7.0/10
12,836
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 ... 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

Several visual effects scenes that were planned in the original script were scrapped when the production was cut from four hours to two and a half hours. Among the scenes that were scrapped were a bird's-eye view of the nuclear explosion over Lawrence, Kansas, witnessed from a 737 on approach. A simulated newsreel of tactical nuclear exchanges between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in Germany was also scrapped. See more »

Goofs

The movie does not show a nuclear winter. However, the theory of nuclear winter was developed at about the same time that this movie was filmed, and only became known to the general public after The Day After was released. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Joe Huxley: [speaking into his shortwave radio] Hello. Is anybody there? Anybody at all?
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 rare laserdisc version (released by Image Entertainment in 1995) is advertised as being a director's cut. This version runs 127mins, is widescreen in its proper ratio of 1:75:1 and has a commentary track by director Nicholas Meyer. At the time of this release full versions of the film were not readily available. So it stands to chance this director's cut is actually the same as the current mgm dvd (US region 1) as far as content and running time goes, with the exception of the widescreen format and commentary track which so far has only be found on this laserdisc. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Americans: The Day After (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A lesson with images
9 February 2005 | by sparks401See all my reviews

I was a naval aviator deployed aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) when I first saw this film. The show had aired back in the States some time before the film reels (this was before video tape decks were commonplace) were flown out to our Battle Group, so we knew that the telecast had had a big impact on the American public before we had the chance to view it.

That didn't matter. The film had as great, and possibly even more of, an impact on those of us out on the "tip of the spear" as it did on those back home. The military characters seen in the film were not actors -- they were contemporaries of ours, some even familiar faces -- so we felt a true connection to the story. The tension between the US and the Soviet Union was real and nobody knew better than we how nasty things could get in a short period of time. Even as we watched the film over the ship's closed circuit television system, Soviet military units were intent on locating and targeting our Battle Group. Our job, our daily routine, was part of the story, which emphasised the point that we were responsible for keeping the peace and to not allow events to escalate as we all feared could happen.

The reaction I remember most from this film was worry for family back home. -SPOILER- The one airman who left the silo area to reach his family before the missiles arrived displayed a sentiment that we all felt. No one aboard our ship would shirk his duty, but we all understood the sentiment that once duty is done, family is foremost in mind.

The argument could be made that the film was rife with error, but I maintain that it ultimately succeeded in what it was designed to do...make people seriously consider the consequences of nuclear war. That point was not lost on those of us aboard the Ranger at the time. While I watched the film again just recently (21 years after the first viewing), the lesson was still not lost. We may or may not be vulnerable to such a massive strike as what was feared back in the 1980s, but nuclear terror is still a very real possibility. It is as imperative now, as it was then, that we ensure that this type of calamity is never visited upon anyone, especially those about whom we love and care.

Yes, better special effects would make from some jaw-dropping images, but would that improve upon the film's message? In my opinion, no.


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