25 user 1 critic

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 ... Self
Eric Sevareid ... Self
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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Did You Know?


The stock footage of the "Omani gunboat" exploding was of HMS Antelope, sunk in the Falklands on May 24th, 1982. See more »


Michael Boyle was supposedly broadcasting from the USS Nimitz, an operational, combat-capable aircraft carrier. However, a T-2 Buckeye trainer aircraft taxis past him, indicating that the broadcast was filmed from a training carrier. 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 ...
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User Reviews

Good Political Thriller
3 June 2012 | by TheExpatriate700See all my reviews

Countdown to Looking Glass is a good speculative thriller examining the outbreak of World War III. Made during the Cold War, it is rife with the tension of the period. It also gives a haunting portrait of how the apocalypse could have happened.

Through a series of news reports, we see events spiral out of control following a financial collapse in South America. We see both the televised reports and the behind the scenes debates among the reporters and their producers. The film not only has a keen eye for political developments, but also a good sense of the role of media in shaping the world.

The film also wisely avoids showing the actual nuclear exchange. Rather than imitate The Day After, which had come out a year earlier, the film keeps its focus on the lead up to disaster, heightening the tension. It is a worthy entry in the early 80s end of the world genre.

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Release Date:

14 October 1984 (USA) See more »

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Production Co:

Home Box Office (HBO) See more »
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