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On the Beach (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Utterly heartbreaking look at the end of the world...with some humor...

Author: zillabob from United States
19 August 2007

This Australian production was aired as a 4 hour film in the US on some cable networks. It should have gotten a wider viewing. It's tremendous. Based on Neville Shute's novel of nuclear Armageddon, it's got a lot of Aussie humor as well as some stark images, and it's far more graphic(people throwing up with radiation sickness) than the original film. It drives home the point-or pointlessness-of nuclear war far more than anything like The Day After done here. All of these films wound up being a little nostalgic of a time when we worried about nuclear war.( Now, thanks to Bush and his idiot cronies, we're worrying again, because he's effectively re-created the feeling of the Cold War by provoking war, and recently Russia, again to a more defensive stance. One wonders if these people could watch a film like this and it would make a difference. Bush and his minority of right wing-nut religious supporters sadly want "Armageddon" because to them, they're going to some afterlife and, it in turn creates-to them-a "Biblical" prophecy fulfilled-rant over). The film has stand-out performances from Armand Assante, Byran Brown and Rachel Ward, and without giving away spoilers(you know the general story) it's griping and graphic in spots, pulling no punches on the effect that impending nuclear radiation has on a society. Brown has some fun throw-away lines, and in one case he "steals" some art from the national gallery, only to realize, everyone else is...what's the point, who will survive to enjoy it.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lack of faith in Shute's story is sad

Author: atc7278
7 June 2001

As noted by one other person above, Nevil Shute would indeed be rolling in his grave over this miniseries. The acting & direction were adequate, however, the bastardization of Shute's powerful story weakens the overall effect of the film. The modernization of the film in several instances is positive (laptop, email, etc.), but there is no need to try to modernize the morality as well. Tower's remaining faithful would have only furthered the development of his 'heroic' character, without significantly damaging the plot.

This should be a movie regarding how one person deals with his/her own mortality, not a story of love/lust. That being said....I would like to go further and say that everyone, not just the politicians with their fingers on the triggers, should read the book (or see the 1950s movie if the book can't keep your attention)!

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A terrible remake-stick to the 1959 original

Author: recrdman from Syracuse, NY
9 January 2002

This is the kind of remake that would do well in drive-in theaters (if it weren't so darn long and there were still drive-ins). They've managed to "improve" on the classic 1959 Gregory Peck/Ava Gardner film by showing closeups of dead bodies. a little simulated sex, some unnecessary profanity, lots of vomit sprinkled about and a Disney-like ending different from the book and original film. The acting of Armand Assante as the US sub commander was so stiff it's a wonder this "Moira" fell for him at all. Kudos to the actor who played the young Aussie Navy Lieutenant however.

If you saw this TV film as your FIRST experience of "On the Beach", immediately go back and rent the 1959 original to see how POWERFUL this filmed story can really be, beyond the mere "nuclear war is bad" kneejerk review.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Trust me the end of the world is much more appealing

Author: Flatliners from United Kingdom
5 December 2004

after being dragged through 3 hours of this film i wanted one of those suicide pills , apart from the bad acting and cheap special effects, which they were somehow impressed about because thats all we ever saw, stock footage of a submarine. The romantic aspect of the film threw it completely off track, If it ever had one, and was completely unbelievable that the last American submarine commando would take two short breaks when submarines are the only hope of survival of the human race! The shiny clean submarine looked more spacious than a palace and the crew seemed pretty happy all the time, maby because they were all clean shaven and had feasts that could feed the five thousand. The only positive part of this film was the Family plot, where the mouther was in denial and left with a very very strong scene at the end but sadly this wasn't going to save this film, it had already sunk (im sorry but u cant have a film as bad as this without some sort of boat-sinking pun)

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

What happened? Inane telling of a great story!

Author: avatar6 from Oregon
4 November 2000

Okay, where to start! This move was a BIG, and I do mean BIG disappointment! Nevil Shute would be rolling in his grave if he saw what a fine mess they made of his classic story. There was no need for improvement (of Shute's novel). I can understand modernizing the story, to create a greater impact on today's audience, but this was ridiculous! Only remnants of the original story are present. It says "based on the novel by Nevil Shute," but rather, it should have said "the screenwriter simply borrowed Shute's premise, and generated his own story!" Utter tripe! Plain and simply, a travesty of novel adaptation. The nuances of Nevil's book that lent it charm and effectiveness were completely lacking in the movie. I felt little for the characters, as there was no true development. We see a peek here and there of each person, and with the exception of Peter, I didn't like ANY of them! It's not supposed to be like that! If we take a peek at the book, we find that Commander Towers is an overwhelmingly faithful man who pledges his life to his wife and country, to the very end. He could not fathom being with another woman. But, in the movie, what do we have? Torrid love affairs, innuendoes galore, and a Commander who seems to get past that "spot in {his} brain" awful easy! There was no struggle to come to terms with the fact that his family is gone, as in the novel AND the 1959 version. No, instead they just portray Dwight as a much more unscrupulous fellow than in the book. It's not just that, though. The character of Dwight Towers is a noble one, in the book. He has depth, character, feeling, and a soft touch with people. Not so, in this movie. I wanted to smack Armand's character so many times, I was annoyed. He was a boisterous, obnoxious, and blunt captain, and nothing like the original character. I didn't care for him at all. I even like Armand, but his acting was part of it. He craned his neck too much, talked with his lips pursed together, and generally looked like he was sucking a lemon throughout. NOT his best work! Let's see, what else? There are so many things! If you've read this far and are intrigued, I'll tell you more! The character of Julian Osborne (who was actually "John Seymour Osborne" in the book) was never on an island. I have yet to figure out what that had to do with anything!

Moira was NOT related to anyone in the story, and in fact lived with her parents on a farm. The race scene in the book was completely alleviated, although there is a hint of it in the end. The way "Julian" died in the film was MUCH different from the book, and I thought this was a big mistake. The book's portrayal was a very poignant telling, and should have been included. If you haven't had the honor of reading it, it may be tough to understand, but let's just say it was a much more powerful scene. The scenes in the streets were not in the novel, other than the garbage. The rioting, violence, sex, and so forth, are a figment of the screenwriter's imagination. I don't think it added anything. I guess they felt like they had to have violence and hatefulness somewhere.

The helicopter in the film complicated things, and made the story even MORE different. It wasn't necessary either. In fact, because of its inclusion, the departure scene had to be changed. Not NEARLY as effective!

And of course, the big kicker that angered me more than anything else? The fact that they changed the ending!!!!!! What's up with that?! Wasn't Nevil Shute's version good enough, or was it "too outdated?!" How lame is that?! HELLO! I know I keep talking about "the book said this," or "the book had that," but I'm tellin' ya'... the ending of the book almost made me cry, while this made me think "Good riddance!" It was SO insipid! Nothing like the power the book had. NOTHING! It was a bad move on the part of the filmmakers. If nothing else, they could have salvaged the ending and made at least THAT scene a poignant one. It's not that I am basing my review solely on comparison with the book; it's just that it's not even a good film. When I do think back to the book, or even the old movie, this movie just stinks! It doesn't have the potency of either. Perhaps if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't be so harsh. It's hard to get that book out of my brain, though. I have to compare just for the simple fact that this movie is supposed to be based on the book. I'll tell you that if you see this movie, you have no idea what the original story was. Very little of Nevil Shute's ideas exist. I know; you can't include everything from the book, in a movie. But, you'd think they could include SOME of it! Sheesh! The 2 hour, 1959 version with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner was FAR more accurate in its portrayal, than this! They had 4 hours to do this movie justice, and instead chose to make it meaningless drivel!

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

What's the point?

Author: ( from Victoria, Australia
10 March 2001

Will someone tell me why the US is raving about this inspid aussie TV movie? Most Australians who saw it hated it, and its a well known fact that Aussies cant make action films, we'll leave that to the americans and the europeans who make spectacular action films. On The Beach is basically about a nuclear holocaust that has destroyed most of the world except for a small part in melbourne, australia where everyone is coming to terms with their inevitable doom. I have never watched a mini series so boring, it is completely lifeless and sleep inducing. Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward sizzle? PLEASE!!!!! They couldnt sizzle up the screen to save their lives. Both Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward are hopeless in this, with laughable, feeble dialogue to match. Armand Assante who has done good work is wooden and miscast. The only decent above average actor in this is Jacqueline McKenzie, although she couldnt save it. Dont listen to the hype, On The Beach is a disaster.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

boring meaningless romantic tripe

Author: wayno-6 from United States
28 May 2000

The boring, meaningless romantic tripe added about an hour of unnecessary viewing. Updated version of "On the Beach" from the 1959 movie --

Don't waste your time with this version -- its long side tracks into the realm of romance diatribes - made this quite dull.

Too much of a departure from the original movie...

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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

bland bland bland!!

Author: tnorberg from United States
29 May 2006

If you ever wanted to see how to make a post-apocalyptic scenario unexciting, then look no further. It bears all the markings of a cheap made-for-TV movie, from the flat, over-lit look to the lethargic actors playing boring archetypes. Instead of actually showing us the world ending convincingly, or creating characters that we care about making tough choices, this Hallmark production spends most of its time muddling around with a JAG-like submarine captain and his dull crew of soldiers, as well as an Australian scientist and his ex-wife, as they suffer through trite love triangles, and sit around Australia as nothing much happens for the majority of the running time. This movie lacks both the pathos and the terror of the best end of the world scenarios. Avoid like the plague unless you are an insomniac looking for the DVD equivalent of warm milk.

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Big bad old USA

Author: cg707 from Maryland
29 May 2000

While the acting was OK, this was another run of the mill flick that infers that all of the world's ills can be traced to actions by the United States. In this one, if only the US had not come to the aid of Taiwan as China attacked, the world would be a better place. With this line of "PC" or "correct" thought, I wonder what the world would be like if the US had never interceded in WWII or hadn't brought down the Soviet Union. What a wonderful place the world would be to live in today! And of course, the US President bears a striking resemblance to "W" Bush. I wonder why?

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Depressing, long and unrealistic

Author: Don from Florida
19 August 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a sad attempt to make you feel terrible. There are many assumptions in the movie that are unrealistic. It is certainly an anti-military movie, and to some degree, anti-USA.

This movie will suck the human spirit out of you. PARTIAL SPOILER: It also cheapens life, and conveys suicide as a normal thing to do.

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