner-up for Best U.S. Documentary at the Venice Shorts Festival, and completed five days of screenings at the Venezia Film Festival in Italy.

Just in the past two months it has been selected for nine long-running festivals, including Boston, Oakland, Breckenridge and Global Peace, with several “live” screenings.

Here are some of the responses to the film from notables. Go here to watch the two-minute trailer. As always, thanks for your interest in this subject — the suppression for decades of the most important and shocking footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by an elite U.S. military team and a Japanese newsreel crew. You can request a private link if you are a writer/media/film person, via: gregmitch34@gmail.com.

“Very powerful. Incredible unseen footage restored and the tale of the filmmakers who photographed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” — Alex Gibney, Academy Award-winning director of Enron, Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear and others.

“What a great film and original concept. An absolutely crucial way to understanding all wars. Don’t be surprised if this documentary is a player at next year’s Oscars. If you are a history geek, or a documentary geek, or a movie geek… this one is for you.” Rod Lurie, director of The Outpost, The Contender, others.

“A film worth the watch — and I hope many see it.” — David Folkenflik, National Public Radio

“Utterly haunting. You’ll never forget the opening scene: Japanese survivors singing ‘Silent Night’ in the ruins of a bombed-out Nagasaki cathedral. Must watch. Please watch. You’ll be glad you watched.” — Joan Walsh, The Nation

“Greg Mitchell has done a great service to history in uncovering some of the most remarkable — and supremely sad — video journalism of the 20th Century. More than a movie, a legitimate historical document of almost unspeakable acts of war.” — Charles P. Pierce, Esquire magazine.

“So moving, disturbing and important.” — Alex Winter, director of The Panama Papers, Show Biz Kids and others, co-star of Bill & Ted movies.

“We’ve been mightily distracted by COVID, but here’s a much-needed reminder of the gravest existential threat known to mankind, and the men who fought to bring it vividly to light.” — Erik Larson, author of The Splendid and the Vile and other non-fiction bestsellers

“I admire it — excellent work on an essential topic.” — David Sterritt, legendary Christian Science Monitor critic, now editor of Quarterly Review of Film & Video

“When I was in college, I got my first look at a film that showed bodies being bulldozed into a large pit at Auschwitz. That imagery haunts me to this day as will what I saw just now in Atomic Coverup. It’s a devastating and necessary film, and a stark and humbling refresher course in why atomic weapons must never be used again.” — Wally Lamb, author of bestsellers I Know This Much is True, She’s Come Undone and others.

“Everything I’ve ever seen from Greg Mitchell has shown me something I didn’t know or given me a fresh perspective on something I thought I already understood. And this is such a compelling subject.” — Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic and CNN

“It is the visual equivalent of John Hersey’s classic 1946 New Yorker article and book Hiroshima. Everyone should see it. We have never come to terms with the horror of what was done in our name in August 1945.” — Dan Kennedy, WGBH (PBS in Boston) and Media Nation.

“After writing three books on the topic, Mitchell finally obtained the film footage that America’s leaders didn’t want you to see. It demands to be seen.” — Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer

“I consider Atomic Cover-Up to be essential viewing. If I had my way, I would add it to the civics curriculum for all high school seniors in the country.” — Scott Horton, contributing editor, Harper’s magazine, author of Lords of Secrecy

“An important story, and compelling new angle, well told. A ‘must-see’ documentary for anyone who cares about peace — and how wars will be fought in the future.” — Glenn Silber, director of Oscar nominees The War at Home and El Salvador

More responses below.

If this interests you, contact me at gregmitch34@gmail.com. Suzanne Mitchell (no relation) co-produced the film. Also, it was featured in a half-hour “Reel America” special on C-SPAN. I’ve written three books on this subject, including Atomic Cover-up and The Beginning or the End (on MGM’s wild atomic drama).

“An important work, one that’s essential education for a generation with less and less familiarity with the horror of nuclear weapons. A major contribution to our collective memory.” — Daniel M. Gold, New York Times film reviewer, 2009–2017

“You’ve been a real warrior on this issue.” — Oliver Stone

“That scene in the cathedral….” — Rosanne Cash, singer-songwriter and award-winning author.

“Well done!” — Mark Gordon, producer, Saving Private Ryan, Midway, among many others

“My dad was among the first Americans into Nagasaki after the A-bomb. He told us squat. After watching Atomic Cover-Up, I understand why Dad wouldn’t tell us kids. Thanks, Greg Mitchell.” — David Beard, executive editor, National Geographic

“One of 2021’s most important films….A devastating gut punch. It is a film of quiet and devastating power that will bend the knees of even those who think they know everything about the bombings.” — Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

“Amazing color footage on the human costs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…should be viewed in every high school and college history classroom.” — Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus, The Chairman, and other books.

“This documentary was literally four decades in the making. Check it out!” — David Corn, Mother Jones, author of several bestselling books.

The understatement of the film’s style lets the horror of the long-suppressed images do all the work. It is stunningly powerful.” — Harry Shearer, actor, “Le Show” host

“Regardless of your views, Greg Mitchell’s amazing work lets you make up your own mind.” — Sam Seder, Majority Report, NBC/Peacock

“Hearing so much good buzz about this one. Greg Mitchell may have a hit on his hands.” — Van Jones, CNN

“A very interesting film with a very important message, and the images are really horrifying.” –Patrick Vollrath, Academy Award-nominated director of 7500.

“A powerful, compelling new doc. If the US had not classified and suppressed films of the consequences of dropping A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would we have had a nuclear arms race?” — Stephen Schwartz of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“Arresting and fascinating — horrifying all over again.” –Nicholson Baker, award-winning author of Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, and other books.

“A powerful and important documentary — extraordinary use of long-suppressed footage from Hiroshima & Nagasaki after the US dropped the Atomic bomb.” — Nina Bernstein, longtime New York Times investigative reporter.

“Incredibly powerful and important.” –Martin J. Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gambling With Armageddon and A World Destroyed.

“The understated but brilliant documentary Atomic Cover-up reveals the story of the long-hidden eyewitness film record of the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” — The Movie Gourmet

“Chilling.” — Sharon Grimberg, director of McCarthy and producer of dozens of other films for PBS’s American Experience

“Must-see.” — Bianca Jagger, human rights activist.

“A profoundly poignant film put together from long classified and locked away documentary footage. Like Night and Fog, the kind of footage the world needs to see to leave no doubt this must never ever happen again.” — Mark Durand, producer, ESPN Films.

“The film is incredibly good. I was very moved by the story and by its urgency.” — Lyn Goldfarb, director of recent hit Edy’s World and producer of Oscar-nominated With Babies and Banners

“So powerful” — Gary Krist, author of The Mirage Factory and other bestsellers.

“Best documentary I’ve seen since MLK/FBI. You’ll never forget it.” — Bill Geerhart, founder, CONELRAD

And more responses:

“Great film!” — Anthony Weller, author of First Into Nagasaki about his father whose newspaper reports were censored and disappeared for 60 years.

“Very powerful” — William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy

“Greg Mitchell has been a leading chronicler of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now he makes use of key interviews and documents to record an extremely important part of atomic bomb history that deserves far more attention today.” –Robert Jay Lifton, author of Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (winner of the National Book Award) and other acclaimed books.

“It’s very powerful. The images are gripping and the details of the cover-up certainly makes one wonder how nuclear policies might have been different had the footage been widely seen decades ago.” — Jo Becker, Human Rights Watch

“A sobering narrative on both the rending of a nation and its soul.” — Kent Tentschert, Times Newspapers

“Very compelling.” — Ben Loeterman, director, The War That Made America and other films for PBS.

“Profoundly important and superbly done. I hope the largest possible worldwide audience gets to see it soon.” — Robert L. Freedman, screenwriter, producer and Tony Award-winning writer.

“An incredible documentary thanks to Greg Mitchell and the men who were determined to bring this story to light. We must learn from the lessons.” — Nina Willner, author, Forty Autumns

“Excellent. Such an important story and you really did it justice.” — Ellin Stein, contributor Slate, New York magazine

“Crucial work. You’ve really hit a nerve.” — Michael Shaw, Reading the Pictures

“It is a powerful and must-watch film! These stories need to be told for the next generations.” — Yumi Tanaka, executive producer, New York Peace Film Festival

“So powerful that the video and words of the historical figures speak so loudly in the film. Well done!” — Robert Jacobs, author and professor, Hiroshima City University.

Greg Mitchell

Author of “The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood — and America — Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” and 11 previous books, including “The Tunnels.”



Greg Mitchell

Author of “The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood — and America — Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” and 11 previous books, including “The Tunnels.”