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On the Beach (1959)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi  -  17 December 1959 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,112 users  
Reviews: 148 user | 37 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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Tate ...
Harp McGuire ...
Lola Brooks ...
Ken Wayne ...
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Richard Meikle ...
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Joe McCormick ...
Lou Vernon ...
Kevin Brennan ...
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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

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hora Final  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Philip R. Davey, author of the book "When Hollywood Came to Melbourne: The Story of the Making of Stanley Kramer's 'On The Beach'", director Stanley Kramer experienced many problems with the thousands of bathers who stood in shoulder-deep water to watch the proceedings, and who applauded the cast after each take. Their enthusiasm was gratifying in this respect if not in others, such as when thousands of people began crowding forward to get a closer look at Ava Gardner, they repeatedly moved into camera range, thus necessitating many frustrating retakes. See more »

Goofs

The time line in the film concerning the shortage of oil is contradictory and makes no sense. The Melbourne street scene near the beginning shows an apparently long-abandoned car, with everyone else riding horses or horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles or the electric tram - a scene that only makes sense had the oil shortage been of long-standing, since most people could not obtain horses so quickly. But according to the radio report heard a short time earlier the atomic war had just ended, so there should still be much normal traffic on the roads before oil and gasoline supplies disappeared. On the other hand, as Peter enters the Naval building Admiral Bridie is telling Osgood that he has just seen the report stating that all oil comes from the Northern Hemisphere. It makes no sense that Bridie would only then be reading such a report if oil had by then become so unavailable that all automobile traffic had already ceased. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

and Introducing Donna Anderson See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hancock's Half Hour: Sid in Love (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Powerful Without Being Pretentious
14 August 1999 | by (Morristown, NJ) – See all my reviews

"On The Beach", despite it's heavy subject of a nuclear holocaust wiping out all human life, succeeds because Stanley Kramer is mercifully more restrained and less pretentious than he would later be in "Inherit The Wind" and "Judgment At Nuremberg", which are memorable more for their polemics than their characters, in my opinion. Except for one minor speech by Fred Astaire at one point (which as the previous reviewer noted is somewhat ironic in light of the fact that the very thing Astaire rails against, the idea that large nuclear stockpiles could keep the peace, turned out to be absolutely true) the film is for the most part about people and how they react to the knowledge that their world and their lives will soon come to an end. This is what makes the film so compelling as far as I'm concerned. The cast is excellent, with fine performances by Astaire (his first non-musical part), Anthony Perkins and Gregory Peck. But the real strength of the movie is Ava Gardner's touching performance as the lonely, alcoholic Moira Davidson who manages for one brief moment before the end to find true love with Peck. Having read much about her life, there is something almost hauntingly autobiographic in Gardner's portrayal, and that only adds to the movie's overall poignance.


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