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On the Beach (2000)

Well, the world has finally managed to blow itself up. Only Australia has been spared from nuclear destruction and a gigantic wave of radiation is floating in on the breezes. Only two ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Allison Webber ...
Tieghan Webber ...
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First Officer Neil Hirsch
David Ross Paterson ...
Chief Wawrzeniak (as David Paterson)
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Todd MacDonald ...
Joe Petruzzi ...
Lt. Tony Garcia
Craig Beamer ...
Crewman Reid
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Crewman Parsons
Trent Huen ...
Crewman Samuel Huynh
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Storyline

Well, the world has finally managed to blow itself up. Only Australia has been spared from nuclear destruction and a gigantic wave of radiation is floating in on the breezes. Only two months are left. One American sub located in the Pacific has survived and is met with disdain by the Australians when it arrives. All of the calculations of Australia's most renowned scientist says the country is at doomsday - get ready. However, one of his rivals say that is incorrect. He believes that 1000 people can be relocated to the northern hemisphere, where his assumptions indicate the radiation levels may be lower. The American Captain is asked to take a mission to the north to determine which scientist is right (and along the way check out the devastation in Alaska and California - seemingly all bodies and vehicles were disintegrated). However, before the mission, all kinds of bland soap opera relationships are played out. Brown and his ex-fiancée battle it out in a love-hate relationship. ... Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

28 May 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La fin du monde  »

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Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
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| (3 episodes)

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Los Angeles class submarine in this movie uses a "caterpillar" (silent) drive as was used by the Soviet submarine Red October in The Hunt for Red October (1990). See more »

Goofs

The "suicide pack" found in the anchorage TV station looks exactly like the ones being distributed in Australia when the sub left, right down to the package color and contents. See more »

Quotes

Moira Davidson: Hey, I'm not blaming you. If it was one of your politicians or your military with their bloody warrior mentality, I would be. "We're protecting your freedom!"
[sarcastically]
Moira Davidson: It really worked...
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Connections

Features Run Silent Run Deep (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Mony Mony
Written by Bobby Bloom, Tommy James, Ritchie Cordell, Bo Gentry
Performed by Glenn Bidmead
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User Reviews

 
Excellent, but probably the most depressing movie I've ever seen!
30 May 2000 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Nightmares are very personal things. Probably because I was in the military at a time when nuclear war seemed more probable than it does now I occasionally had nightmares involving nuclear weapons - the end of all things I hold dear. Regardless of what that says about me, it is a problem that has not been resolved with the end of the Cold War.

I had read some negative reviews about Showtime's remake of the classic picture, so I wasn't sure it was worth watching. That was a mistake as large as the one that frames "On the Beach." This version far surpasses the original in presentation, depth of character, and, of course, effects.

Quite simply, "On the Beach" is the story of the crew of the last surviving American submarine, an Australian Naval officer, and that officer's wife and friends. A nuclear holocaust has created a cloud of radioactive dust that destroyed all life in the Northern hemisphere and is gradually making its way south. Worse, the Australian survivors have a good idea of when the radioactivity will arrive and kill them. When it does, humanity, and presumably most other life, will vanish from the planet. We may as well not have existed.

I've felt up until now that the 1959 classic with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner was the most depressing film ever made. However, director Russell Mulcahy and an excellent cast including Armande Assante, Rachel Ward, and Grant Bowler make the 1959 version seem stilted and pale by comparison. This remake - perhaps reinterpretation is a better word - gives the characters a depth that now seems missing in the original film. Commander Towers displays an increasing disorientation as the film progresses. Moira has more to her character than that of a lush. And Lt. Holmes is clearly not happy about the time spent away from his wife who, in this version, better illuminates her increasing disconnection from the real world.

Still, I find one thing missing from both films. Dylan Thomas exhorted us not to go gently into that good night. Yet Australians and Americans - at least those in Alaska - seem to have no trouble taking suicide pills (with injections for pets and children - seems like it should have been the other way around.) There is a great ethical issue in taking the pills and injections that is not explored in either version, and yet what deserves more ethical and moral debate than whether it is human, in the best sense of the term, to slip silently and uncomplainingly from life? Aside from the insanity of humanity eliminating all higher life on the planet, this lack of exploration of ethical issues is the point that most bothered me about "On the Beach."

I've not read the book so I can't comment on which picture is closer to it. I will say that I think the ending of the newer version seemed at odds with Towers' character - perhaps it was merely a fantasy of Moira while she was dying, or perhaps a critical scene was deleted for timing. I hope it was not just the tendency of modern film makers to sweeten the ending! The earlier movie is much more consistent with Dwight Power's character.

So. This is a movie well worth three hours of your life. Aside from occasional histrionics from Julian Osborne in both versions, it presents people going about their lives as best they can. You are left to decide the meaning behind it, as we always are as individuals. There are no simple answers here, and even the questions the movie raises aren't simple.

The movie will leave you depressed. That shows you're thinking. Perhaps there's no solution to the conundrum of stellar forces, chemicals, and biologics available as weapons. Some serious thinkers have postulated that the reason we don't receive any radio signals from others in the galaxy is that civilizations reach a certain level, and then, when they have learned to unleash powers far above what evolution trained them to comprehend, destroy themselves.

It's a serious thought and a serious movie. I recommend it highly. A solid 9+ from me.


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