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The Day After (1983)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  20 November 1983 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 9,685 users  
Reviews: 156 user | 26 critic

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 3 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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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

Taglines:

Beyond Imagining... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 November 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dagen efter  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,953,591 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

ABC set up special 1-800 hotlines to calm people down during and after the original airing. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Oakes is listening to the radio on the freeway, the interior shot shows that his car is in the right lane. In the next exterior shot, he is in the left lane and crosses the right to exit the freeway. There is also no traffic heading in the opposite direction at all. See more »

Quotes

Helen Oakes: My God. It's 1962 all over again. The Cuban Missile Crisis. Do you remember Kennedy on television, telling Khrushchev to turn his boats around?
Dr. Russell Oakes: "Full retaliatory response." He didn't bat an eye.
Helen Oakes: We were in New York, in bed... just like this, remember? 118th street.
Dr. Russell Oakes: Meatball sandwiches from Sharky's.
Helen Oakes: Your last year's residency. I swear we that made Marilyn that night.
Dr. Russell Oakes: We got up, went to the window to look for the bombs.
Helen Oakes: It didn't happen. It's not going to happen now.
Dr. Russell Oakes: Nah. People are crazy, but ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Can't Stop the Music (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A lesson with images
9 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was a naval aviator deployed aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) when I first saw this film. The show had aired back in the States some time before the film reels (this was before video tape decks were commonplace) were flown out to our Battle Group, so we knew that the telecast had had a big impact on the American public before we had the chance to view it.

That didn't matter. The film had as great, and possibly even more of, an impact on those of us out on the "tip of the spear" as it did on those back home. The military characters seen in the film were not actors -- they were contemporaries of ours, some even familiar faces -- so we felt a true connection to the story. The tension between the US and the Soviet Union was real and nobody knew better than we how nasty things could get in a short period of time. Even as we watched the film over the ship's closed circuit television system, Soviet military units were intent on locating and targeting our Battle Group. Our job, our daily routine, was part of the story, which emphasised the point that we were responsible for keeping the peace and to not allow events to escalate as we all feared could happen.

The reaction I remember most from this film was worry for family back home. -SPOILER- The one airman who left the silo area to reach his family before the missiles arrived displayed a sentiment that we all felt. No one aboard our ship would shirk his duty, but we all understood the sentiment that once duty is done, family is foremost in mind.

The argument could be made that the film was rife with error, but I maintain that it ultimately succeeded in what it was designed to do...make people seriously consider the consequences of nuclear war. That point was not lost on those of us aboard the Ranger at the time. While I watched the film again just recently (21 years after the first viewing), the lesson was still not lost. We may or may not be vulnerable to such a massive strike as what was feared back in the 1980s, but nuclear terror is still a very real possibility. It is as imperative now, as it was then, that we ensure that this type of calamity is never visited upon anyone, especially those about whom we love and care.

Yes, better special effects would make from some jaw-dropping images, but would that improve upon the film's message? In my opinion, no.


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