7.0/10
12,832
172 user 38 critic

The Day After (1983)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Movie 20 November 1983
The effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Writer:

Edward Hume
Reviews
Popularity
1,238 ( 297)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Robards ... Dr. Russell Oakes
JoBeth Williams ... Nurse Nancy Bauer
Steve Guttenberg ... Stephen Klein (as Steven Guttenberg)
John Cullum ... Jim Dahlberg
John Lithgow ... Joe Huxley
Bibi Besch ... Eve Dahlberg
Lori Lethin ... Denise Dahlberg
Amy Madigan ... Alison Ransom
Jeff East ... Bruce Gallatin
Georgann Johnson ... Helen Oakes
William Allen Young ... Airman Billy McCoy
Calvin Jung Calvin Jung ... Dr. Sam Hachiya
Lin McCarthy ... Dr. Austin
Dennis Lipscomb ... Reverend Walker
Clayton Day Clayton Day ... Dennis Hendry
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Storyline

The frightening story of the weeks leading up to and following a nuclear strike on the United States. The bulk of the activity centers around the town of Lawrence, Kansas. Written by Anthony Ventarola <theventman@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beyond Imagining... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day After See more »

Filming Locations:

De Soto, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ABC Circle Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original telecast, the ending disclaimer had a paragraph that been omitted from all home video version of the film: "In it's [sic] presentation ABC has taken no position as to how such an event can be initiated or avoided." See more »

Goofs

In the establishing shot scene of the SAC Airborne Command aircraft, after the missile launches, the aircraft appears to be a KC-135 Stratotanker, due to the prominent aerial refueling boom under the tail. However, the EC-135 "Looking Glass" also had an aerial refueling boom. Following its mission, the EC-135 had the ability to refuel the next aircraft sent up to relieve the previous crew. See more »

Quotes

Denise Dahlberg: They give me this ribbon to wear... but I haven't got any damn hair to put it into.
[Stephen takes off his baseball cap to reveal that he has no hair left at all]
Stephen Klein: You look great.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[After movie has ended, before end credits.] The catastrophic events you have just witnessed are, in all likelihood, less severe than the destruction that would actually occur in the event of a full nuclear strike against the United States. It is hoped that the images of this film will inspire the nations of this earth, their peoples, and leaders to find the means to avert that fateful day. See more »

Alternate Versions

The German EuroVideo DVD runs 115 min. See more »

Connections

Featured in Shelter: Remembering 'The Day After' (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Still Scary
12 March 2001 | by sora-2See all my reviews

This movie aired recently on the USA network and I saw it for the first time since I was ten years old. Although I did not find myself experiencing nightmares when I went to bed that night, as I did seventeen years ago, I still found the movie's message delivered clearly and with solid dramatic impact.

Upon close analysis, there are flaws, both technical and on the creative end. The post-bomb world seems far too well-lit at times in light of the "nuclear winter" theory. And (as the film's disclaimer says) the actual results are much, much grimmer. Seven years ago I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the photos, accounts and newsreel footage taken of those who survived are absolutely horrifying.

Some of the plot point devices and characters seem far too constructed (or perhaps outright contrived): Steve Guttenberg and his girlfriend and their tearful reunion, the dying doctor played by Jason Robards returning to the ruins of Kansas City for a final farewell to his home (and wife who died in the explosion). But the acting is strong, and Nicholas Meyer's largely low-key direction (often with no music) hammer home what is the film's message - loss. Not just the typical message that everyone loses in (nuclear) war, but illustrating what would be lost: loved ones, your home, your way of life, simple human dignity. And that it would be lost forever. For me, one of the most chilling lines is when Steve Guttenberg says to his girlfriend, "There's not going to be any phones."

Haunting.


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