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Def-Con 4: Defense Condition (1985)

Lenore Zann , Maury Chaykin , Digby Cook , Paul Donovan  |  R |  DVD
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Price: $47.79
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lenore Zann, Maury Chaykin, Kate Lynch, Kevin King, John Walsch
  • Directors: Digby Cook, Paul Donovan, Tony Randel
  • Writers: Paul Donovan
  • Producers: Digby Cook, B.A. Gillian, Cordell Wynne, J. William Ritchie
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059PP5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,607 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Def-Con 4: Defense Condition" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Two men and a woman circle the globe in a satellite armed with a nuclear device. The third world war breaks out, and a few months later the satellite crashes. They survive the crash but one man gets killed by survivors and the other man gets caught. The woman stays by the remains of the the satellite but is soon caught by evil punks who have taken power.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "What kind of areolas does she have?" March 3, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Def-Con 4 (1985)...does the title have any significance? I'm glad you means Defensive Condition, and the associated number is `graduated to match situations of varying military severity', ranging for 5 to 1. Def-Con 5 means normal peacetime readiness, Def-Con 4 normal, increased intelligence and strengthened security measures, Def-Con 3 increase in force readiness above normal readiness, Def-Con 2 further increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness, and Def-Con 1 maximum force readiness, or, put your head between your legs and kiss it good-bye. Just to give you a frame of reference, since its inception, the highest level achieved to date has been Def-Con 2, and that was during the Cuban missile crisis in the early 60's. Knowing that the lower the number, the higher the threat, I would have thought a film about the post apocalypse using a defensive condition level for its title would have gone with Def-Con 1, or at least 2...produced, written and directed by Paul Donovan (Self Defense, Norman's Awesome Experience), the film stars Tim Choate (Ghost Story), Lenore Zann (Happy Birthday to Me, Visiting Hours), Kevin King (Night School), Kate Lynch (Meatballs), and veteran character actor Maury Chaykin, who's probably most recognizable appearing on television's `A Nero Wolfe Mystery' series, as the title character.

As the film begins we see two men and a woman circling the Earth in a secret American defensive satellite of love (decked out with a number of nuclear warheads) called Project Nemesis (strange name for a defense satellite).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could've been worse March 5, 2005
The post-apocalyptic genre is a cow pasture a viewer must tread very carefully through if he or she wishes to emerge unscathed on the other side. On the one hand, you have the great nuclear war dramas, films like Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," the soul shattering intensity of "Testament," and the British shocker "Threads." You don't have to check the bottom of your shoe if you step in these brilliant movies. You're likely to hear a squishing noise, however, if you trod upon any number of the Italian post-apoc cheapies currently making their way to DVD. "The New Barbarians," "Escape From the Bronx," "Warriors of the Lost World," and a slew of other ripe patties boast terrible dialogue, totally unconvincing special effects, and actors who wouldn't know how to act if their lives depended on it. "Def-Con 4" sort of lands in the middle of these two extremes, sort of a hardened cow pie with just enough squish left in it to give a bit under your weight and thus cause some worry. Many of the things we see and hear in this film are terrible, painfully terrible, but it's just interesting enough to keep you watching for just a few minutes longer.

A trio of astronauts orbits the earth in a top-secret defensive/offensive satellite equipped with nuclear warheads when the unthinkable happens down below. We don't see the atomic exchange, a good idea on the filmmakers part since omitting the mushroom clouds saves on the special effects budget, but we do see these three characters watching television stations going off the air as well as see computer generated explosions on maps. One of the astronauts, Howe (Tim Choate), predictably agonizes over the fate of his family. Touching. The other two are thick skinned about the whole thing, especially the taciturn Walker (John Walsch).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Def Con 4 July 1, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
There's no denying that this is not the best of films, but despite this, I found it to be interesting to watch; filmed twenty years ago, it deals with a common concern of the time: nuclear war, and more specifically, human survival after such a frightful event. The main protagonist of the film is a crewmember of a (top secret) nuclear missle platform orbiting the Earth. Several months after the war, the craft is brough down for some unknown reason somewhere in Nova Scotia, Canada. Here they find a world that has naturally become much more primitive and dangerous, and survival inevitably depends upon adapting to this new unfortunate state of reality. Now, the movie certainly lacks a number of qualities: acting is mediocre, the screenplay quite cheesy at times, and over all the story isn't all that profound. But the movie is, like I said, interesting, because it is in a way, a reminder of the fears, concerns and expectations of what is now a bygone era. And for this reason, it deserves, in my opinions a third star.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well, at least the cover is nice. October 29, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
When I was younger, taking trips to the video store, I would always see this movie on the shelf. I guess that means it wasn't ever checked out, go figure. The cover art looked so enticing, a skeleton in a space suit, on a barren landscape with some sort of spaceship in the background. I had to see it! I finally viewed it after all these years and I have to say that it may be to worst movie ever made.
I think that the cover is possibly the best thing about it. It starts off fairly promising but it seems like the director and crew either ran out of money or drive to finish the movie. It sort of peters out in a laughable finale of scenes that make you wonder if the actors were doing this bad on purpose. If you want more enjoyment than Defcon 4, you might try poking yourself in the eye because that is a more pleasant experience than sitting through it. So unless you have had some weird urge to see it since you were a kid, I would probably reccomend you skip this one.
(I give it three stars because it brought closure to this stupid childhood urge I had to see it)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
not bad for 1985
Published 3 months ago by Emptysky1
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic B Movie and a warning about war
Classic B movie with scenes like the military truck breaking into the base just in time to stop one stars execution even though they were no were close by. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Julia Elizabeth Sloan
1.0 out of 5 stars Not that good
The movie itself was at best camp. Poor story line, poor acting, disjointed plot. On top of that the qualify of the video sound was horrible. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Foster Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok if you like c-b scifi
What you would expect from an early eighties survival movie. Covers some small community dynamics following a nuclear war. The normal fight for survival and control of resources.
Published 22 months ago by Dirk Borden
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a classic after 25 years
This is another great cult classic B movie. The acting isn't great the but the cheesey factor of it is one that you have to love for this type of movie. Read more
Published on December 7, 2009 by Michael E. Pinkston
5.0 out of 5 stars the future is here
I watched this movie numerous times and in 1987 it looked strange to me as I couldnt grasp what director was trying to say. Read more
Published on October 19, 2009 by Alex Ferdman
5.0 out of 5 stars quiting hating so much this movie rocks
If you're into realistic post-nuc war movies then check this out. This is one of the few movies in the genre that I really like. Read more
Published on January 23, 2008 by MattM (me mums says i'ma genius)
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't con yourself, this isn't a bad movie.
This movie has just moved onto my top 10 movie list. It is so bad it is hilarious. It is Canada's answer to Mad Max. Read more
Published on August 6, 2007 by Magnumpi
1.0 out of 5 stars Def-Con 4. Total Turkey, even for a B movie
This movie gets one star because the war sequence itself, from the perspective of orbiting astronauts, is actually quite intense.

The film itself? Read more
Published on May 14, 2005 by David H. Holton
4.0 out of 5 stars CONELRAD TOP 100 FILM
First off let me state that I was very surprised and entertained by this B flick. I almost saw it in the theaters
in the 80's and wish I had, instead I went to see "Blade... Read more
Published on January 10, 2004
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