By Dawn's Early Light (1990)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Drama, Thriller, Action  |  19 May 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,980 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 4 critic

The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Moreau (as Rebecca DeMornay)
Colonel Fargo
Ronald William Lawrence ...
General Renning - 'Icarus'
Looking Glass Colonel - 'Sam'
Randal Patrick ...


The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a limited nuclear exchange in this film with a scenario similar to Fail-Safe (1964) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Originally a made for cable movie, it concentrates on the relationship between a veteran pilot and his female co-pilot and the president's attempt to wrest control away from a war-mongering successor. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Four People. Three Minutes. Two Choices. One Chance For Survival.


Drama | Thriller | Action


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aos Primeiros Clarões da Aurora  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the second Cold War-based nuclear thriller to derive its title from the lyrics to the song "The Star Spangled Banner". The first was Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) starring Burt Lancaster. See more »


When the presidents chopper is about to crash the pilot radios "Mayday Marine One going down," but the wreckage on the ground says "Army". See more »


Moreau's Roommate: I missed you last night, so how was Hop-a-long Cassidy?
Moreau: He's starting to drive me crazy, you know? He's so in love with himself, I feel like I'm intruding.
Moreau's Roommate: Well he's a pilot, what else is new?
Moreau: That is bogus, I mean we're ALL pilots.
Moreau's Roommate: Yeah, but we're not men.
See more »


References Cool Hand Luke (1967) See more »


Written by Dan Baird
Performed by The Georgia Satellites
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Administered by BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

A Real Thriller
29 June 2000 | by (Collegeville, PA) – See all my reviews

The last cold-war thriller is truly exciting and realistic. A launch by rouge Russian generals on their own territory triggers a nuclear exchange between the US and the (then) Soviet Union. The acting is top-notch by all involved. Highly recommended!

11 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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