On the Beach (1959)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  17 December 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,840 users  
Reviews: 152 user | 38 critic

After a global nuclear war, the residents of Australia must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Tate ...
Harp McGuire ...
Lola Brooks ...
Ken Wayne ...
Richard Meikle ...
Joe McCormick ...
Lou Vernon ...
Kevin Brennan ...


In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La hora final  »

Box Office


$2,900,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gregory Peck was a lifelong opponent of nuclear weapons, and made On the Beach (1959) for this reason. Peck believed atomic weapons should not have been used during World War II, and the reason for Japan's surrender was the Soviet Union's declaration of war on 9 August 1945 and simultaneous invasion of Manchuria. See more »


Party for Dwight in Frankston. Mary returns to the room with a plate of snacks. Being upset by the discussion about the war, in the close up she is focused on something to the left of her. The following wide shot of the room is presenting her in an attitude towards the middle to right side of her position. Her hair seems to be flatter or even moister. See more »


[first lines]
Dwight Towers: Prepare to surface.
See more »

Crazy Credits

and Introducing Donna Anderson See more »


Referenced in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) See more »


Waltzing Matilda
Music by Marie Cowan
Lyrics by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (as A.B. Paterson)
See more »

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User Reviews

A great Tour de Force by a fine cast, interpreting a great story
13 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched this movie in a USAF chow hall on the island of Makung in the China Strait with about 20 other airman. The year was 1960. We were stationed there on a missile site. Our targets were 7 Chinese missile sites. Their target was us.

I was 22 years old and immortal.

Until I watched this movie.

When the movie ended, I will never forget the fact that no one moved for perhaps 10 minutes. There was just the bright, blank screen and the sound of the end of the film going around and around. Thiketa-thicketa-thicketa................... No one ever said a word about what we had just seen.

We, or at least I, never forgot this movie. As said earlier, it was more than scary. It was sad.

It seems strange now, 40 some years later, to be telling people that you really should watch this film and watch the masters at work, with a script that is chilling. And you know what? We still haven't outlived the possibility...........

198 of 212 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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