Circle of fear

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German title Circle of fear
Original title Ground zero
Country of production Australia
original language English
Publishing year 1987
length 109 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Bruce Myles , Michael Pattinson
script Mac Gudgeon , Jan Sardi
production Stuart Freeman , John Kearney , Kent C. Lovell , Michael Pattinson , Dennis Wright
music Tom Bähler , Chris Neal
camera Steve Dobson
cut David Pulbrook

Circle of Fear (original title Ground Zero ) is an Australian political thriller from 1987 with Colin Friels in the lead role.


The film weaves a hypothetical conspiracy theory about the real atomic bomb tests carried out by the British in Maralinga, Australia between 1956 and 1963. The thesis is put forward that, with the approval of the Australian government, the Aborigines resident there were exposed to radiation tests without their knowledge , many of which were fatal.


The successful cameraman Harvey Denton, himself the son of a cameraman, discovers that his apartment has been broken into and some old footage of his late father has been stolen. He later notices that he is being followed by the Australian secret service ASIO . He quickly suspects a connection between the stolen footage and a (real) committee of inquiry that is currently taking place into the British nuclear tests in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. His father documented the incidents as an employee. He later allegedly drowned in the ocean.

Through his investigation, Harvey succeeds in getting a film role that can allegedly prove the injustice to the Aborigines. He takes her to court, but the role is classified as secret . The investigating judge therefore looks at them alone behind closed doors. He then claims that the entire film was black and that nothing can be seen. With that, Harvey has lost what appears to be the only evidence of the conspiracy.

Back home, he watches a Super 8 film by his father , like dozens of times before , which shows Harvey playing as a child. Pending his thoughts, he neglects to turn off the projector as usual at the end of the film, so that the empty end of the roll is played for some time. Suddenly there is more footage behind the end. It shows dozens of dead Aborigines laid out. His father, undiscovered for years, stuck a copy of the explosive documentation behind the children's recordings .


"Authentic events form the background of this gripping and disturbing thriller about deadly power politics."


“Exciting, carefully staged, but thematically overloaded thriller that relates to authentic facts; the dangerous proximity to clichés of the thriller genre clouded the critical claim in places. "

- Lexicon of international film


  • At the Australian AFI Awards in 1987 , Circle of Fear was nominated in nine categories and won four of them.
    • Best Achievement in Cinematography (won)
    • Best Achievement in Editing (won)
    • Best Achievement in Production Design (won)
    • Best Achievement in Sound (won)
    • Best Actor (nominated)
    • Best Supporting Actor (nominated)
    • Best Director (nominated)
    • Best Film (nominated)
    • Best Original Screenplay (nominated)

Individual evidence

  1. Critique on
  2. Ground Zero. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 4, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. AFI nominations and winners 1987 on

Web links