Synopsis

Fifty years after the Soviet Union made history by launching Sputnik into space, the reverberations of that historical event are still echoing around the world. Produced to coincide with the 50th anniversary of this defining moment in human history, this documentary from filmmaker David Hoffman draws on lost footage and informative interviews to detail the remarkable story surrounding the launch of Sputnik, as well as the incredible events that unfolded in America the following year. While American enthusiasm over this technological breakthrough was at first palpable, that excitement quickly turned to dread as politicians and the media pointed out that the same rocket used to propel Sputnik into space could have just as easily been outfitted with a nuclear warhead and used to launch a devastating war against the United States. The following year, tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States reached an all-time high, effectively propelling the Cold War into overdrive. With bomb shelters being built, nuclear testing lighting up the atmosphere every three days, and then-senator Lyndon B. Johnson comparing the launch of Sputnik to another Pearl Harbor, it's no wonder that folks began to get so fatalistic. In this film, Hoffman explores the tenuous first steps into the modern age, the positive and negative effects of those steps on international relations, and the staunch determination of Americans to always be the first and the best. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Provided by Rovi