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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

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Drama | Sci-Fi

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Details

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Release Date:

28 May 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La fin du monde  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

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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

When the sub departs on its mission north, it is depicted remaining surfaced until radiation levels start rising. In real life, they would submerge just as soon as they were clear of the Australian Coast - a surfaced nuclear sub is barely seaworthy and can't go nearly as fast as it can submerged (and the story did emphasize time was of the essence). Also, submerging and surfacing are not nearly as dramatic as this movie depicts. Back in the early to middle 20th century, submarines like the German U-Boats were shaped like surface ships, and worked more efficiently on the surface, but that changed around the time the book was written - since then, submarines move most efficiently underwater. See more »

Quotes

Cmdr. Dwight Towers: I carried warheads on my boat. That is correct. I was damn proud of it too. I served my country the best way I know how. And the only question I ask myself these days and I'm asking it every single millisecond now whatever the hell's left of what I've got, if where was I, where were you? Where were any of us? 'Cause I don't know what the hell two insane nations were doing facing each other down all those years. All that had to be done was that the brains, you know, the rational minds, the ...
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Connections

Features Run Silent Run Deep (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Into My Arms
Written by Nick Cave
Performed by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
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User Reviews

 
Too real to be science fiction?
15 March 2006 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Even writing the most basic mention of On the Beach's plot involves spoilers, so I've checked the spoiler radio button and will proceed to discuss the film with minimal reservation. I won't give away the ending, however.

On the Beach is based on the mid-20th century novel of the same name by Neville Shute, and offers a more elaborate and engrossing treatment of its subject than the original classic film (1959) starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire. This Showtime original is an hour longer than its predecessor, and will likely bore some of the more impatient members of its audience. Unlike most contemporary sci-fi, this is no action film, but a sombre, depressing, examination of the self-destruction of the human race through nuclear war.

Never over-the-top, alarmist, or politically biased, On the Beach simply presents the stark reality of its premise, and uses finely developed characters to give context, shape and meaning, to the experience. the cast is easily equal to its predecessor, with Armand Assante and Rachel Ward particularly illuminating their roles.

Assante plays an American nuclear submarine commander who has outrun the nuclear fall out and managed to surface near Australia, as that continent prepares to experience the first effects of the radiation now permeating earth's atmosphere. All around, people are preparing to die. The most sought after commodity is a do-it-yourself family suicide kit. Immediately enlisted by the Australian government to carry out a top-secret mission to investigate an IP signal coming from Anchorage Alaska, Assante is assigned an Australian military liaison (Grant Bowler) and a scientist (Bryan Brown)and asked to turn his boat around in search of humanity's last hope. In his few days on land before this fateful journey, Assante befriends his liaison's family, developing a special affinity for his sister-in-law, the playful Rachel Ward.

My plot summary takes us about 1/3rd of the way through the story, but sets up all the major elements of On the Beach.

Why does this film work so well? The cinematography is good, but not excellent. The direction is excellent and the cast is exceptionally good. But more than anything else, On the Beach makes its point because the script and story are deeply humanized by the complex and bold characterizations. The characters have interesting back-stories and deal with their harrowing predicament in very different ways. You not only feel as if you know these people, but you like them and sympathize with them - even the more despicable characters.

This is a great piece of classic science fiction, recommended to all, but those with a limited attention span should opt for the 1959 version instead.


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