6.9/10
5,715
108 user 32 critic

Testament (1983)

The life of a suburban American family is scarred after a nuclear attack.

Director:

Lynne Littman

Writers:

Carol Amen (based on the story "The Last Testament" by), John Sacret Young (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Alexander ... Carol Wetherly
William Devane ... Tom Wetherly
Rossie Harris ... Brad Wetherly (as Ross Harris)
Roxana Zal ... Mary Liz Wetherly
Lukas Haas ... Scottie Wetherly
Philip Anglim ... Hollis
Lilia Skala ... Fania
Leon Ames ... Henry Abhart
Lurene Tuttle ... Rosemary Abhart
Rebecca De Mornay ... Cathy Pitkin
Kevin Costner ... Phil Pitkin
Mako ... Mike
Mico Olmos Mico Olmos ... Larry
Gerry Murillo Gerry Murillo ... Hiroshi
J. Brennan Smith J. Brennan Smith ... Billdocker
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Storyline

Nuclear war in the United States is portrayed in a realistic and believable manner. The story is told through the eyes of a woman who is struggling to take care of her family. The entire movie takes place in a small suburban town outside San Francisco. After the nuclear attack, contact with the outside world is pretty much cut off. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Imagine a day like any other. The children are fighting, the refrigerator is humming. Highways are jammed, playgrounds are filled. Everything is perfectly normal... For the very last time. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on a short story written by Carol Amen of Sunnyvale, California. It came to her in a nightmare that woke her out of her sleep, and she spent the rest of the night writing it. Several publications turned it down for its dark tone, but it was eventually published by St. Anthony's Messenger. See more »

Quotes

Carol Wetherly: [Carol recalls in her diary how she and the kids found Scottie's maple sapling dead from radiation exposure] ... Scottie's tree... I can't write today.
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Connections

Features Workout (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello! Ma Rag Time Gal!
(1899) (uncredited)
(Also called "Hello! Ma Baby")
Written by Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson
Performed by William Roberts
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
Devastating
5 October 2003 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

This small film from 1983 might actually be more emotionally devastating than "Schindler's List" because it presents us with a horrific "what-if" scenario that I imagine scared the be-jesus out of viewers in the Cold War era that it was made and will send shivers down the spine of anyone who watches it today. The threat of nuclear holocaust may not be so looming now, but the threat of bio-terrorism or any other level of terrorist attack or all out war is very real in the post 9/11 era. This film is so stark and intimate that it really doesn't matter what these people are dying from (it could just as easily be biological warfare as it is nuclear fallout). I was so deeply effected by this film's portrayal or one family in one small California town getting cut off from the rest of civilization (which we can only assume is in the midst of WWIII) and slowly falling apart while one by one loved ones succumb to nuclear radiation that I couldn't watch it all. I had to flip the channels to watch a few minutes of "The Simpsons" before I turned back to watch the end. This is possibly the most depressing film ever made. Jane Alexander running frantically around the house searching for her youngest son's favorite stuffed animal and refusing to bury his body (wrapped in bedsheets) in the backyard until she found it is so heartbreaking that it made me sick. As such, this is the film that every politician the world over should watch before declaring any kind of war. War is not about winning or losing or politics or doing what it right, war is about the death of our children. Everyone needs to be reminded of that before making the war cry. In the end we all die.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1984 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Testament See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$317,996, 6 November 1983

Gross USA:

$2,044,892

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,044,892
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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