On the Beach (1959)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  17 December 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,759 users  
Reviews: 152 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.



(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 | 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?


Ava Gardner's first film as a freelance actress after completing her 20 year studio contract where she worked for a weekly salary and didn't benefit financially from being loaned to other studios. She was now free to choose her roles and negotiate her salary. See more »


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 »


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

Crazy Credits

and Introducing Donna Anderson See more »


Featured in Australian Movies to the World (1983) See more »


Stand up Stand Up for Jesus
Words by George Duffield Jr.
Music by George J. Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

Chillingly understated
30 November 1999 | by (NYC, NY) – See all my reviews

Is "under-wrought" a word? If so, this movie defines it. A great cast never seems like its acting in an all-too-realistic portrayal of the fifth Kubler-Ross phase of humanity. Past denial and anger, there is finally grim acceptance, replete with just the perfect sprinkling of gallows humour. The ultimate philosophical question is raised by author Nevil Chute,"What is truly important in life, if in the end, we're all dead?"

46 of 70 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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