7.2/10
12,072
184 user 46 critic

On the Beach (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | 17 December 1959 (USA)
After a global nuclear war, the residents of Australia must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months.

Director:

Stanley Kramer

Writers:

John Paxton (screenplay), Nevil Shute (novel)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Cmdr. Dwight Lionel Towers
Ava Gardner ... Moira Davidson
Fred Astaire ... Julian Osborn
Anthony Perkins ... Lt. Peter Holmes
Donna Anderson ... Mary Holmes
John Tate John Tate ... Adm. Bridie
Harp McGuire ... Lt. Sunderstrom
Lola Brooks Lola Brooks ... Lt. Hosgood
Ken Wayne ... Lt. Benson
Guy Doleman ... Lt. Cmdr. Farrel
Richard Meikle Richard Meikle ... Davis
John Meillon ... Ralph Swain
Joe McCormick Joe McCormick ... Ackerman
Lou Vernon Lou Vernon ... Bill Davidson
Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan ... Dr. King
Edit

Storyline

In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IF YOU Never See Another Motion Picture In Your Life You Must See ON THE BEACH See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film had its world premiere on Dec. 17, 1959, in more than 20 cities worldwide, including Moscow. It was the first time an American film had had a premiere in the Soviet Union. The special premiere in Moscow was held at a workers' club, with 1200 Soviet dignitaries, the foreign press corps and diplomats including US Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson attending. Gregory Peck and his wife traveled to the Soviet Union for the premiere. See more »

Goofs

At the Holmes' party, Dwight asks Moira about Julian, saying, "I take it that he's English and that he's here on some kind of scientific job", and later on, during the sub's cruise, Julian tells Peter he'd been in San Francisco "once on the way down", presumably from England. All this makes it appear that Julian has not been in Australia long and had not intended to stay before the war broke out. But why then does he appear to be friends of long standing with so many people (such as the party guests), not to mention his having had an apparently long-ended love affair with Moira? See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dwight Towers: Prepare to surface.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The following acknowledgment appears in the opening credits: "We acknowledge with appreciation the assistance given by the Royal Australian Navy and, in particular, by the officers and men of H.M.A.S. Melbourne and H.M.S. Andrew." See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Fred Astaire (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand up Stand Up for Jesus
(uncredited)
Words by George Duffield Jr.
Music by George J. Webb
See more »

User Reviews

 
a great human drama
20 May 1999 | by rupieSee all my reviews

The Cold War aspects of this movie may be a bit dated, but for those of us of a certain age it is a reminder of the fears we lived under at that time. In retrospect, it may be that Julian was wrong: it may have indeed been the very presence of these terrible weapons that prevented a third world war.

In any case, that aspect of the story never overshadows the movie's underlying theme, which is, rather, how each of us views the sum of our lives as our mortal end approaches. Are we alone? Have we connected with anyone? Have we failed? Have we loved? Have we been loved?

Color would have been all wrong for this essentially b&w story. Superb performances from Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and the pre-Norman Bates Anthony Perkins. A fine bit as well by John Tate as the old admiral("to a blind, blind world").

A mere cold-war nuclear destruction movie would leave one merely frightened at the end. The fact that this movie leaves you with an almost unbearable feeling of terrible sadness is a testament to the human power of Nevil Shute's book, as well as to the fine script and Kramer's superb direction.

One of the most depressing movies ever made, but a truly great one.


114 of 137 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 184 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

On the Beach See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed