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Countdown to Looking Glass (1984)

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.


Fred Barzyk


Albert Ruben
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Glenn ... Michael Boyle
Michael Murphy ... Bob Calhoun
Helen Shaver ... Dorian Waldorf
Patrick Watson Patrick Watson ... Don Tobin
Nancy Dickerson Nancy Dickerson ... Herself
Eric Sevareid Eric Sevareid ... Himself
Matsu Anderson Matsu Anderson ... Matsu Yamada
Barbara Barnes-Hopkins Barbara Barnes-Hopkins ... Mrs. Langhorn
Michael Beattie ... Youth #1
Richard Comar Richard Comar ... Pentagon Spokesman
Murray Cruchley Murray Cruchley ... James Otis
Faye Dance ... Anne Gailmore
Don Dickinson Don Dickinson ... Unger
Micheal Donaghue Micheal Donaghue ... Technician
Don Francks ... Don Geller


Docudrama uses fictional reports of a crisis in the Middle East, which leads to a nuclear confrontation between the US and the USSR. "Looking Glass" is the code word for the Strategic Air Command's control plane which is to be used in the case of nuclear war. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Release Date:

14 October 1984 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


The nuclear powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN 68) was portrayed in this movie by the museum ship U.S.S. Yorktown (ex CV 10) moored in Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina. The T-2 Buckeye jet trainer which is being towed across the deck during one of Michael Boyle's (Scott Glenn) reports is one of the Yorktown Museum's exhibits. See more »


Dorian, broadcasting from Andrews AFB, states that she is in front of the aircraft, identified a short time later as the Looking Glass. Behind her, is actually a VC-137, better known as the aircraft used as "Air Force One" when the President is aboard. The EC-135 Looking Glass was a similar 707-type aircraft, but could be distinguished by its different paint scheme than Air Force One, and it also carried an aerial refueling boom, much like a KC-135 Stratotanker. See more »


Don Tobin: Twenty years ago, I used to spend a lot of time talking about... hypothetical nuclear war scenarios with a man who was one of the pioneers in that form of prophecy... he's dead now... really believed in his craft. He said to me once, "Don, I'm convinced that sooner or later there will be a nuclear exchange - but I'm also convinced that when the leaders confront the terror of that exchange, they'll realize they can't get away any longer with playing war games, and they'll turn around... if ...
See more »

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User Reviews

Realistic, scary Nuke Scenario
9 January 2004 | by mr_hypocriteSee all my reviews

"The Day After" tried to scare us with it's vision of nuclear horror. It failed. But "Countdown To Looking Glass" worked because it fictionalized the events leading up to a nuclear conflict. You basically watch it like you were watching CNN coverage of a Middle East crisis (except you get a little bit more omniscience.) It was made in 1984 yet I can still remember scenes from it. Scott Glenn's live shots from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf were so much like Peter Arnett, John Holliman and gang broadcasting from the Al-Rasheed hotel in Baghdad during the first invasion of Iraq. The film doesn't appear to be on DVD which is a shame. This film perfectly captured my fears of nuclear war at this time (I was 18.)

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