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On the Beach (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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On The Beach has a saving grace.

Author: simile ( from Columbia, South Carolina
9 June 2000

Actor Grant Bowler who reprises the Anthony Perkins role as "Peter" in this film is fantastic. His timing and use of facial expressions to connect the audience with his inner turmoil and sorrow is phenomenal. Here is an actor who can actually hold the audience with his portrayal of Peter; a man who watches as his world falls apart and knows he must be strong for his wife who cannot face the awful truth. Kudos to Grant Bowler. His understated acting has stolen the entire film.

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A great film

Author: Ikari Gendou (obviously not my real name) from Las Vegas, Nevada
5 June 2000

This was the first movie of this kind I could ever sit through. Not because I've got a weak stomach, but "romance" type movies like this just don't interest me. This movie though, the premise behind it, watching how people react and think, it just kept me interested.

I've read some of these other comments, and one of the points that gets on my nerves, is "How could Australia NOT be a target of attack?" Now, I don't know, but I do know that it wasn't a target of the 1959 version either, or from the book. So from that, we must figure that the author felt that the reason Australia wasn't nuked was not needed in this story.

And also, for the person that had a gripe because the sub had nuclear warheads, but was referred to as an SSN, a technical note here. Attack submarines can be loaded with TLAM-N, the nuclear warhead version of the Tomahawk cruise missle. So yes, the sub could have been loaded with nukes.

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Quite different than the original, much more chilling

Author: ( from Centerport, NY
29 May 2000

I saw the original in the late 1960s when I was an 8 years old and it helped form my belief systems on war, peace, the value of life and on how terrifying such a end-of-the-world scenario would be. I saw the Showtime version last night and it gave me nightmares all night.

The 1958 version was very stark and didn't have a lot that one could relate to in terms of deep interplay between the main characters; the updated version changes all that. It seems to start out very slowly leaving me wondering when the director was going to get to the meat of the story which is finding out if anyone has survived the nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere, but the time is well spent because by then end of the film you're deeply engrossed in the approaching, inevitable death of the characters and the utter finality of what has happened not only to them but to every person one the planet and the planet itself.

The updated technology references really hook you, especially the use of the Internet. There are several homages to the 1958 film -- look for the coke bottle. The fact that this version is in color adds a reality apart from the original. The only quibble I have is the portrayal of the populace of Australia as being relatively calm (in terms of lack of social unrest) in the face of the end-of the world is hard to swallow... however since the focus is really on getting to know the characters and their interactions I'd let the former slide...

Excellent remake of a classic. One important safety tip: if you're impressionable or easily upset, DO NOT watch the film alone, it can really freak you out.

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Not a bad remake

Author: smacdonald from Seattle, WA
29 May 2000

I saw this on Showtime last night. It wasn't a mini series. Though that might have been more merciful. Overall it wasn't a bad remake. I prefer Kramer's original. But having the story updated was nice and it points out that though the cold war is over there are still alot of nuclear warheads around and nations ready to use them. A reminder that the world is not safe from the threat of nuclear holocaust.

I don't see where Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown "sizzled" in this remake as their characters were adversarial toward one another throughout with one exception. I thought Ward and Asante worked well together. And most of the cast fit for an updated version of the story.

The only drawback I saw was that the film tended to drag on in places senselessly. Keeping in the spirit of the original would have been better in my opinion. The length of the film made it difficult to watch at times. But overall I thought it was good. Just as depressing as its predecessor. If not more so because of the contemporary feel.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Really bad

Author: abloke36-158-984501 from United Kingdom
13 September 2011

I cannot understand how this movie has managed to get a 6.9 . Have the reviewers actually read Neville Shute's novel ?

I was really looking forward to seeing this 2000 remake because On The Beach is a favourite of mine and have read the novel many times. The 1959 movie really did not do the tale any justice.

However the tone of this movie, its pacing and script are just wrong. Too much time is spent on the sub and little time developing the characters.

Special effects...appalling , corpses that were supposed to be two years old blinking. Did the radiation preserve the bodies ? San Francisco and the golden gate destroyed but Sausalito sparkles in the sun without a broken window.

Worst of all is Dwight Towers and the changed ending. In the novel Moira sits ill behind the wheel, dying from radiation sickness abandoned. In this we have an ending which destroys the whole tone of the original novel.

I do not really like remakes per se but we need a decent director to remake this blockbuster story but one which sticks to the characterisation and tone of the novel.

If the novel needs extending in anyway then that should focus on the ways in which radiation sickness destroys the body. this movie did finally become involving once the sub arrived back in Melbourne but it was a long and dreary wait. 4/10 at best

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

See both versions (and read the novel)

Author: ( from Lincoln, Nebraska
14 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It seems that a review of this teleplay is inevitably going to take the form of a comparison with the 1959 film of which it's a remake!

So let me start out by saying: I don't agree with some of the reviewers at this site, who say it's a simple case of the remake being superior to the original, period. Both versions have their high points and both versions misadapt this or that detail from Nevil Shute's novel. If you have the time, the two versions are best seen in succession. And by all means read the novel.

The most glaring fault of both versions are their violation of the character of Commander Towers, especially on the occasion of his fishing trip with Moira, the lady he has been companionating with during his Australian mission. Novelist Shute's submarine captain remains faithful to his wife, even though she's obviously dead along with everybody else in the northern hemisphere, and he registers himself and Moira in separate rooms at the fishing lodge. Why does he feel this way? Because he chooses to believe his wife is still alive, along with his family, in their cozy Connecticut home which is in reality an uninhabitable wilderness of radioactive crud. Moira, a somewhat vulnerable woman in need of affection, is somewhat hurt, but she respects Towers' feelings. And thanks to Shute's way of telling the story, we know that without his irrational belief that he's "going home when all this is over", the commander would not be such a source of strength to his crew and to the Australians he's lending his services to. Neurotic as his belief may seem, it's sensible because it works. And he's not pretending, he believes it--even when he finally takes his sub out to sink her with all hands, he brings along the presents he bought for his family in Connecticut. And he sure as anything isn't going to cheat on his wife.

But the director of the 1959 version, Stanley Kramer, stupidly insisted that the film must "have some sex" and that no viewer would find Towers' restraint believable. Consequently, the film makes it clear that Towers and Moira do consummate their relationship. Gregory Peck argued with Kramer, and told him how wrong he was, but to no avail. Consequently, novelist Shute hated the film, and we too should hate this particular violation of Shute's concept. Particularly because the 2000 version made the same change, by default.

The merit of the 2000 version is that it goes much more deeply into the characters and their motivations. It also updates the story, and I think Shute would approve of that, because the danger of nuclear Armageddon is actually much greater nowadays than it was in 1959, due to the increasing proliferation of these weapons, the instability of the world situation, and the irrationally warlike nature of the present U.S. leadership. The updating of the story helps to underscore the fact that the nuclear danger has increased.

** spoiler ahead **

But the more recent TV version also contains extra badness, of which the most glaring example is the change in the ending. There is after all a reason why Shute's story must end with Moira standing at the headland, watching the submarine disappear into the mists for the last time, unable to share her last moments with her companion: "This is the way the world ends." I can't imagine why a conclusion so poignant - and in terms of the logic of the story, so inevitable - was replaced by a silly portrayal of a fantasy of Moira's, in which Towers fails to do his duty and deserts his ship and crew to return to her. Were the makers of this version afraid that using the real ending would make people think it too derivative of the 1959 film? I can't imagine.

We certainly need a third version, one that will show Towers caught between his alternative reality (remaining loyal to his wife) and Moira.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great film

Author: snowy_blacky from Germany
21 January 2003

Saw the film just a few days ago and I am very impressed. I only saw the second part two years ago and was really looking forward when the film will be shown again. Well, a few days ago the film was shown a second time (this time i saw both parts) and I'm still impressed. Great Actors and a story that should never become reality!!!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Weak and distrubingly unlogical

Author: haggar
23 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As others have said, the romantic part of the movie is very bland, it detracts a lot from what might have been a good TV movie. For the average viewer, that is. But if you are one of those unlucky fellows that likes to use their brains a little bit, you'll be disappointed with the premise:

- Warning! Spoilers ahead -

So, the premise is, after a nuclear way, the northern hemisphere is polluted with radioactive waste, but one scientist suspects that increased UV might have removed the nuclear pollution near the North pole. Interesting, maybe even plausible. What is totally un-plausible is the following: they send a submarine to check this out, because all communication with the north has ceased and only a submarine can go there, avoiding the radiation. Now why wouldn't they just send a plane? Well, duh, because... hmmm... yeah, why not? In this movie, moreover, Australians are waiting for their destiny as the pollution from the fallout approaches, without even trying to use the time they have to build underground refuges, even though the supplies seem to be aboundant, as well as the time. Again, why not?

Contrast this movie to "The day after", which in a much shorter feature time describes all the doom humanity can bring upon itself, all the humane tragedy, even the romantic aspects, without spoiling it all, and all along keeping some scientific and logical sense.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: bbrown98_1998 from florida
26 July 2000

This remake of the original is better and much more thought provoking than the first. Really makes you think about what you would do in a situation like that. Everyone in the movie handled the inevitable in their own way.

We tend to think that disasters of this kind are beyond us in this age, but are they?

Acting was much better than the original and the scenery was great. I liked the way it was changed to make it more relevant to our times.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The most depressing movie in the world

Author: sef-5 from California, United States
17 July 2000

The summary says it all... this is the most depressing movie I have ever seen in my life. Three hours plus of the end of the world, with no survivors in sight (save for a bit of hope about in the middle of the movie).

And despite that horrible, mind-numbing depression... it was compelling. It affected me so much because of the hopelessness, and the strengths of the characters -- the movie made me think... it could happen, and, if it did, it very well might be just like this.

I can't say it's a 'must see' movie... but I think any member of any government should be forced to see it.

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