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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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Writer:

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1,609 ( 203)
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

Taglines:

Apocalypse... The end of the familiar... The beginning of the end. 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:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To give the film a documentary feel, director Nicholas Meyer wanted to cast complete unknowns - Jason Robards being his only major star. Many others, including JoBeth Williams, John Lithgow, Amy Madigan, and Steve Guttenberg, would go on to successful careers. See more »

Goofs

The uniforms the Air Force enlisted men are wearing are wrong. They are wearing "colored" Strategic Air Command patches on their right breast pocket when they should be subdued, none of the missile mechanics are wearing their missile maintenance badge, also known as a "pocket rocket" patch on their left breast pocket, and the two security policemen are not wearing their subdued police badge patches on their left breast pockets and have "SP" stenciled on their fatigue hats. Security policemen wear berets. See more »

Quotes

Denise Dahlberg: Phones working?
Stephen Klein: Are you kidding? There aren't going to be any phones.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Episode #1.12 (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A good film - critics are missing the point.
2 July 2002 | by (The Real LA - on the South Coast) – See all my reviews

I first saw the film as a high school student attending a Department of Defense school in Germany in the early 1980's. The film was shown in school and it scared the bejeeezus out of me and many of my fellow students. We were dealing with Red Army Faction terrorism, car bombs, bomb threats at school and only a few hundred miles from the border to East Germany. The concepts were quite accurate: if the eastern bloc came over the border, then the ONLY NATO response could be to fight a delayed retreat, blowing up roads and bridges as the US and Nato forces were pushed back and most of Germany would have fallen to the Eastern Bloc before any offensive action could have been taken. The scenario leading to the nuclear attacks are quite real and plausible.

The critics say the film was not graphic enough (they prefer things like Threads) or too graphic (prefering more subtile films like Testament ). There is no need to be totally graphic and accurate in portraying the events. Yes, we know it would be worse. But the goal is not to gross everyone out. We want younger audiences to see the film too - and that would never happen with something like theads. Likewise, a mored emotional but action lacking film would not draw in the audiences. The purpose was to 'get the point accross' and I think it did that very successfully - bad acting, flubbed lines, stock footage and all. It showed enough of the circumstances surrounding the events for those who had some education in things could recognize issues and say,"Yes thats right" while not being overly graphic so that only adults could see it.

If you want to see an action movie about nuclear war or you want to see a touchy-feely emotional treatment of the losses due to war - this film is not for you. The purpose of this film is to show what nuclear war may be like (in a very superficial way) and to remind everyone that it must NEVER happen again. Back in the early 1980's with the Soviets under a rotating leadership of old hardliners and the US with Ronny talking smack - the threat was very real and the reality check this film delivers was needed. It doesn't play as well in the year 2002 - but you must remember when a film was made when you see it.


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