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Massive Retaliation (1984)

Three families that are best friends head to their secret retreat when WW3 seems to be nearing. The adults arrive at the retreat and must endure the stress to come while the children are ... See full summary »


Thomas A. Cohen




Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Burton Christopher Burton ... Carl Fredericks
Molly Cohen Molly Cohen ... Meghan Fredericks
Doug Santana Doug Santana ... Peter Fredericks
Alex Drude Alex Drude ... Harry Tolliver Jr.
Lisa Soloway Lisa Soloway ... Kimberly Briscoe
Jason Gedrick ... Eric Briscoe
Susan O'Connell Susan O'Connell ... Jackie Tolliver
Bill Reddick Bill Reddick ... Jim Patton
Linette Lum Linette Lum ... Jennie Chang
Alverta Harty Alverta Harty ... MCR Operator
Peter Donat ... Lee Briscoe
Sarah Bertalotto Sarah Bertalotto ... Girl Pushing Wheelchair (as Sarah Cohen)
Tom Bower ... Kirk Fredericks
Marilyn Hassett ... Lois Fredericks
Michael Pritchard Michael Pritchard ... Harry Tolliver


Three families that are best friends head to their secret retreat when WW3 seems to be nearing. The adults arrive at the retreat and must endure the stress to come while the children are separated from the adults and have their own troubles along the way. This is a great story in the fact that many of these types of movies deal in violence while this one deals in the psychological aspect of the situation. Written by Nolan Price <noas4@earthlink.net>

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Drama | War


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Did You Know?


Film debut of Bob Goldthwait. See more »


The boom mic is reflected in the window as the adults are sitting at the table on their first night at the cabin. See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to the memory of Philip Lilienthal and for Sally, Sarah, and Molly. See more »


Referenced in Psychos in Love (1987) See more »


Children of Darkness
Written by Richard Farina
Performed by Mimi Fariña and Dewey Bunnell
See more »

User Reviews

As usual, not a drop of blood
21 September 2005 | by fathom-5See all my reviews

This is no better than Testament, The Day After, or Time of The Wolf. It's just too quiet, too detached from the horror that one might expect from a film revolving around the mass-detonation of atomic weaponry. The weight of the events is turned gooey, trivial, almost into a soap-opera style drama. Try as actors might, "imagining the unimaginable" (as it's often called) leaves the viewer uneasy at worst. The reporter that traveled to Hiroshima right after the a-bomb was dropped - he was not left uneasy. He was horrified, beside himself with grief and sorrow. Those are the emotions a film on this topic should attempt to evoke. Sadly, Massive Retaliation wimps out like many before and after it. One is invariably led to wonder the reasons this abnormal structure has proved the prevalent one. Why is it, that whenever anyone wants to make a nuclear war film, and get it taken seriously, it's turned into a character study? I can count on one hand the no-holds-barred, "thermonuclear war is not pretty" type of films that have been widely distributed across America. I guess when "The China Syndrome" predicted 3 Mile Island and changed millions of minds regarding nuclear power, the secret was out: to keep making missiles and subs and bombers, don't put the "real deal" in front of the people. Make them think that it will be a mild, slow, thoughtful and sad cancer-type death. Showing the real thing, the eyeball exploding, blood boiling out every hole, organs exploding, teeth melting, ocean boiling, mountain-leveling finality of all life on earth for thousands of years thing would just upset everyone too much. Afraid, but not rioting out of sheer panic - that's the optimum mood. Trauma is not conducive to apathetic behavior, and that's what the death-merchants need from the civilian sector. Hence, the oddly maudlin nature of our mainstream nuclear Armageddon movies. What a sorry excuse for consciousness-raising fare, this tripe known as Massive Retalitation.

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Release Date:

25 September 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Days of Sunshine Past See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA

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