Panic In Year Zero 1962 NR

Amazon Instant Video

(43) IMDb 6.7/10
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After Los Angeles is demolished by a nuclear attack, looting and robbing run rampant. Seeking shelter from the chaos, a family hides out in an isolated fishing cabin only to find that the chief danger comes from a a band of vilent, crazed juvenile delinquents.

Starring:
Ray Milland, Jean Hagen
Runtime:
1 hour, 33 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction, Thriller, Horror
Director Ray Milland
Starring Ray Milland, Jean Hagen
Supporting actors Frankie Avalon, Mary Mitchel, Joan Freeman, Richard Bakalyan, Rex Holman, Richard Garland, Willis Bouchey, Neil Nephew, O.Z. Whitehead, Russ Bender, Andrea Lane, Scott Peters, Shary Marshall, Byron Morrow, Bud Slater, Kelton Crawford, Ralph Clanton, Paul Gleason
Studio MGM
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is probably the best movie ever made about World War Three. Made in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, Panic in Year Zero is the story of a family which luckily leaves Los Angeles the morning before the city, and the nation, are attacked by hydrogen bombs. The film is their story of survival. Society breaks down, ammunition becomes the only currency, and survival is the order of the day.

This film, as other reviewers note, has nothing in the way of special effects. Nevertheless, this is an engrossing film with pretty good acting, and the viewer truly gets a feeling of what a nuclear war might have been like for the survivors. The "official war bulletins" that punctuate the movie sound real, and really add to the sense that a nuclear holocaust has taken place. I have seen several films about nuclear war, but this one remains my favorite even after all of these years.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I love this movie! I remember seeing it years ago as a kid and then got to watch it again 30 years later. Although it's a black & white "B" movie made in the early 60's, I think the characters, plot and dialog are really good. I like the non-victim mentality of the main characters. I think the story line was well thought out and always left me thinking what I would do if I was in a similar situation and I always liked optimistic endings. It doesn't have all the special effects, stunts and foul language you see in today's movies, which I also like.
It can give you a good view of the mind-set of the pop culture during the cold war era.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on January 24, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Science fiction thrillers of the Cold War era tended to be grim reminders that man's stay on earth was at best a tenuous affair. PANIC IN YEAR ZERO asserts that when the chips are down in a nuclear holocaust even so-called 'good' folks are more likely to loot and steal than they would like to think. Ray Milland, who both stars and directs, hits just the right note of grim realism in front of and behind the camera. Milland is Harry Baldwin, a solid, middle class type who takes his wife (Jean Hagen), his son (Frankie Avalon) and daughter (Mary Mitchell) on a cartrip from their home in Los Angeles to the countryside when the Big Bomb falls. LA is devastated, though we see it only obliquely as a huge mushroom cloud and hear about it through their car radio. PIYZ is not a big budget film, and its special effects are non-existent. Yet, not for one moment does the viewer doubt the reality of the atomic war. Milland, with his weary face and stark grasp of reality, carries the film as he is in nearly every scene. He knows that the strands that hold society together are fragile, and the Bomb has severed them, possibly forever. As director, Milland sets up the viewer to accept the bruising of human decency as he places himself as an actor in several minor yet revealing scenes that point out, more to the audience than to him, that law and order ultimately reside in the barrel of a gun. The race for survival falls to those who can make the necessary mental adjustment. Part of the queasy feeling that PIYZ is so rich with is that humanity is held together only by the most fragile of mutual consents. The opportunity for some savage wilding is apparently too irresistable for many.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Heather L. Parisi on January 8, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
IN A NUTSHELL - WHAT IS "PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO"?

Really, this film is all about how a relatively-normal, middle-class, Southern California family reacts to the sudden stark and bleak reality of a nuclear attack. The point is subtle, but this could be happening to us, literally any of us.

WHAT IT IS:

Ray Milland (who stars and directs) is Harry Baldwin, husband and father. He is about to be handed the biggest possible surprise an hour after embarking on a family vacation with his wife, Ann [Jean Hagen], and his teenage kids, Rick [Frankie Avalon] and Karen [Mary Mitchell]. Behind their 1962 Mercury Monterrey, they towed a travel trailer. They were all set to go fishing and they were on their way ---- UNTIL!!!!

When the bombs go off, the film's saga takes off and their family outing, not unlike one any of us might undertake, takes a decided detour into the twilight zone. Everything about Harry Baldwin stays on the same even keel, but his actions are incredibly responsive to the fast-changing societal conditions. While all his actions, though increasingly drastic and ever more overtly violent, may seem justified based on what he was facing at the moment, the easy way this otherwise-decent family man descended to address the jungle in which he was being steeped was frightening. Could this happen to us as well?

DVD versus the VIDEO:

NO CONTEST! The video is a "Pan and Scan" with a so-so transfer of audio and video. The DVD is full widescreen and is an "MGM Midnite Movies" release with a terrific dual-layer transfer. There are scenes in the video where it appears people are missing, like in the back of the Mercury we can't be sure Karen was actually in all the shots, until now on WS DVD.
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