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There have been movies about nuclear war before and since this one but even though no one really knows what it would be like after a nuclear attack, this one give the best theory except we wouldn't be this quick to recover and pop our heads out of the holes underground. I think the movie overall died awhile after the attack and dragged to end but it was very good as well as the acting. I would have liked to have seen it focus more on what events lead up to it in just radio and TV (which you rarely got to see) reports. It woke a lot of people up, (even the Soviet Union leaders I heard). It did me. I got my hands on the DVD after renting it not long ago.
The Day After was a thought provoking movie. I remember seeing this on T.V. I remember how it was advertised as a movie that should not be seen alone. Fortunately, I saw it with about 4 or 5 people and my current lover. I got the DVD 6 months ago. (On sale I might add.) Seeing it again was almost like the first time. I was numb for a couple of hours. My only complaint is the sound is occasionally tinny and has a slight echo to it, like it was recorded in an echo chamber. Very disconcerting. Looking at the special effects in 2005, they were great for the 1980s, but we have advanced sooooo much since then. And who knew that the Russians would lose the power and become rather ineffectual. They aren't a real threat now. It's the Middle East and China. And I have a feeling that the Bomb isn't the worst threat now. I think we are in greater danger of bio-chemical terrorism than blowing the world to bits with Atomic bombs. But still, it was a gripping and well told story in which the gloom got stronger as the story moved to it's heart-breaking conclusion. Testament was another similar film.
I saw this film when I was a little boy and it scared me. I don't think
people today appreciate the tension that existed back during the cold
war, and how we really were on the brink of a nuclear war. This film
brought that into perspective for me, and later when I was in the Navy
aboard the Independence, I felt that same level of tension. Having
visited the atomic bomb museum of Hiroshima, it only unfolded yet
another facet of reality to me.
After a solid 20 years or so, I bought this on DVD and highly recommend this film. I was very impressed with the build up of tension. The special effects were a little cheesy and there were clear mistakes made, but the overlying feeling that in ways far beyond what a slasher of ghost story can bring you, this one can strike a little closer to home. Oh yes, and for what it is worth, despite the end of the cold war - their missiles are still pointed at us and vice versa.
They showed us parts of this movie on my military basic training to
show us the various effects of a nuclear explosion.
Recentlt, a watch it again ( in full, for the first time ) and i think it was really well made ( for that time ). All the details off what could happen after a 3rd World War.
We really have to be happy that those days of fear are almost a thing of the past.
( Well! We have other worry today, but nothing compared to the fear of a nuclear global war )
It's a Must See movie. At least for educational reasons.
All and all, I don't think this is a bad movie. But I don't think the producers were able to fully seize the potential they had to make a profound statement about the dangers of a full scale nuclear war in the midst of the Cold War. I first saw this as a teenager while living in southeast Missouri, just 45 miles from the 97th Bombardment Wing (B-52s) at Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville, Arkansas. After noticing the close proximity of some characters in the story to Whiteman AFB in Sedalia, MO, it really had my attention. I have had opportunities to see the movie a time or two since it first aired in 1983. Each time I see it, I'm left with the same impression. The make up and the special effects are excellent when considering the technology available at the time the movie was made! In fact, I think it's the best part of the movie. The unfortunate thing, however, is the movie's message was marginalized by scenes written into the story line. A good example was when Dr. Oakes was speaking with a colleague while washing his hands in the scrub room of a hospital. As both men approached the camera, he wonders if man were truly capable of nuclear war, they'd be "eating hearts in caves" instead of fixing them. The point could have been more effectively made had the producers simply presented the subject matter through the storyline and allowed the viewers to ask that question of themselves. The producers of "Threads" were able to do this and I think that's why "Threads" is the better of the two movies.
I remember tuning in as one of the reportedly 100 million viewers to watch this apocalyptic nuclear holocaust "enactment." I was 11 years old and can remember how scared I was because the US Embassy had just been obliterated by terrorists in Beruit and we had just staged that war in Grenada and I had no idea what was going on. I though it was all "them" (the Russians, whoever had those missiles pointed at us) and that this, as an actuality, was right around the corner. But, hey, i got spooked by the commercials for Red Dawn.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This along with Testament (1983) and Threads (1984) form the trilogy of
(anti-)nuclear war movies that scared a generation in the height of the
Cold War that greeted the world following the election of Reagan in
1980 to the White House. Kind of you made you feel nostalgic for the
era of malaise under the Carter Administration.
One scene that haunted me in The Day After was the wedding scene, where at the same time of the nuclear explosion in the USA, the bride and groom kissed at the ceremony, their first and last act as newlyweds.
When this was screened on ABC, it pre-empted an episode of Hardcastle and McCormick, and one of the movie's actors John "Northern Exposure" Cullum, had to give an intro warning for little kids. It was a scary movie even for adults.
Nicholas Meyer directed this landmark TV movie that set ratings records 30 years ago. Story follows the events leading up to and beyond as tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union escalate out of control for various reasons, which lead to one or the other side launching its nuclear missiles, devastating both sides in nuclear fallout. The lucky ones die immediately(vaporization) the survivors must continue on amidst a ruined landscape and creeping radiation sickness, not to mention rampant anarchy. Set in the town of Lawrence, Kansas, this film is a most thoughtful examination of what could really happen in such a circumstance, even if characterization gets lost in the big picture. Not a masterpiece, but still holds up today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Why because nuclear war is just horrible destruction. The Day After is a graphic, disturbing film made to TV movie aired on ABC in the 1980's that show the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas when World War III break out between the Soviet Union and the United States. It's well-made TV movie (the most watched in US history) about a full nuclear attack on the USA. Directed by Nicolas Meyers, the attacks come quick, and sudden so there isn't much action in the film itself. This movie does a pretty good job at depicting what an aerial blast might look and feel like. I could imagine that's what one seen from far off would be like. Anti-climatic, almost, sorta just a crack and a rumble as it developed. The whole bombing scene, was nearly 5 minutes long and before that point, nearly an hour to establish the characters and plot. So if you looking for action, this isn't your film. The rest of the film mostly focuses on the residents of Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as several family farms situated next to nuclear missile silos in the aftermath. These characters are pretty interesting characters both before and after the blast. There is a who's who of 1980's actors portraying them. There is Dr. Russell Oakes (Jason Robards) and Nurse Bauer (JoBeth Williams) who works in the hospitals in Kansas City and in Lawerence. There is Joe Huxley (John Lithgow), a science professor that helps explain more of the fall out causes such as losing hair. Last character worth noting is University of Kansas student Stephen Klein play by Steve Guttenberg. While, the acting is mediocre at best, as less the characters had little bit of depth. While the story provides no specifics about other cities, it strongly suggests that America's cities, military, and industrial base are heavily damaged or destroy. The film was written by Edward Hume. Allegedly, the US Department of Defense would only co-operate with the movie makers if it was made clear that the Soviets fired first. Sounds about right, even if that caveat seems to have been ignored. I know Nicholas Meyer wanted to leave the "who shot first," but the first mention of nuclear weapons is the US firing on advancing Soviet troops with a Soviet nuclear response. The idea of making a TV movie showing the true effects of nuclear war on average American citizens stir up controversy. Not many people know that ABC Censors cut more than 2 1/2 hours of the film and change huge chunks of the script to make it more sanctified for public consumption. A real nuclear war would be far more dangerous and disturbing than what is betrayed here. So the movie lost a lot of steam needed to make this more realism. The movie had so much so controversial that children's entertainer Mr. Rogers dedicated five episodes of his television program to talk to young children who had seen the movie on television. While, the explosion look amazing, but if you look closer at it, you can see the film using a lot of stock footage of nuclear blast test videos. Further stock footage was taken from news events such as fires and explosions. I think the worst part was when the film use the 1979 theatrical film Meteor in one scenes, such as a bridge collapsing and the destruction of a tall office building. Brief scenes of stampeding crowds were also borrowed from the disaster film Two-Minute Warning (1976). Other footage had been previously used in theatrical films such as 1977's Damnation Alley and 1978's Superman. It felt like a rip-off, or a lazy job. This movie did indeed changed the course of history. It commanded record-number viewers the night it was broadcast in the US. The USSR allowed it to be broadcast in the Soviet Union and shown on movie theater screens for those who didn't have TV's. Afterwards, in the US, President Reagan said he "never felt so depressed." In the USSR, stunned citizens came out of their homes and theaters with candles. Reagan and Gorbechav called each other. The rest of the outcome is history. The Cold War ended, as less for now. Overall: The movie was nowhere near as good as BBC Channel's 1984 nuclear holocaust TV movie 'Threads', but 'The Day After' overall, reach a bigger audience. The day after feels all the same like a poor take on threads- to the point where as an afterthought the makers of it feel the need to inform us that truth is bound to be more severe. Threads does precisely this: it portrays all the inexplicable dismal grimness to ensue. Threads is pure horror, the worst nightmare coming true, how nuclear devastation will really not only look, but feel like. Here it's like a PG-13 horror movie, while Threads is Rated R version, and more like if it really happens. Still, check it out, and understand why there should never ever be a Nuclear War.
All and all, I don't think this is a bad movie. But I don't think the producers were able to fully seize the potential they had to make a profound statement about the dangers of a full scale nuclear war in the midst of the Cold War. I first saw this as a teenager while living in southeast Missouri, just 45 miles from the 97th Bombardment Wing (B-52s) at Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville, Arkansas. After noticing the close proximity of some characters in the story to Whiteman AFB in Sedalia, MO, it really had my attention. I have had opportunities to see the movie a time or two since it first aired in 1983. Each time I see it, I'm left with the same impression. The make up and the special effects are excellent when considering the technology available at the time the movie was made! In fact, I think it's the best part of the movie. The unfortunate thing, however, is the movie's message was marginalized by scenes written into the story line. A good example was when Dr. Oakes was speaking with a colleague while washing his hands in the scrub room of a hospital. As both men approached the camera, he wonders if man were truly capable of nuclear war, they'd be "eating hearts in caves" instead of fixing them. The point could have been more effectively made had the producers simply presented the subject matter through the storyline and allowed the viewers to ask that question of themselves. The producers of "Threads" did an excellent job of this and I think that's why "Threads" is considered by many to be the better of the two movies.
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