7.1/10
5,233
97 user 30 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)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1984 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Testamento See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$317,996, 6 November 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,044,892
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally shot as a made-for-TV movie. Paramount executives were so impressed with it that they released it in theaters as a feature. The cast sued the producers for higher pay, claiming they were paid television salaries and not feature film salaries. The case was settled out of court. 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.
See more »

Connections

Features One Froggy Evening (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

All My Loving
(1963)
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Produced by Andrew Dorfman
Performed by Mitch Weissman
Courtesy of Mac Len Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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'.


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