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Countdown to Looking Glass (1984)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  14 October 1984 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 288 users  
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Looking Glass was the Strategic Air Command Airborne Command Post in the air 24/7 for over 40 years. It was aloft as a back up to the HQ SAC Command Post at Offutt AFB should it be rendered... See full summary »

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Title: Countdown to Looking Glass (TV Movie 1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michael Boyle
...
Bob Calhoun
...
Dorian Waldorf
Patrick Watson ...
Don Tobin
Nancy Dickerson ...
Herself
Eric Sevareid ...
Himself
Matsu Anderson ...
Matsu Yamada
Barbara Barnes-Hopkins ...
Mrs. Langhorn
...
Youth #1
Richard Comar ...
Pentagon Spokesman
Murray Cruchley ...
James Otis
Faye Dance ...
Anne Gailmore
Don Dickinson ...
Unger
Micheal Donaghue ...
Technician
...
Don Geller
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Storyline

Looking Glass was the Strategic Air Command Airborne Command Post in the air 24/7 for over 40 years. It was aloft as a back up to the HQ SAC Command Post at Offutt AFB should it be rendered ineffective and inoperable...not just in case of nuclear war. Written by Jim Gilmore

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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14 October 1984 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

Michael Boyle states that a "Typhoon" class submarine is heading towards the Persian Gulf. The images accompanying the narration does not show a Typhoon. Also a Typhoon class submarine is a ballistic missile submarine and a vital strategic asset. It would never be used in a volatile situation as depicted. That role would be taken by smaller submarines specialized in attacking enemy ships and subs. See more »

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User Reviews

 
the Gingrich interview alone makes it worthwhile
30 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One thing has changed since this movie was shown in 1984. ... At the time, it had been a decade since the war in Vietnam had ended. America had lost its stomach for war, and this film about getting into another one would touch lots of nerves.

Now, three or four wars later (who's keeping count anymore?), it should be required viewing.

"Looking Glass" is the name given to the President's flying command post, called that because there are two such planes that look very much alike, mirror images of each other. One is real, the other is the decoy. A chilling piece of information that would convey, if the two planes ever took off, that we really are in a shooting, nuclear war. And as the steps towards the Big War are taken, there is a "countdown" to the takeoff of the Looking Glass command post and decoy. Hence the title.

Gritty realism, a strong strong strong feeling in my gut that, if "it" ever happened, "it" could look exactly like this. I remember that sober churning inside, when I saw this some time in the 1990s. Only this week I was reflecting on how little they actually spent on special effects, but what an explosive wallop they got out of the effects they had, fast paced by the script, the sets, the commentators, everything that HBO had available to tell the story from a network's point of view.

The film had to make me think, and I immediately realized what was the most hard hitting memorable scene for me.

(Not a spoiler, discloses nothing, and is very early in the film) The news anchor turns to interview a "talking head". It is Newt Gingrich, as he was back then, a young young congressperson on his way up.

The anchor points out that the crisis is very deadly. Gingrich agrees.

"We may die," the anchor persists. Again, an agreement.

Then the anchor asks "Is there anything worth dying for?" And Gingrich responds "Tragically, the answer is 'yes'".

He points out that if the US were to back down, we would be submitting to slavery, and that our freedom is worth dying for. Freedom does not come cheaply and should not be yielded. He comes across as more than a leader, certainly a statesman, and in this film performs the thankless job task of saying something we might not want to hear.

I have said this before -- I say a movie is very, very good if I have continued to remember and ponder on it, years and years later. And Looking Glass has stayed with me in that way.


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