7.3/10
10,184
160 user 44 critic

On the Beach (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | 17 December 1959 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
John Tate ...
...
Lt. Sunderstrom
Lola Brooks ...
...
Lt. Benson
...
Lt. Cmdr. Farrel
Richard Meikle ...
Davis
...
Ralph Swain
Joe McCormick ...
Ackerman
Lou Vernon ...
Bill Davidson
Kevin Brennan ...
Dr. King
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Biggest Story Of our Time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Ufer  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While the film was shot in 1959, it was set in 1964. The two most famous movies related to nuclear war also took place in 1964: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and Fail-Safe (1964). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

The following acknowledgment appears in the opening credits: "We acknowledge with appreciation the assistance given by the Royal Australian Navy and, in particular, by the officers and men of H.M.A.S. Melbourne and H.M.S. Andrew." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Doctor Blake Mysteries: A Night to Remember (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltzing Matilda
Original music by Christina McPherson, revised music by Marie Cowan and lyrics by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (as A.B. Paterson)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a great human drama
20 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

The Cold War aspects of this movie may be a bit dated, but for those of us of a certain age it is a reminder of the fears we lived under at that time. In retrospect, it may be that Julian was wrong: it may have indeed been the very presence of these terrible weapons that prevented a third world war.

In any case, that aspect of the story never overshadows the movie's underlying theme, which is, rather, how each of us views the sum of our lives as our mortal end approaches. Are we alone? Have we connected with anyone? Have we failed? Have we loved? Have we been loved?

Color would have been all wrong for this essentially b&w story. Superb performances from Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and the pre-Norman Bates Anthony Perkins. A fine bit as well by John Tate as the old admiral("to a blind, blind world").

A mere cold-war nuclear destruction movie would leave one merely frightened at the end. The fact that this movie leaves you with an almost unbearable feeling of terrible sadness is a testament to the human power of Nevil Shute's book, as well as to the fine script and Kramer's superb direction.

One of the most depressing movies ever made, but a truly great one.


105 of 128 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 160 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017