7.8/10
775
35 user 4 critic

Special Bulletin (1983)

A TV reporter and cameraman are taken hostage on a tugboat while covering a workers strike. The demands of the hostage-takers are to collect all the nuclear detonators in the Charleston, SC... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(teleplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Countdown to Looking Glass (TV Movie 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Docudrama uses fictional reports of a crisis in the Middle East, which leads to a nuclear confrontation between the US and the USSR. "Looking Glass" is the code word for the Strategic Air ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Barzyk
Stars: Scott Glenn, Michael Murphy, Helen Shaver
Without Warning (TV Movie 1994)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A television program is interupted by a news network announcing that three meteors have hit the United States, France and China. At first it seems natural but after interviews by scientists... See full summary »

Director: Robert Iscove
Stars: Sander Vanocur, Jane Kaczmarek, Bree Walker
By Dawn's Early Light (TV Movie 1990)
Drama | Thriller | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: Powers Boothe, Rebecca De Mornay, James Earl Jones
Ground Zero (1987)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A second generation cameraman in Australia finds evidence that his father had filmed a nuclear test that allowed aboriginies to be exposed to and killed by radiation. He begins a search for... See full summary »

Directors: Bruce Myles, Michael Pattinson
Stars: Colin Friels, Jack Thompson, Donald Pleasence
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Disturbing collection of 1940s and 1950s United States government issued propaganda films designed to reassure Americans that the atomic bomb was not a threat to their safety.

Directors: Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Paul Tibbets, Harry S. Truman, W.H.P. Blandy
The Day After (TV Movie 1983)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A graphic, disturbing film about the effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg
Testament (1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The life of a suburban American family is scarred after a nuclear attack.

Director: Lynne Littman
Stars: Jane Alexander, William Devane, Rossie Harris
Threads (TV Movie 1984)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Documentary-style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England, and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale, David Brierly
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Set in a bleak future where roving gangs of children terrorize city streets, and reality is often an illusion...

Director: David Gladwell
Stars: Julie Christie, Christopher Guard, Leonie Mellinger
Having It All (TV Movie 1982)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Thera Baylin is a fashion designer with a husband in New York and another one in California.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Dyan Cannon, Barry Newman, Hart Bochner
Whoops Apocalypse (TV Series 1982)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A light-hearted look at the final week before doomsday. American President Johnny Cyclops is trying to run a re-election campaign while dealing with the Russians, a deposed Shah needing to ... See full summary »

Stars: Barry Morse, John Barron, Ed Bishop
Rules of Engagement (TV Mini-Series 1989)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Political intrigue and murder occurs when the English town of Portsmouth is sealed off by the military during the eve of World War III.

Stars: Anna Calder-Marshall, Kenneth Cranham, Amanda Fawcett
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Woodley
...
Susan Myles
...
...
Steven Levitt
...
Dr. Bruce Lyman
...
Dr. David McKeeson
Rosalind Cash ...
Frieda Barton
...
Jim Seaver
...
Diane Silverman
Robert Kay ...
George Takashima
J. Wesley Huston ...
Bernard Frost
Frank Dent ...
Dr. Jason Halpern
Charles Lanyer ...
Merritt Cunningham
Mie Hunt ...
Ellen Stevens
Bruce Fields ...
Walter S. Letteau
Edit

Storyline

A TV reporter and cameraman are taken hostage on a tugboat while covering a workers strike. The demands of the hostage-takers are to collect all the nuclear detonators in the Charleston, SC area so they may be detonated at sea. They threaten to detonate a nuclear device of their own if their demand isn't met. Written by Keith Chang <changk@ucs.orst.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boletín especial  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was part of a 1980s cycle of films about atomic bombs and nuclear warfare which had started in 1979 with The China Syndrome (1979). The films included Silkwood (1983), Testament (1983), Threads (1984), WarGames (1983), The Day After (1983), The Atomic Cafe (1982), The Manhattan Project (1986), Whoops Apocalypse (1982), Special Bulletin (1983), Ground Zero (1987), Barefoot Gen (Barefoot Gen (1983)), Rules of Engagement (1989), When the Wind Blows (1986), Letters from a Dead Man (Dead Man's Letters (1986)), Memoirs of a Survivor (1981) and The Chain Reaction (1980). See more »

Goofs

When the RBS newsroom transfers to their reporter Megan Barclay in Charleston, she begins her report saying; "The situation began approximately 1 hour ago". The report then screens some video from their reporting team and then shows some Super-8 footage which was filmed by a tourist on a sightseeing boat. Super-8 is a film, not video, format. Normally the cost of the film cartridge included postage to a Kodak laboratory where it would be developed and then mailed back to the owner. In this instance, After the boat had reached shore, it would have been necessary to take the film to a Kodak developing facility to be processed, after which it could be taken to the news studio. Due to the time required to get the film to a laboratory for processing and then to get to the news studio it would have been impossible to do this within the time allowed. See more »

Quotes

John Woodley: Is it possible to compare the weapons deployed today, the kind of the Russians may have aimed at Charleston with what the terrorists have on that ship?
Arlen Surrey: John, tonight, people who are 5 miles from the harbor would survive the blast at least. If a Soviet 1 megaton bomb was dropped on the harbor, those people, 5 miles away, would be vaporized in the first three-fifths of a second.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opens with a commercial advertising shows for the fictional RBS network, followed by the title "Special Bulletin" as the commercial is interrupted. There are no opening credits, making this one of the first TV movies ever produced without some sort of opening credits. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Excellent film, worth seeing.
16 September 2006 | by (Fairfax, VA) – See all my reviews

A fascinating and gripping film, I had the pleasure of watching it in 1983 during its premiere on NBC. The concept of showing the film as a series of televised news broadcasts and bulletins was inventive and hearkened back to the days of the War of the Worlds broadcast, giving it something of an edge. Along with the Day After, these two television movies were among the best made in the early 1980s highlighting the dangers of atomic weapons and nuclear war. The comment I hear every so often of this being a bit cheesy is unfair. Given the context of the time, when tensions were still high in the Cold War, it gave perspective of what might happen. The only problem I had, was that the film should have been longer than its originally airing of two hours, spending as much time on what would happen after an atomic explosion as leading up to the event. The best film of this kind since Special Bulletin and Day After, was the recent Dirty War. I can only imagine how this film would be done today, given the expansion of cable news, via 1983 when the networks were the only real source of news.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I Found This Movie Online! xflbat
DVD Release? rhklein
Special Bulletin\UFO Docu-drama GSoldano
Can anyone tell me... lrcdmnhd72
Special Bulletin ledithpete
Just seen this again after 20 years .... p-p-hughes
Discuss Special Bulletin (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?