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'Forget everything you just heard, and go back to sleep'
Vermithrax30 August 2002

As the phone went dead, my heart almost stopped as I watched Harry's expression.

I have known of this obscure thriller for years, and it gets better every time I see it.

'Miracle Mile' is an apocalyptic classic. As many other user comments have indicated, the film portrays mass hysteria and panic due to an impending nuclear attack. At first only Harry (Anthony Edwards) knows about it, and then tells a handful of citizens with such urgency that they have no choice but to believe him. From there the word spreads gradually, and impending doom really sets in. The streets break out into riots, and people just go absolutely nuts. All this while, Harry and his girlfriend Julie and desperately trying to get to a helicopter platform so they can escape to the extreme north. Problem is, many others have that idea as well.

Sounds a bit far-fetched? Perhaps, but the film's anticipation never seems to let up. This is an extremely enjoyable film that makes you think of your own immediate values. I mean, what WOULD you do in that situation? Would you just sit and wait for it? or would you (attempt to) flee? After viewing this film, you ask yourself these questions.

A forgotten gem that deserves the full anamorphic DVD treatment. It's an 80's movie, so it's not without it's corny moments and the somewhat cheesy format. But these things don't really matter as the film portrays panic so perfectly. If such an event (god forbid) was to actually occur, I believe the chaos on the streets would look just like the film.

I've seen some very negative comments on the film, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. But what can I say? I consider this a classic of sorts.

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The best real-time thriller ever made
justinedgar22 September 2004
Miracle Mile is one of my favourite films -I know it has its rough edges but I fell in love the first time I saw it at the University of Portsmouth film society ten years ago. I can't quite understand why though.

It belongs to the genre of suspense films called real-time thrillers -Hitchcock's Rope and Nick of Time are other examples. These are films which explore the very nature of film as a time-based medium. Usually the device is used in suspense movies, but has become popular recently in art house cinema like Timecode and Russian Ark.

The set-up is simple -after a day when he has fallen in love at first sight, Harry Washello randomly answers a ringing phone at a phone booth. The call is a wrong number from a soldier stationed at a nuclear silo. He is trying to warn his father that a nuclear strike has been launched and the US will be face a retaliatory attack in eighty minutes time. From then on, the action is played out in real time.

Unlike the aforementioned examples and the execrable 24, the real time actually works in Miracle Mile. If you sit through it with a stop watch, it only ever drifts out by a few seconds. The real time is essential to holding suspense and sympathy with the characters. Was the phone call for real? We don't know until an unforgettable moment, when the film becomes a race for survival.

There are some great, truly profound images -such as the dying Wilson scrambling up the down escalator with the body of his sister, or Harry and Julie lost in a department store surrounded by ticking clocks. This attention to detail and the bizarrely dark tone of the film elevate it to cult status. It has a soul and an individuality all of its own -can you imagine an episode of 24 ever being scored by Tangerine Dream?

This is a film about chance -the chance of Harry falling in love that day, the chance of him picking up the phone. The chance that effects us all and how we are at the mercy of it. But ultimately it is a very dark love story and perhaps that's why I like it so very much.
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what starts like a bad made-for-TV movie turns into a compelling character-driven sci-fi horror
sdsalsero3 April 2004
I first saw this movie on video around the time it was produced. I immediately liked it even though it was a bit bleak. But the late 80's were full of apocalyptic nuclear holocaust movies and this was the only one that stayed with me. Now, years later, I've just rewatched it (this time on DVD) and I still think it's a very good -- but not great -- movie.

Admittedly, there's some over-the-top 80's haircuts and costumes, stuff that would be seriously 'retro' nowadays. And the acting, particularly in the beginning, is 'obvious' and a bit tiring. But when the hero receives that fateful phone call, it all changes. Suddenly, it's like watching a stage-performance of a play, a pressure-cooker where everyone suspects everyone else and no one knows what's really going on.

In fact, one of the best parts of the screenplay is that we, the audience, also don't really know what to believe (until the very end). We watch the hero struggle with what to tell people who's help he needs: if he tells them the awful truth, they may not believe/help him; if he tells them a more believable lie, is he denying them the chance to survive or at least to die with their loved ones. Either way, both he and the people he meets turn to progressively more and more extreme behavior -- people die! . . . and what if it all turns-out to have been a hoax?

In all, I think this movie ranks as a great sci-fi film, and in the truest sense of the genre: What If. It's not about aliens or galactic empires or anything else that's more fantasy than reality. Instead, it's a situation that any of us could easily imagine and I think this is why it stayed with me all these years, why it now forms a part of the framework for my imagination whenever I find myself catastrophizing about terrorism or natural disaster, anything that could separate me from the ones I love. What would I do?
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What a surprise! After a shaky start this taut thriller really sucks you in!
Infofreak7 May 2003
I didn't hold high hopes for 'Miracle Mile'. Directed by Steve De Jarnatt who made the cheesy but fun 'Cherry 2000', and starring two actors (Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham) that I feel at best indifferent about, it starts off almost like a John Hughes romantic comedy, and your finger might begin to hover off the "off" button. But if you persevere it quickly becomes an utterly compelling thriller. It requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the movie, but once the story kicks in you really get sucked into it! Edwards is actually very good in the lead role, and the film is full of all kinds of familiar faces and character actors like Mykelti Williamson ('Truth Or Consequences, NM'), Denise Crosby ('Star Trek TNG'), Robert DoQui ('RoboCop'), even b-grade SF legend John Agar ('The Brain From Planet Arous'), and 'Reservoir Dogs' Mr. Blue Edward Bunker! This movie really seems to split people down the middle. Some hate it, some love it. I'm in the latter camp. Highly recommended!
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youreyesonly10 November 2004
The thing that makes this movie particularly effective is that it feels just like a dream. I've had nuclear holocaust dreams all my life, and when I watched this movie I felt like I was dreaming. I really connected emotionally with the main character. He's a nerd who has suddenly met the girl of his dreams, a nerdy, cute girl with glasses and a sweet demeanor, and at that precise moment the world appears as if it is going to come to an end! And he's not going to get a chance to even kiss her before the world goes poof! hey, it's bad enough to die, but to die with an unfulfilled love is truly nightmarish!

The movie is not exactly illogical, but follows a sort of dream logic, where things just get worse and worse, relentlessly, and the harder you try to run away, the slower you move. The ending is devastating, horrifying and heart warming all at the same time.

After seeing this movie for the first time I shivered for hours, and couldn't bring myself to watch it again for 12 years! Its not that I didn't like it, I just knew that if I saw it again I would lose that special thrilling fear that it instilled in me. But it was so powerful that when i did see it 12 years later I remembered every plot, every character and event. On one viewing it imprinted itself on my brain, which movies hardly ever do.

See it! And see it late at night in a dark room!

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Offbeat, intriguing
kennon4211 June 2002
I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic movies; for some reason, the thought of civilization as we know it grinding to a halt on a backdrop of nuclear bombs falling intrigues me to no end.

There are a host of movies that deal with Life After The Bomb, a whole lot more dealing with Life While Preventing The Bomb, but not very many that deal with Life Immediately Before The Bomb. This is one of the latter, and I think it pulls it off really well.

This offbeat movie chronicles a few hours in the life of a character who has just found out that the missiles are on the way.

This movie is rather offbeat; the acting is not bad, but just unlike normal hollywood acting, even despite a few familiar faces. The pacing is different, the sets are different, the colors are different. And in this case, the differences give it an edge that is quite intriguing.

The main character (tom cruise's ill-fated co-pilot in top gun) displays such an acute, personal anxiety that really grabbed my attention and really made the movie hit home.

While some of the other acting is less than stellar, in a movie like this it does not detract.

This movie really did make me think about what I would do in a similar situation. Very thought-provoking.

If you are as intriguied by nuclear war as I am, you should definitely watch this film.

8 / 10
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It took guts to make this movie
te7h24 June 2002
A story that begins like a romantic comedy and goes somewhere else. A disjointed plot, producing emotional confusion in those simple souls who go to the movies to have a piece of candy handed to them. It took courage to do this, and the result is an artistic success of the highest calibre.

The box-office story was probably not so good, but shame on those critics who helped send this movie to oblivion. Someday the Internet or something is going to bring back those few movies that stirred our emotions instead of putting them to sleep. There is no personified villain here. Time is the enemy, and The Bomb. How does it make you feel to be tricked? Maybe you deserve it. After all those countless, harmless, villains who've walked across your screen to fall like rags, here's a movie to shake you up instead. Oh never mind, just go back to sleep.
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spanky66667 July 2003
Hello there,

You're definitely interested in this movie if you've got this far on the IMDB...

If you're, like me, a child of the 80's (teenager in the 80's) who saw this movie in the cinema's with that great soundtrack from "Tangerin Dream" in it(in the middle of the cold war),than you really are going to like this movie... I was able to track down this movie on PAL VHS-Tape on Ebay(you can buy it on DVD now,zone 1 only) and saw it last night on my own again. Ok,I'll have to admit that it's dated now (look at the clothes...)but that same sad feeling that creeps slowly into your head while watching this movie is still there! I really hope with the whole of my heart that we never,and I say NEVER,have to witness the day that our chosen leaders make the same stupid mistake of launching a nuclear attack on a country like they do in this movie... This is not your typical big budget,special effects loaded action-vehicle about a full-on nuclear strike but a modest little movie about what happens to a small bunch of people that finds out by accident that their country (USA) has launched a nuclear attack against another unspecified country and are getting back what they've started....

If you have your heart at the right place,then this movie grabs you by the throat and won't let go...

On the other handiIf you ONLY like comedy's and big budget action movies(which I also like very much)then you're probably going to despise this one...

Go now and find this little gem of a movie,I know you want to...


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The Power of a Rumor
Claudio Carvalho10 October 2010
In Los Angeles, when the musician Harry Washello (Anthony Edwards) meets Julie Peters (Mare Winningham) in the museum, he immediately falls in love with her. They schedule a date late night in Miracle Mile, but the alarm clock fails and Harry misses the date and he arrives three and a half hours late. Harry accidentally hears a mistaken phone call and a man tells that the United State has just started a nuclear war sending missiles against Soviet Union and in two hours Los Angeles would be hit by the enemy back missiles. Harry seeks out Julie and frantically tries to find a helicopter pilot to leave Los Angeles. Meanwhile the rumor is spread out and brings chaos to the city.

Today I have watched the cult "Miracle Mile" maybe for the sixth time and despite being dated in the present days with the end of the Cold War, it still impresses how a rumor can be so destructive. The frantic and nightmarish story of a young man that discovers that Los Angeles will go into a meltdown in about two hours has the pace of "After Hours" of 1985. The haunting music score of Tangerine Dream fits perfectly to the apocalyptical screenplay of this unforgettable unique film. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Miracle Mile"
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Very Strange Movie
rikitiki24 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Miracle Mile" is a strange movie. It begins as a love story, abruptly switches to suspense (the phone call), swerves into unintentional comedy(the cafe scenes), and suddenly shocks with the flaming deaths of two police officers. I couldn't decide whether it was a "tongue-in-cheek" comedy or a serious drama until the police officers died. The continuing over-the-top acting pointed toward a comedy, but characters continued to die. It wasn't until the department store scene that I realized the movie was dead serious, and I was overcome with dread.

I had assumed the original phone call was a hoax, perhaps a scene acted from a movie played over the phone, and a peaceful resolution would end the move.

With the flaming gas station scene, I was confused - how could this movie end without Edward's character dying for indirectly causing deaths.

Either the director was incompetently unfolding the plot, or he was deliberately keeping the audience off balance, to emphasize the air of unreality a real nuclear attack would bring.

This movie "worked" because of it's uneveness, suddenly throwing me from my expectation of a comedy, to anxiously awaiting a satisfactory plot resolution, then being sent to a shocking realization the nuclear war was "real".
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A nuclear assault on the senses.
BA_Harrison9 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In the late 80s, I, along with a couple of like-minded friends, would frequent all night horror film festivals. Over a period of a couple of years, we saw movies featuring psychos, monsters, serial killers, zombies, cannibals, and aliens, and witnessed all manner of unspeakable ways to die, but, for me, perhaps one of the most horrifying films was Miracle Mile. It featured no toothy critters or undead ghouls and there were no lunatics brandishing power tools, but it managed to scare the hell out of me.

Starring a young Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham, and directed by the virtually unknown Steve De Jarnatt, this taut thriller is suspenseful, action packed, romantic, and heart-breaking. If you thought that Shakespeare was the last word in tragedy, then think again!

Edwards plays 30 year old Harry Washello, a trombone player who finally meets the girl of his dreams, waitress Julie Peters (Winningham). Harry arranges to meet Julie at the end of her late night shift at a roadside diner, but misses the date after his alarm fails to go off. Arriving three hours late, he calls Julie (who has long gone home) to apologise; then, as he is standing outside the diner buying a paper, the phone in the nearby booth begins to ring. Harry answers the call.

The frantic voice of a man reveals that World War 3 is imminent; nuclear missiles are on their way. At first Harry thinks it is a prank, but he eventually becomes convinced that it is indeed a genuine call, intended as a warning to the caller's father, but thanks to an incorrectly dialled number, now a cause of panic for poor Harry.

With only an hour to go, can he find Julie and escape to safety, or will they both die in an atomic blast?

As the movie's protagonist frantically attempts to locate his new love, we are introduced to several other characters who all become inextricably involved in his plight. With the clock ticking, the tension is wound to breaking point, as all manner of obstacles get in his way. And all the while, De Jarnatt toys with his audience, never quite letting on whether Armageddon is genuinely on its way, or whether Harry has got matters slightly confused.

Until the end, that is. The shocking, depressing, totally downbeat end.

Wonderfully inventive, well acted, brilliantly directed, with a great score by Tangerine Dream, Miracle Mile is a fine example of how to create a masterpiece on a low budget.
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Incredibly good plot
Fpi25 January 2006
This is actually my favourite American movie ever, and also my favourite thriller ever. I've seen it three times, and I've been blown away on each occasion. Some elements may be compared to Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, but I find Miracle Mile superior to it.

The plot is incredibly good, with much more depth than I thought after seeing it the first time - at that time I mistakenly thought it was a little flawed. The use of colours is also noteworthy.

While the movie is extraordinarily captivating overall, I think a few scenes in the beginning have a somewhat cheesy 80s feeling to them, but they're still strangely hypnotic.

One might also wish that some of the acting were a little better. Nevertheless, I see now that Anthony Edwards makes an absolutely outstanding acting performance in the lead role. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack is also excellent. By all means, don't let the movie's quite apparent weaknesses deceive you into thinking that this is just another second-rate, one-dimensional thriller.
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One in the Sea of Chaos
hellraiser724 June 2012
The main thing I love about suspense thrillers are their mainly based on what ifs. These what ifs are always based on subconscious fear of death or destruction of your life in any form that we would carry everyday. Like being charged with a crime you know you didn't commit, telling the truth but no one believes you, or just simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This what if is a big one because the worst thing than the threat of dying is actually knowing when.

This is one of the best and most disturbing suspense thrillers I've seen because it feels frighteningly plausible. The cinematography as well as effects (though not many)are great, I like the use of the Miami location in the time of night though day. I really love the score from Tangerine Dream. Though most importantly the I love the pacing and suspense where things just start out slowly then go really fast to the point you almost can't take the breath, it's sort of the dictum of calm before the storm.

The two main characters I really like, I like the fact that this couple they look like people we would pass by on the street this just makes the sympathy and emphasize level elevate because it makes us feel that what is happened to both of them could happen to us. Mare Winningham as Juile I thought was a solid significant other can hold her own in danger.

But most importantly I really like Anthony Edwards as Harry. He sort of like any other typical guy like any of us has aspirations on life and even life itself, he the kind of guy that isn't looking for trouble but as the saying goes trouble could be looking for him. I like how he reacts toward things because it feels like that is how I would react if ever in this predicament.

Everywhere around this guy there is just complete chaos left and right, you not just hoping he can survive the ordeal but be able to take control; the problem is chaos doesn't want to be controlled. One favorite cinematography shot and scene that I thought was both shocking and beautiful was Harry getting up on top of some van and he sees widespread panic everywhere from traffic completely jammed, cars speeding and exploding, looting, psychos killing people for no reason, and a lot of other bad things you can think about. In a way it shows that it's not going to be a cataclysmic event that will first destroy us but ourselves.

But I also like the chemistry between both Harry and Julie because it feels genuine, some of the things they say to each other feel like what any of us would say. I just like how despite how much chaos their both making the most of their interplay. Which makes it a little sad because these are two people that had aspirations in life, the knowledge of whats to come had robbed both of them of that. This sort of demonstrates how none of us have all the time in the world, whatever we had planned for tomorrow can be gone today.

Spend your day wisely, it could be your last.

Rating: 4 stars
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Plans unplanned
chaos-rampant20 July 2011
This is a find I will treasure, all the more because it's flawed. It has a plain TV-look and seems pretty straightforward, nothing that will pass muster for Criterion certainly, but if we learn to detach ourselves from aesthetic preoccupation and focus on meaning, we'll find it in the most inconpicuous of places. Such as here.

Imagine a fairy-tale fantasy about a man, who having stood up the one-in-a-million' girlfriend he just met, imagines a scenario of apocalyptic destruction that will permit him to redeem himself in her eyes and become the savior. When he rushes into her apartment to pick her up she is sleeping, a sleeping beauty and he the prince charming.

Now imagine this planted inside a world of chaotic synchronicity, the Los Angeles, nuclear-paranoid version of After Hours. Like the Scorsese film, this unfolds as latenight chance encounters - except at the doorstep of the end of the world. Lovely LA streets, empty, beckoning us to travel. Empty architecture, kitsch (the burger joint) or futuristic (the apartment high-rises). Clean looks, but things are delightfully askew. A gun-totting man walks into a gym and yells at a crowd of lycra and spandex that he needs a helicopter pilot (and finds one).

Better yet, consider this. The film starts with TV footage about the creation of life from the Bang onwards. Evident is a plan, a structure that births from nothing intelligent life. The actual story begins with the man finding perfect love, the soulmate that completes into one. This rare moment of attaining perfect balance in life, the rest of the film progressively assaults by showing how entropy and chaos foil the plan. There is no plan. Except it all begins with the man setting in motion the entire story of destruction, karmic or a deeper instinct of destrudo that overpowers the desire to love. Makers of our own fate.

Here the film falters, in the finale. The apocalyptic vision of an entire city in the grip of bloody frenzy is one of the most potent, better than most zombie films about the end of times ever achieved, but it ends the way it does. It's so strong it threatens to swallow everything into its black hole.

Others might like this last part more. Whatever you do, this is a sleeper you can't afford to miss. Criterion will not do the work for you on this one, this you have to seek out.
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Quite simply one of the best movies I have ever seen
archie-2610 November 2000
To anyone who has not seen this, I would urge you to try & obtain a copy because it is amazing On the face of it, it would appear to be a simple thriller about whether the Anthony Edwards character has listened to a genuine message that a nuclear strike is about to hit Los Angeles, or whether it is a hoax, and the subsequent panic it causes. However the film goes much deeper than that, dealing with the issue of fate, our own mortality, relationships with each other & the fact that the human race has evolved so much that we have the power to undo all that we have achieved & destroy ourselves.

Coupled with an amazing soundtrack by Tangerine Dream & superb acting, this is a very special film.
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Suspenseful, soulful, bizarre and believable -- an underrated classic!
sparrowtrece27 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this movie 15 years ago; then the night before last I stumbled onto it again. All I remembered was the central device of the hero answering the fatal phone call, and that it was a *real good flick*. So I rented it again...

Wow. From the moment Harry tosses his lit cigarette and thus sets his part in the unfolding drama into motion, it's a heartpounding, heartbreaking ride to the inevitable conclusion. The story's unsettlingly plausible -- who hasn't answered a ringing pay phone? And what would we do in a similar situation? All the characters are believable and mostly likable, albeit some of them strangely so. And despite the human depravity of thermonuclear destruction, it says a lot about the good parts of people -- the doomed attempt of the cop to save his partner, the way the grandparents reconcile, the return of the helicopter pilot for Harry and Julie.

At the end, I looked at my partner and all I could say was "At least the old folks got to have their sandwich before it all hit", and then I busted out crying. It's that kind of movie.
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Something that must be experienced
rp_roger10 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I know this movie will have its haters and they will have some credible reasons. I have never heard of it but its one that I stumbled upon today on TV and can not get it out of my mind now almost 12 hours later. The closing music by Tangerine Dream "If It's All Over" is both hauntingly beautiful and emotionally sad! The question throughout the story is- is the attack real, or a prank, or a dream? I won't present any spoilers but I have to admit I wasn't prepared for the ending. I was very surprised and maybe shouldn't have been. If you ever get the chance to see it do so. As I say, there are faults with the movie but overall its a thought provoking movie and on its own terms terrifying. What would you do if you believed the end of the world was coming in less than one and a half hours?

Perhaps part of my liking of this movie on a subconscious level was my own brush with death a few weeks ago in a potential drowning incident, having 60 seconds to helplessly struggle for survival and really believing I might not survive and may really have met my end. For the first and only time in my life I experienced the true panic and fear of 'the end'. Fortunatly there was an EMT and firefighter on a boat that pulled me while helpless to safety.
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The Sky Is Falling
daniel-mcgarry24 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Low budget but excellently executed suspense film. As others have said, the action begins when Anthony Edwards picks up a ringing pay phone and gets a frantic message from someone in an ICBM silo who has apparently dialed the wrong number saying the missiles are on their way. For the next forty minutes it's a case of chicken little crying the sky is falling, as Edwards single handedly starts a panic in Los Angeles that has the populace rioting and fleeing for the hills. Halfway through the movie he pauses for breath as he views the carnage he's inspired and finally asks himself "Is this real? Have I caused a panic over a prank call?" - in an attempt to verify what's happening he dials the number the serviceman was trying to connect to and is connected to a very puzzled father of an airman stationed at a missile base. Dramatic pause - yes, the sky IS falling...
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Why have I never heard of this film before?
Warning: Spoilers
How on earth did such a sublime film pass under my radar for so long? While visiting a friend the other night, he mentioned that he had just received this DVD in the post that day and was dying to watch it. I had never heard of it, but he recommended it so highly I agreed to watch it.

Wow. What an amazing film.

I had no clue what the plot was about, and I think it benefits from that. If you have not seen it yet, try to avoid spoilers and stop reading these reviews! Miracle Mile's unpredictable roller-coaster plot is probably its strongest aspect, and you would probably be well-served not even reading the video or DVD case. Unlike most other films, at any point, it is impossible to guess exactly what will happen in ten minutes time, and this makes it a delight to watch.

The script is masterfully directed, and the cast are uniformly superb and perfect for their roles. Its low budget lets it down a little in its closing moments, but it is notoriously difficult to get funding for a script such as this, so the flawed effects are easily forgiveable.

Miracle Mile is gloriously non-Hollywood, one of those weird American films that feels extremely European throughout, which only serves to add to its surreal and bewildering nature. It even has a beautiful and sad love story tying it all together.

See Miracle Mile. You will love it.
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Great Movie.
Battlebots5 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER!!!!! Still have the original laser disc version. I view this movie once a year at least. It was highly underrated. The real time aspect was unusual and kept the viewer in suspense right up to the end.

It certainly makes you ask yourself the question "What would I do if I had the information Harry had?"

Harry had it made, he was on his way to the airport to escape nuclear war, then he stops to save the woman he loves. Would you do the same or would you save yourself.

Considering the short time remaining and the long odds of making it to the airport in time after who knows how long it would take to find the girl and make it to the airport, I really don't know what I would do. Had they both remained at the heliport, they both would have survived.

The ending was sort of depressing as you wanted them to make it. On the other hand the first plane does make it off the ground before the nukes hit as the Vietnam vet pilot points out (how he knew the plane flying overhead was theirs is beyond me). If Harry had stayed on the catering truck he probably would have had a good chance with Landa or those 2 women with the machine guns.

I wish they had made a sequel so we could have found out what happened to the people on the plane that made it out. Making it to Anarctica would have been dicey at best considering they would need to refuel at least once and the people of South America might not take kindly to Yankees from America (who had just blown up the Northern Hemisphere bringing on nuclear winter) landing in their countries. But that is an untold story...
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pre-apocalyptic, underrated winner.
Sheldonshells2 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Miracle Mile is the very definition of an intense, taut film, frightening in the real-life horror kind of way. The film is exemplary crafted in the genre of suspenseful race against the clock, a clock set for apocalypse. What makes it particularly frightening and effective is that it is not so much a hypothetical situation as it is a feasible one considering the stockpiles of nuclear arsenals in the world (and there was thought to be a grave danger when only the US and Russia had such weapons). I was surprised at how heart pumping it is; it very much creates an anxious and hostile atmosphere, that is until the events in the film become outright chaotic. One of the things about the movie that makes it work so well is its realistic quality (which the actors all pull off quite well) that stirs the viewer, engages them in their emotions, and lends so much to just how frightening and anarchic such aa situation could be. Upon watching it first I remember being so mesmerized by is subtly surreal and dreamlike scenes. There are actually some great cinematic scenes to be found here, such as when the long-range missiles are shooting overhead as being viewed from the top of skyscraper, and another scene at the end where the couple are going to die trapped in a helicopter when it crashes into what looks like water after a missile struck, where the world now looks like the inside of a microwave. These are the kind of scenes that get implanted into one's memory for a long time. Other memorable scenes involve the café owner frantically pulling a gun on Edward's character, after he tells and consternates the people in the café about the phone call he accidentally intercepted, is so chillingly plausible in its likelihood, again the actors accomplishing impressively realistic responses. This movie also made me pay especial attention to how good Anthony Edwards is as a dramatic actor. Mare Winningham played her part as Edwards' girlfriend quite expertly too.

The beginning is ironic. It has the aforementioned young lovers starting a happy new life together, Edward's character being in love for the first time, and in almost no time it becomes the end. The movie leaves one feeling uneasy, for what could be just a popcorn thriller outing can have the emotional impact that causes pensive reflection on the atrocious and catastrophic possibilities that are out there. Btw, there is an excellent application of dark humour throughout the movie. This should keep those who feel a little too uneasy a littler happier.
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Miracle Mile is tense, believable, exciting and well worth seeing.
Michael McGonigle25 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers

There is no way of talking about Miracle Mile without giving much of it away. The film starts as a charming, if inconsequential romantic film about a musician (Anthony Edwards) meeting and being very attracted to a waitress (Mare Winningham). However, the subtle, slightly ominous score by Tangerine Dream clues you into the fact that this is not an ordinary romance.

Indeed, when Edwards arrives late for a date at the diner where Winningham works, he absent-mindedly answers a ringing pay phone outside and he hears the impossible. It's a frantic call from a man in a missile silo in North Dakota trying to call his dad to warn him that the USA has shot off it's nuclear wad and that the Russian's will retaliate soon enough.

Is this a sick joke? We hear the phone call along with Edwards. Is this real? Should he believe it?

Little by little, it begins to seem that the phone caller was telling the truth. What do you do then? What do you do when you know you may only have an hour left before the world is blasted away?

Many critics of this film stupidly claim that our protagonists don't act rationally. Yeah, like the first thing you'll think about is preserving our government or saving art. No, when it turns into dog eat dog, people will react to save themselves and reach out for people they love. Edwards is alone in L. A. The only person he knows and cares about is the woman he just met. I believed it when he went after her.

The rest of the film is believable to me in how the truth of the situation slowly unravels. The eventually mounting panic of the populace seems realistic. The actors are uniformly good, the filming style is excellent, the cinematography captured Los Angeles at night exactly how it looked when I visited there. The music score is phenomenal and the continuing growing tension in the film is almost unbearable.

I have lectured on this film at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I have received nothing but compliments from people who had never heard of this little seen gem.

Of course Miracle Mile has some holes in the plot, but then, we see everything through the eyes of Edwards character, so is it surprising that not everything is explained? Do you need an explanation why at three in the morning there is a drag queen and a lady dressed as a stewardess in an all night diner? In Los Angeles? Hell, you can probably find that in any major city.

Don't be afraid, Miracle Mile is a thoroughly satisfying, exciting film and completely believable, except for Mare Winningham's lavender outfit, but that is a minor diss in a film that has so much to offer. Michael McGonigle
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A true guilty pleasure...
MrGKB30 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
...at least for this wizened ol' film buff, "Miracle Mile" seems to be woefully under-seen by IMDbers, which is a shame. It's littered with known (and much lesser-known) character actors like John "I married Shirley Temple!" Agar, Denise "I was Tasha Yar!" Crosby, Mykelti "Let's go shrimpin' with Forrest!" Williamson, O-Lan "I married Sam Shepard" Jones, Robert "I've been on so many TV shows you'd be amazed!" DoQui, Brian "The Terminator took my clothes!" Thompson, Earl "I was Sarah Conner's shrink!" Boen, and others whose identities I'll leave to the investigations of the determined reader. The film's stars, Anthony "ER" Edwards and Mare "Georgia" Winningham, embody a welcome change from the typical Hollywood "beautiful people" leads, and share a great chemistry portraying tentative new lovers who ultimately share a decidedly unusual courtship. "Miracle Mile" is worth seeing for these people alone, awesome Tangerine Dream score notwithstanding.

No matter. Writer/director Steve De Jarnatt never did much else of similar note, but as far as I'm concerned his reputation is cemented by this wonderfully dark romance. Released shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the U.S.S.R., it's Armageddon time shortly after Harry meets Julie, and what fun it is to watch Romeo battle his way to the side of his Juliet. Who can help but smile at the clunkiness of what passed for "mobile" phones back then, or miss the blatant symbolism of authority figures immolating themselves with a careless squeeze of the trigger? "Miracle Mile" is b-movie wonderfulness, and practically screams for a big-budget remake (and if there is, I hope to high heaven that De Jarnatt gets to write it); it's essential viewing for all end-of-the-world movie fans, and far more entertaining than the likes of the recent remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The 2003 DVD release is sadly a retread of the much earlier full-screen laserdisc release, but still very watchable. In fact, it's not to be missed.
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Great Movie
ftapb115 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this movie when it was new(ish) at the Neptune Theater in Seattle. It came at a time when nuclear holocaust was the flavor of the day. I loved it for the uncertain characteristic, as a viewer you did not know what was going to happen. And even after watching it multiple times, it was easy to 'forget' that you knew what was going to happen because of the strength of the writing.

One of the things I got from the film was the sense of uncertainty as to whether or not the phone call was real. The possibility was that just maybe Harry's panic may have actually caused the holocaust. Unlikely, but you do not know. The attack was late, and we have no evidence that the call was real. Anyway, excellent film, one that I just bought on DVD.
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The Idiot Plot
Bneidl30 July 2003

I happened upon this movie tonight on one of the premium cable channels. I was amazed that I had never heard of it. On the one hand, I appreciate how relentlessly dark this movie was willing to be, and how suspenseful it was at times. On the other hand, however, the movie relied too often on the stupid behavior of the principal characters to create tension. Roger Ebert has often complained of the "Idiot Plot": a film storyline that would be over within minutes if the characters were not complete idiots. In "Miracle Mile," Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham create a lot of their own obstacles just by making rock-stupid, and highly unrealistic decisions. Example: Anthony Edwards wants to find Winningham and bring her to the helipad so that they can escape L.A. before the nuclear holocaust. Instead of telling Winningham what is actually happening, Edwards decides she shouldn't hear the bad news "until she has to," so instead he tells her that they are going to go on a hot air balloon ride as a sort of romantic getaway (even though it is 4:00 a.m.) That's pretty stupid. Even more stupid is that Winningham believes him. Then, when they arrive at the rooftop helipad, Edwards realizes that he hasn't booked a helicopter pilot to, you know, actually fly the helicopter. Edwards then decides that he will find a helicopter pilot on the streets of L.A., in the middle of the night, with a scant 20 minutes or so before he knows the missiles are going to hit. Better still, he decides not to tell Winningham where he is going or why (she still has no idea the end is nigh). He just tells her, "I'll be right back, don't MOVE!" Of course, we know that this means she WILL move the moment he is gone. Sure enough, while he's off looking for a pilot in an all-night gym (and actually finds one!), Winningham decides that it would be a good time to take a stroll. So, now Edwards has to find her all over again, get back to the helipad all over again, and we have to watch this whole damn process all over again, just because he was too stupid to behave like a person of ordinary competence. And beyond this, Edwards continuously wastes time in this movie when he has none to waste. It's one of those films where you are well aware that time is running out, but the main characters still stop and stare at each other longingly at inappropriate times. These two characters absolutely deserved the fate that meets them at the movie's unbelievably dark conclusion.
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