6.9/10
5,502
99 user 31 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 »
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
Learn more

More Like This 

The Day After (TV Movie 1983)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg
Special Bulletin (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A TV reporter and cameraman are taken hostage on a tugboat while covering a workers strike. The demands of the hostage-takers are to collect all the nuclear detonators in the Charleston, SC... See full summary »

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Ed Flanders, Kathryn Walker, Roxanne Hart
Threads (TV Movie 1984)
Drama | Sci-Fi | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The effects of a nuclear holocaust on the working class city of Sheffield, England and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale, David Brierly
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

J.P. Tannen takes his three children for a vacation cruise. They usually live with their mother and stepfather, but now J.P. feels capable of taking them. Emotional tragedy strikes, causing... See full summary »

Director: Robert Lieberman
Stars: Jon Voight, Richard Crenna, Marie-Christine Barrault
Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

A detective investigates a series of killings committed by a serial killer known as "The Black Angel." He begins to suspect that it might not be just a random group of murders.

Director: Howard Heard
Stars: Elizabeth Trosper, William J. Kulzer, Shea Porter
Countdown to Looking Glass (TV Movie 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Dramatic doomsday scenario in which the Cold War fully escalates. The story is told through a live news report that follows the apocalyptic world-ending nuclear exchange between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.

Director: Fred Barzyk
Stars: Scott Glenn, Michael Murphy, Helen Shaver
By Dawn's Early Light (TV Movie 1990)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A non-NATO nuclear missile is fired from Turkey at USSR, where it detonates. Soviet response is automatic as it's seen as a NATO missile. Can continued escalation be avoided? We follow the US president and a bomber crew.

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: Powers Boothe, Rebecca De Mornay, James Earl Jones
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

A young man (David G. Brown) is bogged down by his family, farm and school life, but after the baseball coach convinces him to play, he finds a bit of comfort in the sport and ends up excelling in it

Directors: Therese Conte, Sean Roche
Stars: David G. Brown, Kevin Costner, John Fife
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A naive elderly British rural couple survive the initial onslaught of a nuclear war.

Director: Jimmy T. Murakami
Stars: Peggy Ashcroft, John Mills, Robin Houston
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Two young gamblers are on a non-stop roll, but soon the casino wants to even the odds and bring their winning streak to a close.

Director: Jim Wilson
Stars: Kevin Costner, Andra Millian, Eve Lilith
The War Game (TV Movie 1966)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Britain.

Director: Peter Watkins
Stars: Michael Aspel, Peter Graham, Dave Baldwin
The Gunrunner (1989)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.9/10 X  

1926. The Chinese Civil War. Drifter Ted Beaubien is captured and forced to witness his girlfriend's execution. He finally escapes and vows to avenge her death by taking on a deadly mission... See full summary »

Director: Nardo Castillo
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sara Botsford, Paul Soles

Photos

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:

Testament...to a nuclear holocaust See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally made for the PBS American Playhouse (1981) series. However, Paramount Pictures decided the film was so compelling that it acquired the theatrical rights and released it in cinemas. The picture though did end up screening on PBS around a year later. See more »

Quotes

Newscaster: This is San Francisco. We have lost our New York signal. Radar sources confirm the explosion of nuclear devices there, in New York, and up and down the East Coast. Ladies and gentlemen, this is real. This is...
Emergency Broadcast System Announcer #1: [interrupting with a high-pitched tone] We interrupt this program at the request of the White House. This is a national emergency. This is an Emergency Action Notification. I repeat, we interrupt this program at the request of the White House. Do not use your telephone. Telephone lines ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sex Violence & Values: Changing Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

This Is It
(1960) (uncredited)
Written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
Performed by Mel Blanc
Courtesy of Warner Brothers Television
See more »

User Reviews

 
A real horror film
1 November 2005 | by cosmic_questSee all my reviews

Forget Freddie and Jason, if you want a real horror film then I recommend this because I think it will keep most normal people awake long into the night. This film doesn't rely on gore or violence to get its message across; instead it takes the very familiar scene of a loving young family living in a close-knit town and dumps them into the harsh, harrowing realities of nuclear war where there is no mercy for either the good or the innocent.

'Testament' is a tale of what would happen if a nuclear strike devastated America and how average people, who have no military training or the like, would cope. There is no computer virus to fix things nor is there some hunky, muscular hero to save the day; people are left to fend for themselves in a world forever changed, in conditions that are unforgiving and demoralising. The film revolves mainly around the Wetherly family, made up by parents- Carol and Tom - and their three children, fourteen-year-old Mary Liz, twelve-year-old Brad and six-year-old Scottie and it packs no punches for the fate of this little group.

For a film that couldn't have had a massive budget, not only is the script of good quality but so was the acting. Jane Alexander was excellent as a Carol, a mother striving to see her family through this disaster, watching as the town around her dwindles as people die of radiation poisoning or flee for safer pastors. But Ross Harris definitely deserves recognition for his part as young Brad. Through him, we are able to see how a child would deal with such an event and how the innocence of childhood is brought to a sharp end as Brad is forced to take the role of an adult for the sake of his family.

After seeing 'Testament', I don't think I'll ever really stop pondering the issues it raised and how it is vitally important that the governments of all countries do anything and everything to ensure we never have to deal with such an event in real life. It is very thought-provoking and terrifying in a way no horror flick can be. And if you want to add to your trauma, I recommend checking out 'Threads' (the same situation only set in England and so chilling that it makes this film out to be a bag of laughs) and 'The Day After'.


28 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 99 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

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed