The Day After (1983)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  20 November 1983 (USA)
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A graphic, disturbing film about the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.



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Title: The Day After (TV Movie 1983)

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Klein (as Steven Guttenberg)
Jim Dahlberg
Lori Lethin ...
Calvin Jung ...
Clayton Day ...


The frightening story of the weeks leading up to and following a nuclear strike on the United States. The bulk of the activity centers around the town of Lawrence, Kansas. Written by Anthony Ventarola <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Apocalypse... The end of the familiar... The beginning of the end. See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 November 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dagen efter  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 1,953,591 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After watching this, president Ronald Reagan sent a pile of suggestions to director Nicholas Meyer how it should be edited. See more »


When teenager daughter Denise runs amok in the farm field after the nuclear attack, she lightly brushes up against a dead cow and moves the entire carcass, thus revealing it to be a lightweight stuffed prop. See more »


Denise Dahlberg: They give me this ribbon to wear... but I haven't got any damn hair to put it into.
[Stephen takes off his baseball cap to reveal that he has no hair left at all]
Stephen Klein: You look great.
See more »


Featured in Executioners (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Still Scary
12 March 2001 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

This movie aired recently on the USA network and I saw it for the first time since I was ten years old. Although I did not find myself experiencing nightmares when I went to bed that night, as I did seventeen years ago, I still found the movie's message delivered clearly and with solid dramatic impact.

Upon close analysis, there are flaws, both technical and on the creative end. The post-bomb world seems far too well-lit at times in light of the "nuclear winter" theory. And (as the film's disclaimer says) the actual results are much, much grimmer. Seven years ago I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the photos, accounts and newsreel footage taken of those who survived are absolutely horrifying.

Some of the plot point devices and characters seem far too constructed (or perhaps outright contrived): Steve Guttenberg and his girlfriend and their tearful reunion, the dying doctor played by Jason Robards returning to the ruins of Kansas City for a final farewell to his home (and wife who died in the explosion). But the acting is strong, and Nicholas Meyer's largely low-key direction (often with no music) hammer home what is the film's message - loss. Not just the typical message that everyone loses in (nuclear) war, but illustrating what would be lost: loved ones, your home, your way of life, simple human dignity. And that it would be lost forever. For me, one of the most chilling lines is when Steve Guttenberg says to his girlfriend, "There's not going to be any phones."


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