The Man Who Saved the World

The Man Who Saved the World

Peter Anthony (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
On 26 September 1983, the Soviet Union's early warning system indicated that American missiles were heading towards Moscow. However, lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov, the duty officer at the USSR's command centre, wasn't convinced that the threat was real, so he decided not to confirm the attack. He thereby prevented a retaliatory strike that would have caused all-out nuclear war. Petrov's instincts turned out to be correct, since the warning turned out to be a system malfunction. Three decades later, this incredible series of events is documented to sobering effect by Danish director Peter Anthony, who follows Petrov on a cathartic trip to the United States. The resulting footage is distractingly shot like a traditional narrative feature, and it is combined with dramatic re-enactments of that fateful night in 1983. The end product rarely feels like a documentary, but Petrov's story is fascinating, and there's no doubt that it deserves to be told.


The story of Stanislav E Petrov, a former lieutenant colonel in the Soviet army who, in 1983, averted nuclear war by refusing to launch a retaliatory strike against incoming US missiles - intelligence that turned out to be false. The film combines drama and documentary, with the story of those few tense hours intercut with footage of the real Petrov as he is now. Sergey Shnyryov stars as the young Petrov, with appearances from the likes of Kevin Costner, Walter Cronkite, Robert De Niro, Matt Damon and Ashton Kutcher.

Cast & Crew

Kevin Costner Kevin Costner
Matt Damon Matt Damon
Robert De Niro Robert De Niro
Stanislav Petrov Stanislav Petrov
Director Peter Anthony

Other Information

Language: Russian / EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: KaleidoscopeReleased on: 15 May 2015