Missile documents the 14-week
training of those young Air Force officers who, if ordered, will launch
the nuclear firepower of the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman had the complete cooperation of the 4315th
Training Squadron of the Strategic Air Command. Scenes include classes
on the arming and launching of missiles, on emergency and safety procedures,
and on the moral consequences of their profession. We watch the trainees
at the bottom of their silos, turning the launch keys and learning fail-safe
measures. Topside, there's softball, barbecue, church and finally, graduation.
Wiseman treats his viewers as persons of intelligence who can derive their
own patterns of meaning without narration. His evenhanded film, like the
reality it draws from, is open to various interpretations; people form
across the political spectrum have found support for their views in Missile.
Frederick Wiseman is a MacArthur Fellow and received a five-year unrestricted
grant for his outstanding work as a documentary filmmaker.