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Special Bulletin (1983)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  20 March 1983 (USA)
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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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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 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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

20 March 1983 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


Dr. David McKeeson: Woodley, that's a nice Anglo-Saxon sounding name. I hope it's your own.
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

Effective and memorable
28 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw about the last 20 minutes of a rerun at about 3am, without the precautionary warnings used in the original airing, and still remember how believable and intensely effective the movie was. Based on what I saw of it and remember after about 15 years [I probably saw this in the late 80s or very early 90s], very well done. I might even add it to my "to rent" list so I can see the whole thing :-). I even woke my grandfather [I was living in his house at the time] to ask him if we knew anyone in Charleston. Once we worked out that it had only been a movie, he was sympathetically amused. His sister had been taken in by the War of the Worlds radio broadcast, so he apparently readily understood how easy it had been for me to be confused by an apparent newscast with no commercials or warnings.

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