Operation Avalanche

Iain Todd reviews Operation Avalanche, a Cold War comedy about a pair of CIA agents who find themselves faking the Apollo Moon landing.

Published: July 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The conspiracy that NASA faked the Moon landings is as old as the Apollo programme itself.


It seems few cosmic expeditions, even in the current age, are immune to the cynicism of naysayers seeking to burst the bubble of the world’s space agencies and their uncanny ability to achieve the impossible.

Yet for all the evidence supporting space exploration as fact, there remains something tantalisingly fascinating about the idea that it is at least possible the Moon landings were dreamt up in a studio by a world super power racing to beat its ideological opponent.

This enduring fascination with the Apollo conspiracies is clearly not lost on Matt Johnson and Josh Boles, whose latest film Operation Avalanche imagines the theories to be true.

The trailer for Operation Avalanche, a new comedy that imagines the Apollo Moon landing was faked

A found footage comedy thriller, much like the writers' feature debut The Dirties (2013), the film stars Johnson and co-star Owen Williams as two CIA agents hired to seek out a suspected Soviet mole within the Apollo programme.

But while listening in on a tapped phone conversation between NASA officials, they overhear the admission that the US will be unable to fulfill John F Kennedy’s “within a year” promise to the American people.

NASA, it turns out, cannot land a man on the Moon and bring him back.

The agents become embroiled in a conspiracy to fake the Moon landings, filming the lunar touchdown inside a studio to be beamed to TVs around the world.


With reference to some of Apollo 11’s most iconic images – Aldrin's footprint and full-body portrait – the film gives an intriguing explanation as to how the first Moon landing might have been hoaxed.


Iain Todd, BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Iain ToddScience journalist

Iain Todd is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Staff Writer. He fell in love with the night sky when he caught his first glimpse of Orion, aged 10.


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