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Testament (1983)

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

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Writers:

(based on the story "The Last Testament" by), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Carol Wetherly
...
Tom Wetherly
...
Brad Wetherly (as Ross Harris)
...
Mary Liz Wetherly
...
Scottie Wetherly
...
Hollis
...
Fania
...
Henry Abhart
...
Rosemary Abhart
...
Cathy Pitkin
...
Phil Pitkin
...
Mike
Mico Olmos ...
Larry
Gerry Murillo ...
Hiroshi
J. Brennan Smith ...
Billdocker
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Storyline

Nuclear war in the United States is portrayed in a realistic and believable manner. The story is told through the eyes of a woman who is struggling to take care of her family. The entire movie takes place in a small suburban town outside San Francisco. After the nuclear attack, contact with the outside world is pretty much cut off. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Testament...to a nuclear holocaust See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 January 1984 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Testamento  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

$1,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gerry Murillo, who played the role of Hiroshi, was mentally handicapped in real life as well as his character role, but often gets little recognition for his work in this film. See more »

Quotes

Brad Wetherly: [after finding Hiroshi abandoned at home] I'd better take you home with me, Hiroshi... because I don't think your dad is coming back.
See more »

Connections

Features The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

All My Loving
(1963)
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Produced by Andrew Dorfman
Performed by Mitch Weissman
Courtesy of Mac Len Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Probably the best of the "triumverent"
8 May 1999 | by (Marshfield, WI) – See all my reviews

There was "The Day After," a U.S. production about as subtle as someone hitting you over the head with a bat going "Nuclear war is BAD! BAD BAD BAD!"

Then there was "Threads," the BBC answer to Day After. Gripping, yes. Also unrelentingly graphic, violent and disturbing with little in terms of acting.

Then you have "Testament," a quiet little American Playhouse production that, quite simply, runs circles around the other two. No mushroom clouds, no graphic scenes of mass destruction and death incarnate. Just simple, raw human emotion. "Testament" handles its subject manner with a surprising gentle touch, understated, yet effective. The film is the best of the three because of its subtlety. A small Californian town isn't hit by the blast, but rather the aftermath.

It works. At first, the town manages to hold together fairly well, even proceeding with the elementary school play. But then the children begin dying, then the grownups. And the film rapidly becomes a story about surviving as best you can, rather than rebuilding and going on. I won't spoil the film by revealing plot details, but there are several twists that are both subtle and heartbreaking.

This film relies on its emotions to tell the story, and the actors are up to the task. Jane Alexander is, in a word, brilliant (how she didn't win the Oscar she got nominated for is beyond me), but she's not the only one. Her children, particularly Lukas Haas and Roxanna Zal (in their movie debuts), are stunning as well, while some of the bit players make the most of what they have.

In the end, it's the gradual NON-appearance of the actors that make the point. Life will go on, yes, but for how long? "Testament" relies on the loss of those we learn to love to make its point in the best way possible: by letting us get it on our own.


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