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Special Bulletin (1983)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  20 March 1983 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 731 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 4 critic

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 »

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(teleplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Special Bulletin (TV Movie 1983)

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Won 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Flanders ...
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
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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 of their demand isnt met. Written by Keith Chang <changk@ucs.orst.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

20 March 1983 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When this film was first broadcast, the network superimposed the word "dramatization" on the bottom of the screen every few minutes and ran disclaimers after every commercial break, to remind people it was only a movie. That didn't stop some people in Charleston, S.C. from panicking anyway. 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 »

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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.


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