7.1/10
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161 user 29 critic

The Day After (1983)

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

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1,962 ( 2)
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Stephen Klein (as Steven Guttenberg)
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Jim Dahlberg
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Lori Lethin ...
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Jeff East ...
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Calvin Jung ...
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Clayton Day ...
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Storyline

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 <theventman@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Beyond Imagining... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 November 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dagen efter  »

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Technical Specs

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| (TV)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original air date (on ABC) was November 20, 1983. Over 100 million Americans were estimated to have viewed the program. Still rated as the most watched ever TV movie on US television as of December, 2012 (not including miniseries), it was watched by 38.55 million households or 46.0% with a Neilsen share of 62%. See more »

Goofs

An all-out nuclear war is hypothesized by scientists to produce enough soot and fallout to completely blot out the sun, resulting in an extended nuclear winter around the Earth. The film depicts a brief nuclear snowfall soon after the bombing ceases, but for the rest of the film the landscape is mostly bathed in a hazy sunlight. See more »

Quotes

First Air Force Officer: Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence is high. Roger, we've got 32 targets in track and 10 impacting points. I want it confirmed... is this an exercise? Roger, copy. This is not an exercise!
Second Air Force Officer: Roger, understand. Major Reinhardt, we have a massive attack against the U.S. at this time. ICBMs... numerous ICBMs... Roger, understand. Over 300 missiles inbound now.
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Connections

Featured in Jin doi hou hap cyun (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's later than you think
15 April 2003 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

If you think this movie's theme is outdated, think again. The Doomsday Clock has moved ahead three times since the end of the Cold War. From a press release: "Chicago, February 27, 2002: Today, the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the minute hand of the `Doomsday Clock,' the symbol of nuclear danger, from nine to seven minutes to midnight, the same setting at which the clock debuted 55 years ago. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this is the third time the hand has moved forward."

I watched this movie again a few weeks ago, after seeing it on TV as a ten-year-old kid. While some of the story-lines were painful (e.g. the soon-to-be-wed farmer's daughter whining when dad caught her sneaking off to have sex) this was a well-done movie showing the effects of nuclear war on middle america.

While maybe you can knock this for it's dramatic quality, I think it holds together as an honest story. Some of the criticisms I've read below don't hold together. The story *is* clear about the effects that happen at different distances from ground-zero. The Russians nailed Kansas because of the missile silos there. And it is honest about human nature: in the aftermath lots of people help, like the doctor, but others kill for food or land and there's plenty of panic and anger to go around.

This movie made an impression on me when I saw it as a kid and also now as an adult. And for those out there knocking it--remember this: The Day After made the people of the United States realize what kind of horrible toys their leaders are dealing with. It sparked the movement against nukes. We need a similar movement today--because people have forgotten, or don't think nuclear weapons are a threat. But the United States is now researching new, tactical nukes which, if smaller, will still result in fallout poisoning people unlucky to be in the neighborhood. Just like the kids in Iraq that get to breath the Uranium dust from our tank-busting weapons.

I wish we had more movies like this, and like _Traffic_, that bring painful realities to life and make people think.


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