Skip to Content
The Red Button (Czerwony Guzik)  cover photo

The Red Button (Czerwony Guzik) 2011


Distributed by LogTV Ltd., 4 La Rue Road, Spencer, NY 14883; 917-864-0715
Produced by MG Production; LogTV Ltd.; Polish Film Institute
Directed by Ewa Pieta, Miroslaw Grubek
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Military, Cold War, US-Soviet Relations

Date Entered: 09/05/2013

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

On September 26th, 1983, not long after KAL 700 was shot down, Soviet-American relations were quite tense and LTC Stanislav Petrov was heading the watch of the Soviet missile defense system. That evening, he noticed on his computer screen a missile coming toward the USSR. Then a few minutes later four more missiles appeared and the warning “Missile Attack” flashed on his screen. What was he to do? By procedure, which he had written, he was obligated to inform his chain of command. However, things didn’t seem quite right to him and in spite of what must have been a very tense situation in the room he refused to inform his superiors. After all, he thought, if the Americans were going to really attack it would be with hundreds of missiles, rather than just five. Fortunately, the warnings were caused by atmospheric conditions. A few days later he was reprimanded for not filling out his log books properly and a year later was forced into retirement. Petrov still lives in obscurity on a paltry pension and is now widowed, but has no regrets.

This unknown story is told through interviews with Petrov, talking heads, and employing period film of both Soviet and United States military personnel in action and leading political figures. The narration gives some very good context about the Soviet leader, Yurij Andropov, though why the author of the script doesn’t note that he had previously been head of the KGB (Secret Police) perplexes this reviewer. The overall impression is very good and the technical aspects of the picture and sound quality are superb. The sound has the added feature of being Dolby 5.1. The menu is easy to work through and allows a voiceover option, subtitles on/off, and two trailers.

Highly recommended for all high school and adult audiences.