6.5/10
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9 user 9 critic

Ground Zero (1987)

PG-13 | | Action, Drama, Mystery | 1 October 1987 (USA)
A second generation cameraman in Australia finds evidence that his father had filmed a nuclear test that allowed aboriginies to be exposed to and killed by radiation. He begins a search for... See full summary »
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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Friels ... Harvey Denton
Jack Thompson ... Trebilcock
Donald Pleasence ... Prosper Gaffney
Natalie Bate Natalie Bate ... Pat Denton
Burnham Burnham ... Charlie
Simon Chilvers ... Commission President
Neil Fitzpatrick Neil Fitzpatrick ... Hooking
Bob Maza Bob Maza ... Walemari
Beverley Dunn Beverley Dunn ... Commisioner #1
Alan Hopgood Alan Hopgood ... Commisioner #2
Peter Cummins Peter Cummins ... Ballantyne, Australian Veteran
Brian James Brian James ... Vice-Adm. Windsor
Bob Hornery ... Meteorologist
Steve Dodd Steve Dodd ... Freddy Tjapalijarri
Alfred Austen Alfred Austen ... Aboriginal Elder
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Storyline

A second generation cameraman in Australia finds evidence that his father had filmed a nuclear test that allowed aboriginies to be exposed to and killed by radiation. He begins a search for a secret that if true, his government has already killed people to keep quiet. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

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Taglines:

One man holds the key to the hottest secret in our history See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Trivia

The bush and outback locations were filmed in the environs of Coober Pedy in far northern South Australia which to the chagrin of the production became unusually less arid and much more greener after the location recce to survey the Australian desert locales. See more »

User Reviews

 
background to this movie
2 October 2006 | by daveappsSee all my reviews

I'm surprised to find that this film has been seen (and appreciated) in America. It wasn't all that successful in Australia, most people felt (like me) that it was a great plot idea let down by the writing (I also found Colin Friels' performance a little flat - and I thought the film went a bit heavy on the anti-American angle).

However, these reviewers don't seem to quite know the background to the film. Britain's first atom bomb was tested on Monte Bello island in the Indian Ocean in 1956, but the next series of tests were carried out at Maralinga in the South Australian desert, at the invitation of the Australian government. There was nothing secret about this, the government actually used the tests to promote itself as looking after Australia's security. Sounds very familiar! At the time the movie was made (1987), there was a big issue over the radiation levels that Australian troops had been exposed to during the tests, and the effects on their long-term health (much the same as for US troops during the Nevada tests.) There were also questions raised about how much effort had gone into evacuating the local Aborigines from the area both before and after the tests. This is the issue that forms the background to the movie, but it is really about drawing parallels between Australian subservience to Britain in the 50's and to the USA in the 80's, and just how much this is really in Australia's interest.

The debate back then was over the US satellite facilities at Pine Gap, today it is over support for the war in Iraq. The movie should have been topical and relevant, then and now, but it isn't because it is done with such a heavy hand. The scene where Colin Friels and Donald Pleasance are suddenly ambushed by US troops in the middle of the Outback is just stupid. The scene where he is making the hot dog commercial is supposed to be about the domination of American culture, but it doesn't work either. The line where he is talking to the rat in his kitchen when he gets home, probably looked good on paper, but should have been cut from the movie. The final scene should be brilliant, but isn't. When Colin Friels says, 'Hey, wait a minute...' he shouldn't say anything! His face should say it all.

My opinion - this film isn't great, but it could have been, which is why I found it so disappointing. Close, but no banana - damn, another Americanism!


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biljett till helvetet See more »

Filming Locations:

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD7,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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