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The Day After (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nicholas Meyers Masterpiece

10/10
Author: d-maxsted from new zealand
13 February 2011

I remember watching this here on the big screen as unlike the U.S when it was shown here in New Zealand it was shown on the big screens around the country....it haunted me for weeks. Now with children of my own in their early teens and with the movie being shown on Sky (no adds thank goodness) with them both I sat and watched this haunting experience once again. During the build up in the movie to the actual bombs exploding,and to me this was one of the scariest parts as the news reporters begin to announce the detonation one by one over advancing troops and NATO headquarters,both my children were in awe at just how scary and real it all really was,when the bombs exploded their mouths dropped to the floor..welcome to the wonders of our glorious nuclear age. I also once watched an interview with Nick Meyers who stated that before the movie was shown on the U.S network it was shown to members including the secretary of defense at the White House....according to Nick Meyers as the movie ended there was complete silence for almost a minute

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bold beyond belief for its time.

8/10
Author: Jetset971 from United States
16 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The day after is something I never actually saw back in the 80's but heard numerous references to throughout the decade and beyond. About 8 years ago I finally found it in a video store and decided to watch it. Bare in mind that I have seen several nuclear holocaust movies growing up and they always managed to send shivers down my spine. This was due to the fact that it was always a distinct possibility that we could have a all out nuclear war and even if you survived the blast you would die a horrific death of radiation or starvation. It was a real curious paradox, on the one hand I was intrigued by the sheer magnitude of total destruction while on the other hand being utterly scared to death over the prospect. If I had witnessed "The Day After" back in 1983, when I was not yet 12, I most likely would have been scarred for life. Thankfully as an adult I was just eerily entertained. I can certainly see why this movie was presented with a tremendous amount of carefull preparation and planning for audiences back then. Remember how the promos constantly had a "viewer discretion advised" on the screen. Or how they had 1-800 hot lines to field peoples concerns after the show. Jeez, you would have thought that right after the movie ww3 was about to start. Had this movie been made today, I seriously doubt there would have been as much hoopla as they had back then. That is not to diminish the effectiveness of the movie, its just nowadays the threat of nuclear war is less worrisome compared to the threat of nuclear terrorism. As for the movie. It certainly has its graphic scenes that don't sugar-coat anything. The anxiety of the missiles that are on their way and then the horrific images of the blast going off with people being instantly evaporated, and worst of all the futile challenge of the survivors trying to go on living. I really have to compliment the fact that this movie doesn't offer any hope at the end of the movie. Its bleak and depressing but its dead on honest and shows the reality of nuclear war. To have interject some sense of shouldering ahead for a better tomorrow would have been insulting. These people are doomed to die and that is why the movie stresses at the end that we must avoid this pointless war at all costs. The only down side is that while I can appreciate and respect the story and plot, the dialog is, at times, a bit amateurish and juvenile.

Conclusion: See this movie and it will reawaken the reality of Nuclear War. Something that must be avoided.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

True to life

8/10
Author: parsifalssister from United States
16 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't see this film when it first aired, but 27 years later and it left me with great sorrow.

Some people are empathic about what they would do or not do in a crisis of this magnitude--nuclear attack--but unless we are actually in a situation like this all we are doing is hoping we'd rise to the occasion(s) set before us.

What was real for me were the human emotions, which others felt contrived, but for me spoke volumes about what we find most important in crisis.

It made perfect sense to me for people to want to go "home" and/or to find loved ones; it seemed reasonable that those most affected by radiation would suffer, the more exposure, the greater the sickness. It also made sense for the government to offer platitudes and for Agri-representatives to offer palliative solutions to the farmers with real questions and serious concerns. And as painful as it was, it made sense to see and hear folks try to hold onto what they had, and die for their longing.

What doesn't make sense is that after 27 years we can all imagine with clarity that these events could happen between or among nations.

I commend Robards and the cast for low-key but superlative acting in this truly memorable film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Film's Sociological Impact Has Less to Do with Quality and Production Value Than One Would Think

7/10
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States
14 October 2010

Today, The Day After is quite hackneyed, at least before the missiles hit, what with the farmer's daughter having pre-marital sex the day before their wedding and all the God-Bless-'Mer'ca trivia, even if it is meant paradoxically, all this classically American sentimentality ensuing just diametrically on top of all the ICBMs that will before long decimate human society: That's all-American, too, a shower of nuclear carnage. I imagine the kids who were made to watch it by their parents and teachers didn't make that link. But what they surely do recall even now is watching with concentrated, anxious dismay, waiting for the bombs to go off. Intended to be the most lifelike portrayal of nuclear war ever produced for wide appeal.

No, withdraw that: ABC advertised that, taking advantage of our fears, and very, very successfully, too. (I just freshly read that during the original broadcast, there were no commercial breaks after the nuclear attack. Hitchcock would be proud.) You couldn't not watch this film. And even today, with the probability of what it depicts really happening having diminished, it's deemed more fitting for channel-cruising, it's a hypnotic memento of how terrified people were then, watching Steve Guttenberg walking down that deserted country road, cows, a horse, a swingset, the last seconds of anything remotely ordinary. The cast is comprised generally of novices and comparatively minor actors, various local actors and actresses from Kansas City and Lawrence to satisfy the smaller supporting roles, all for purposes of naturalism.

But despite its ambition, The Day After is still not above the most careless clichés. Above all, what on earth would possess you, hiding from radiation and survivalists in the basement of your own home, to leave your dog on the other side of the door to starve, die of radiation or both? What line of reasoning did I miss? The thing about saving the rations for the family? A whole basement of canned goods and you can't spare one a day for your dog? Even during a tornado in Twister, another mawkishly American depiction of disaster, young Helen Hunt's family still brings the dog with them. And that's a tornado! But wouldn't you do that? Who do you know who would just leave their dog a push and a pull of a door away from dying a painful, lonely death?

Nevertheless, somehow, the film sparked much political debate in the United States about whether or not we should forsake the first use of nuclear weapons, a policy which had been a basis of NATO defense planning. That is to say, Wow, Nicholas Meyer, good job on the movie. It's very rare that storytelling media's effect on one's ideas and convictions makes even a blip on the radar. And yet, according to some, Reagan wrote in his diary that the film left him deeply disheartened, and that he had a change of heart on the established strategy of a nuclear war. In the late '80s during the era of Gorbachev's government transparency and restructuring, the film was shown on Soviet TV. During the signing of the U.S.-Soviet treaty eliminating nuclear and conventional ground-launched missiles, Reagan wrote a message that said, "Don't think your movie didn't have any part of this."

I suppose what The Day After is, over and above the impact of the film itself, is a sociological example of how we need to be aware that the myths, beliefs and practices preferred by our culture will find their way into our stories where they can be reinforced, criticized or simply reproduced, and we see it all the time, and only a few cause us to see more than just what we want to see when we see it. If you see what I mean.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

%$!$ Happens

8/10
Author: Mark Honhorst from United States
16 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You know you're pretty much doomed when the US and The Soviet Union decide to fire nuclear warheads at each other. That's the plot of this made for TV film about what would happen if the Cold War became so intense that we destroyed each other. I believe the nuking scene made extensive use of stock footage from nuclear test sites of the 40's, but still managed to be very very tight. I really enjoyed the cast, especially John Lithgow, who became famous for his portrayal of Dick Solomon in "3rd Rock From the Sun".

I think what I liked the most about this movie was the fact that it doesn't focus on entertaining the audience with scenes of destruction, but instead focuses on showing the audience the effects of people who had their lives shattered by the end of the world. All in all, it's a very good movie. Weapons are fired. Worlds end. %$!$ happens.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Clever, sometimes eerie, intensely bleak Science Fiction drama.

8/10
Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
13 September 2008

When the Cold Way has raised up worldwide. It seems that the enemies are prepare to start an nuclear world war. Now all over America... American are preparing for the worse. While the enemies will sent 300 Soviet Warheads all over America. Now it's up to the United States of America to start all over again but nearly everyone hopes are destroyed with the unexpected apocalyptic war.

Directed by Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek 2:The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek 6:The Undiscovered Country, Time After Time) made an realistic drama if it truly happens the nuclear war. Meyer directs this as he was making documentary styled drama... making it as real as possible and truly making this incredibly bleak. There's some strong performances, especially Jason Robards and even Steven Guttenberg in his best role to date dramatically. This was one of the most controversial TV films of all time and it's still well-remembered.

DVD has an fine, sometimes grainy Full Screen transfer and an decent Dolby 2.0 Mono Sound. Meyer's film manage to be released in theaters in Overseas. Which Meyer's European version (His Director's Cut) run seven minutes longer. It is sad, the DVD from MGM could have been better (The LaserDisc edition had an running commentary track by the director and it was presented in Matted Widescreen in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio). MGM did put out an acceptable transfer. An Special Edition DVD with an anamorphic Widescreen transfer and an digitally remastered sound would have been nice. Maybe in the near future, it will happen. "The Day After" does have some flawed moments, some of the eerie special effects has dated badly but it still grabs your attention. Don't miss it. Intelligently written by Edward Hume. (****/*****).

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An epic TV film on the horror of self-destruction for the entire human race

10/10
Author: DarthBill from United States
13 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Epic TV film dealing with the grim, nuclear bomb detonated end of the world when the rural heartland of America gets nuked by the Russians (this was back in 1983 mind you). If the initial explosion doesn't kill you, the radiation left behind in the wake of the nuclear fall out probably will after you've had too much exposure to it (and it doesn't take much either). Tempers flare, egos clash, the "survivors" try to make do with what's left but can see no hope for the future, as virtually all of them waste away from the radiation surrounding them. And what you see here is nothing compared to what the real thing would be like.

A grim, gritty, hard hitting TV film about the dangers of nuclear war and the potential of humanity to wipe itself out. Just seeing what the nuclear fall out does to these people is hard enough, watching it destroy their personal lives and personalities is even worse. Well directed and well acted by a cast that includes Jason Robbards, Steve Guttenberg, John Lithgow, JoBeth Williams, Bibi Besch and Amy Madigan.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Powerful, Nerveracking

8/10
Author: bobcolganrac from Earth
9 August 2007

This is a film originally aired on TV about an atomic attack on middle USA. Supposedly it drew the largest TV audience in history. Perhaps if it had been made public that in the Cuban Crisis in 1961 the USSR and the USA were as close as 5 minutes of instigating such an attack the public would have been even more attentive...

This is one of those films that somehow got through the filter that tries to hide the ugly truth from the public. It succeeds in creating a sense of realism, but knowing what what we know now, falls terribly short of depicting a post-nuclear world in which the airborne particulate would essentially block all warming sunlight for years and the temperature plummet rapidly once the stored heat dissipated, inducing a very deep freeze and near night darkness. They didn't know it until after the film was finished. The power of this film is its shock value. But its true shock value is the possibility of it being prophetic. I defy anyone to watch it and not feel queasy ---especially with the number of weapons in the world and the instability of international diplomacy. If you're after a nailbiter, here it is. If you're after well-written cleverly-scripted drama with convoluted intricacy, this isn't it. This film compares to the older rollercoasters that may or may not have passed their last safety inspection and that thump you side to side after a big initial plummet without regard for your sense of well being. No fancy 5 point harnesses here---it just smacks you and keeps on going. You're definitely shaken by the experience.

I believe that the inability to make movies on this topic may be in part due to the government wishing not to alarm the populace while continuing to build new and re-arm existent weaponry. Somebody wants the game to continue: it isn't the average Joe or Jane as we see them depicted in the film. It is tough to watch. There are quite a few losses of continuity that could have been cleaned up before release to DVD but I'm guessing the age of the production influenced that as much as anything else. I'd like to see a remake: one that takes into account all of the known effects coupled to today's CGI, a little better scripted, and even darker in its outcome. This one left things hanging a bit, and it worked, but it could be improved. I thought the strongest image was the farmwife screaming as her caring husband grabbed her to take her to the "shelter." It had an aura of realism. Strong stuff indeed. I read that the director was so angry with the censorship he labored under from the military and TV studio he tried to have his name removed. What a pity that Nicholas Meyer wasn't given a freer hand : it might have been truly great.

I rate it 8 stars for cinematic power. Otherwise, it isn't that strong in plot or script or acting to warrant a higher review, but is definitely worth the watch.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A movie with a profound message that hits close to home...

8/10
Author: whomikejones19 from Missouri
21 July 2007

I just saw this movie again today on the Sci-Fi channel and felt I needed to comment... The first time I saw The Day After was when I was 7 or 8 and it was replayed on TV (I was too young to watch it when it first aired). It scared me so much then because even at such a young age I was aware of the US - Soviet Union tension and always heard that nuclear war could happen at any time. It was always in the back of the minds of my teachers and every other adult I knew.

It scared me even more because the setting is literally in my back yard. The towns mentioned in the movie - Sedalia, Green Ridge, Windsor, Lone Jack - are all less than an hour's drive from my home town. Less than one mile outside of my town on the main highway there is a fenced-off area in the middle of a cow pasture. As a child, I asked what it was and my parents told me it was a missile silo. The movie made me realize even at a young age that if nuclear war were to happen myself and everyone I knew would vanish in an instant. That is an unimaginable feeling of despair I always carried with me. Once the Cold War ended and the nuclear non-proliferation treaties were signed, I felt a sense of relief. The silo was decommissioned (although I'm sure the missile is still in the silo) and the fear that the events of TDA would actually happen were diminished. The silo, and our town, were not a target anymore.

As I watched the movie today 20 years later as an adult, I came to the sobering conclusion that things would be much worse than I imagined if a nuclear war were to happen. I feel the people that were vaporized were the lucky ones. The desperate search for life's necessities and progressive radiation sickness would make me wish I had died when the bombs exploded.

So... I believe the movie did an outstanding job of delivering it's message about the horrors of a nuclear war. It didn't have the flashy special effects or the greatest writing, but that wasn't the movie's purpose. It's purpose was to inform the world of what life would be like if the superpowers decided to do the unthinkable. And the movie did a wonderful job of that. Just from reading other comments, especially the comment from Russia, TDA had a bigger impact on the world than most people realize.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dated; But Still rather horrifying

10/10
Author: espinosat3 from Texas
18 May 2007

I was 11 years old and was living in southeast Missouri when this movie premiered on ABC. At that time, the attack segment of the film scared me to the point of bursting in tears and having nightmares off and on for two years afterward. After having seen it again as an adult on the Sci-Fi channel (toward the beginning of 2001), I realized that the horrifying part of the film was the aftermath of the attack.

While this film's material and graphics are very dated and not as scary (visually speaking), it is worth watching because the message of the film (to inspire people to avert nuclear missile exchanges) is still very real. In fact, vivid images of this film came to my mind on the day of September 11, 2001. Though we may no longer be threatened by a cold war with Russia, the threat of a nuclear missile exchange with terrorists is very real and an even bigger challenge to avert.

I have also seen the British film "Threads." While I tend to disagree with those who say that "Threads" is scarier and/or more graphic, both "The Day After" and "Threads" send the same message to viewing audiences.

While now a days, critics of this film tend to focus on the flaws and goofs that are undoubtedly present, they should remember that this film reportedly caused then President Reagan to burst into tears. Also, a few years later, he reportedly had a conversation with director Nicholas Meyer saying that seeing "The Day After" caused him to reevaluate the view that he and other US congressmen had on nuclear war(which apparently was, at the time, that there CAN be acceptable losses in a nuclear war). Also, he reportedly changed some national policies on the use of nuclear weapons a couple of years after this film premiered. Therefore, the movie definitely made (and still makes)its horrifying message very clear.

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