7.8/10
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35 user 6 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 »

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Writers:

(teleplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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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:
...
John Woodley
...
Susan Myles
...
...
Steven Levitt
...
Dr. Bruce Lyman
...
Dr. David McKeeson
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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 if their demand isn't met. Written by Keith Chang <changk@ucs.orst.edu>

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

20 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boletín especial  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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 (Hadashi no Gen (1983)), Rules of Engagement (1989), When the Wind Blows (1986), Letters from a Dead Man (Pisma myortvogo cheloveka (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

Dr. Neils Johanssen: There is about a hundred pounds of explosives in there. geared to set off the chain reaction. They have just put a match under the WHOLE PILE.
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

 
Simply amazing -- a nuclear version of Welles' "War of the Worlds"
16 October 1998 | by (Monster Island) – See all my reviews

This extraordinary TV movie -- shot on video, to make it resemble a news broadcast -- shows us how network news might cover a group of terrorists holding a city hostage with a nuclear bomb, and in doing so creates extraordinary tension while also getting in subtle and pointed digs at the media.

The movie begins with morning programming at IBC, which is

suddenly interrupted for a you-know-what -- a terrorist group is holding a nuke onboard a tugboat in Charleston Harbor, which they threaten to blow up unless all the nation's nuclear detonators are brought to them so they can be taken to sea and destroyed.

I don't want to give away any of the plot, but suffice it to say that, even with a disclaimer on the screen during the entire running time, folks in Charleston panicked when this film originally aired in the early 1980's. One of the best made-for-TV movies in the history of the medium.


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