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On the Beach

4.0 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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(Mar 01, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Bryan Brown, Armand Assante, Rachel Ward. A Chinese blockade of Taiwan escalates into war with America and a nuclear holocaust is unleashed upon the world. A small group of survivors in Australia try to pick up the pieces of civilization in this chilling remake of the 1959 classic. 2000/color/3 hrs., 29 min/NR/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Armand Assante, Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown, Mark Pennell
  • Directors: Russell Mulcahy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 209 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007N1JNM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,871 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nevil Shute's On the Beach is the most haunting, terrifying, and depressing Cold War-era post-apocalyptic tale ever told, and with the 2000 production it has now been successfully translated to the screen not once, but twice. Both of the film versions retain the wrenching impact of the novel, and in many ways the new 2000 version does this better than either of the earlier efforts. **SPOILERS FOLLOW** For one thing, the longer, miniseries-style treatment lets the production develop the characters more fully than did the first film, especially their attachments to one another, so that when these attachments are inexorably ripped apart by the radioactivity, the viewer feels it all the more keenly. The final scene involving the Holmes family, superbly acted (to the point that, frankly, made me concerned for the mental welfare of the child actress), is nothing short of devastating. Even though I knew the story well from reading (and rereading) the novel and seeing the earlier film, this scene caught me unprepared for its sheer force and gave me a couple of sleepless nights. Another key to the newer film's effectiveness is the relative lack of squeamishness of the modern viewer, which allowed the producers to incorporate more of the grisly details of radiation sickness into the film's imagery. One of the new movie's most poignant scenes takes place when we see, through Julian Osborne's eyes, a queue of people waiting to receive their cyanide pills, and we catch a fleeting glimpse of a forlorn and pretty young woman as she vomits. The expression of shame and hopelessness on her face is priceless and (I'll use the word once again) wrenching.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I have watched On The Beach 6 times and have ended up tearing up at the end each time. The movie which was initially created as a 3.5 TV Mini-Series and was nominated for Golden Globe - which would have been well deserved - is a joint Australian and American production that has all the good and bad parts of what makes us human in the movie. This movie is the best movie I have watched to date. I first watched 'On The Beach' on Australian television with my mum and step-dad and this movie touched me in a way no other movie has ever. Everything about this movie is brilliant. It's a movie that doesn't have a happy ending and a movie that makes the viewer think. The integral message and the theme of the movie is anti nuclear and poses many interesting self requesting questions like "How would I react to this situation or "What would I do if I knew I had a short period of life left?"

Bryan Brown who plays Julian Osborne a scientist is a great Australian actor who is well established and has great acting skill and polishes off this performance with pure excellence. His acting is superb.

Rachel Ward another great Australian actress plays Moira Davidson and is a show stealer...she has such a aplomb on the screen and her character goes through so many changes and emotions through the movie.

But my favourite character is Commander Dwight Towers who is played by Armand Assante who is such an accomplished actor and plays the role of the head actor with so much emotion. Two other Australian actors also have big roles in the movie and are secondary characters to the three mentioned. All up through and through, the acting is excellent and the casting has been well picked.
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Format: VHS Tape
It is easy to take potshots at a Made-for-Cable remake, particularly when the film remade is a cherished classic, such as 1959's 'On the Beach'. "Armand Assante is no Gregory Peck", "Bryan Brown is no Fred Astaire", "Stanley Kramer made the point better, in black and white, in an hour less time"...These are the most frequent criticisms, and they certainly have merit!
But if you take the time to watch this film, you'll find the 2000 version actually compares favorably with the original, and, in some ways, actually improves upon it. First, Australian actors are finally playing the Australian roles. This is not meant as a slap at Anthony Perkins, Ava Gardner, or Fred Astaire; Stanley Kramer casted easily-recognizable screen icons so he wouldn't have to spend much time developing character (Only Perkins has any real backstory in the film), but, by casting Americans, any Australian flavor is either diluted or caricatured. The remake is rich in character, with an authenticity that can't be faked.
This carries over to the casting of Armand Assante as Commander Towers, as well. Gregory Peck was such a legend by the time the original was made, that his character, other than the lack of acceptance of his family's death, isn't explored; it is simply Peck playing Peck. Assante, bull-like and clearly in charge, is given several scenes demonstrating the love and loyalty he shares with his crew, explaining why his sense of duty has to take precedent over his new love with Moira (Rachel Ward) more effectively than Peck could. Assante is remarkably good in the role, as is Ward, taking Ava Gardner's role from the original.
The remake takes a much harder-edged view of a civilization facing death.
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