6.9/10
5,683
105 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

Edit

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
Edit

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:

It happened in an instant. The televisions went blank, the radios - silent. The cities were gone, the future abandoned. And the only thing they have left to hold onto, is the people they love. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was endorsed by SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America). However, the production was not sanctioned by IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) though everyone was paid a union scale, no one received overtime. See more »

Quotes

Brad Wetherly: [after finding Hiroshi abandoned at home] I'd better take you home with me, Hiroshi... because I don't think your dad is coming back.
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
See more »

User Reviews

 
Probably the best of the "triumverent"
8 May 1999 | by KylenSee all my reviews

There was "The Day After," a U.S. production about as subtle as someone hitting you over the head with a bat going "Nuclear war is BAD! BAD BAD BAD!"

Then there was "Threads," the BBC answer to Day After. Gripping, yes. Also unrelentingly graphic, violent and disturbing with little in terms of acting.

Then you have "Testament," a quiet little American Playhouse production that, quite simply, runs circles around the other two. No mushroom clouds, no graphic scenes of mass destruction and death incarnate. Just simple, raw human emotion. "Testament" handles its subject manner with a surprising gentle touch, understated, yet effective. The film is the best of the three because of its subtlety. A small Californian town isn't hit by the blast, but rather the aftermath.

It works. At first, the town manages to hold together fairly well, even proceeding with the elementary school play. But then the children begin dying, then the grownups. And the film rapidly becomes a story about surviving as best you can, rather than rebuilding and going on. I won't spoil the film by revealing plot details, but there are several twists that are both subtle and heartbreaking.

This film relies on its emotions to tell the story, and the actors are up to the task. Jane Alexander is, in a word, brilliant (how she didn't win the Oscar she got nominated for is beyond me), but she's not the only one. Her children, particularly Lukas Haas and Roxanna Zal (in their movie debuts), are stunning as well, while some of the bit players make the most of what they have.

In the end, it's the gradual NON-appearance of the actors that make the point. Life will go on, yes, but for how long? "Testament" relies on the loss of those we learn to love to make its point in the best way possible: by letting us get it on our own.


67 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 105 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1984 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Testament See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$317,996, 6 November 1983

Gross USA:

$2,044,892

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,044,892
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed