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Showing 1-10 of 188 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 350 reviews
on April 9, 2015
here is a movie that will scare the hell out of you, because it is based on reality. I must have watched this movie about six times now and I never get tired of, but I always have to ask myself what would go through my mind. If I was outside on a beautiful summer's day and all of a sudden you see missiles being launched out of the silos ? This is what scary about it. How would you feel and what we go through your mind if you would see this, because this could have been a reality and still can be with the threat of nuclear war, this movie really makes you think
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on April 30, 2013
I saw the previews on ABC television when this film was the talk of 1983. I was not at all primed for what I watched those next two uninterrupted hours. I remember President Reagan coming on immediately after the telecast admonishing the public to stay sober and that the country was nowhere near the stage of this film. Well, that's what politicians are supposed to say. I later read he was as shook up as everyone else. He sat depressed by himself for a long time after his private screening.
There is a denominator commentary in the film that addresses our capacity to block out reminders of our mortality.The movie does not and nor should it apologize for its transparency of just how people are : sheeple . We witness the simplified bubble-like existance of Lawrence, Kansas, in seemingly mass denial that the unthinkable could happen literally in their back yard and why not literally since a missile silo is twenty yards to the right of the barn.But maybe Im being a bit harsh here. Maybe denial is the best coping mechanism when you live yards away from a live round underground missile silo currently being checked...twice.
The story doesn't build with predictable speeches from brooding academics or senior cynics sitting on porches sipping cider. We get the story the way jaded America gets it : news flashes and testing signals from the emergency broadcasting system on TV screens in the backgrounds of various living rooms of the characters and they treat it as an afterthought...as we do. But select characters heard the breaking news about soviets closing in on Berlin and moiled over a mounting nuclear strike but not where they couldn't retreat to the comfort of the conventional wisdom of " ...or maybe they will contain it" and use those symphony tickets.

But not the audience. The director keeps the TV loud enough in the background where we can hear and discern the urgency while the girls argue over who hid the birth control pills. There was a scene where little kids were watching TV where a reporter described missiles being air-burst over "advancing soviet troops" as they showed American air force pilots running to their bombers and what were their parents doing? Walked right by the TV to go have sex! The movie explores motivations in how the mind copes with the inevitable by instinctively retreating to primal appetites like food and sex which illustrates mans deeper instinctive longing to be told what to do when a crisis hits. The whole essence of our faith in warning systems and voices over speakers telling where to hide and where to meet rides on it...that cocoon of cynical co-dependency finally fails in the face of a power that is sovereign and absolute in its destruction.

And this was pretty much how the film revealed the story to us in the first hour...through news flashes and speculative conversations between the jaded and the seasoned everywhere from barbershops to university cafeteria to country kitchens prepping for life's rare highlight: the daughter's wedding.

The second hour was not just a storm cloud of Iconic images and sounds of a population caught unprepared, it was an in your face frontal assault against our sensibilities.
1)The sounds we cherish like the quiet cornfields and rustling wheat violated by the unnerving radio squawking of " We want to confirm...is this an exercise...negative..repeat..negative. Roger copy...this is not an exercise!"
2) Downtown shoppers running in a panic horrified at the thought of not enough room in the shelters intercut with Eve setting the table while worrying is there enough potato salad for the guests. ...and then the blood scream as her husband snatches her from making the beds and carries her to the basement...she knows its over.
3) The little boy in the backyard frozen with his mouth gaped open watching a missile emerge out of that fenced off sandbox yards away his parked bicycle.
4) The disembodied voice in the chaotic supermarket yelling, "just get the canned goods...the batteries."
5) Dr. Oats listening to emergency broadcast instructions while driving alone on the expressway as gridlock clogs the opposite direction.
6) Doctors rush into the hospital courtyard to see missile trails overhead.
7) A football game in a sold out stadium. The players stop. No movement in the stands as three white smoke trails arc the sky.

Intimacy. Innocence. Healing. The winning touchdown replaced with the touch down of an ICBM in twenty minutes. All society signposts vaporized.

We are left with a slow disintegration of relationships for the rest of the film. No feel good bonding here. Again, the script doesn't let you exhale. The special effects were more implied than absolute.They didn't have to be absolute because it fit the movie's gritty saturated look of once vibrant colored reds and golds of a Kansas countryside seared into the dirty white ashen gray of an impending nuclear winter that could last six years. The director lingers the camera on scenes of suffering to where its uncomfortable and sometimes excruciating to watch. Self preservation runs amok. Man has thrown his two babies of moral and ethical facilities out with the bath water of commonsense. The rest is anarchy, sticks, and stones.

"Is there anybody there...anybody at all." The Professor asks over the CB radio as the movie ends. The film doesn't answer that question. It just takes its place as one of the great movie lines that addresses when man makes eye contact with the insurmountable...and it doesn't blink. Its been thirty years since "The Day After". The question remains unanswered.
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on April 29, 2016
Just as powerful today as it was when I first saw it. My "nuclear disaster" films on DVD are almost complete. I also have "Dr. Strangelove" (grin), "Testament," and a newly acquired crisp copy of "Special Bulletin." I still have to acquire "Fail Safe" and a few others.

One interesting sociological thought. I'm certain that the filmmakers who made these films hoped to "scare" people into supporting nuclear disarmament. But today, between the Russians, the Chinese, the British, the French, the Israelis, the North Koreans, the Pakistanis, the U.S. (and God knows who else), it's clear that disarmament never happened. Did these films "scare" anybody ... or did they just desensitize people to the threat of imminent fiery death? Will it take one or more "real" incidents to jar us into prudence? Food for thought. Just remember to "duck and cover" in the meantime (ahem).
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on December 14, 2015
I just watched this again for the 2nd time (first time was on TV in the late 80s). It has a long, slow, sort of boring lead-up to the part that everyone is really waiting for: The 300 nuclear missile attack upon the US. I must say, even by today's special-effects standards, the detonation scenes, carnage, incineration, etc. are spectacular, and do not disappoint. It goes on for probably ten minutes. Very horrific, but not gratuitously so.
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on June 22, 2017
This movie is about the disasters of a nuclear war. It also covers what happens to the people who survive in the fallout. It's an older movie from the 80s but still a good movie.
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on April 25, 2016
This is an amazing video of what it could be like if the world explodes in a nuclear war. While this was made before technology allowed vivid portrayals of a nuclear holocaust, the lesson it teaches is a powerful one. Jason Robards plays a doctor who is on a highway when all the cars stop and you see the atom bombs through his eyes. He tries to help people who are suffering. The video shows a family who tries to live in their basement to avoid radiation, and it also shows the devastation to vegetation, animal life, and it shows the desperation of humans who die in utter misery. Although it is very dated, this is a powerful argument against nuclear arms.
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on January 28, 2016
I was really glad to find this "old" movie on Amazon in DVD format. The quality is about the same as the old VHS tapes, but worth every penny. (I paid about $20 to include shipping) I had forgotten how realistic this movie was/is. Some might not agree, but I think it is on the same par as an old classic movie. I feel it is a "must see" due to the "unstable" world we live in today, similar to when the movie was made.
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on July 2, 2016
This is a classic. No it does not have all the high tech special effects of modern Hollywood. It is an eerie effective look at how easy nuclear war could happen and the horrific after effects. The history behind making this movie is also very interesting. It was a political hot potato at the time and many did not want the movie made. It was originally a much longer movie scheduled over several nights, a mini series but was cut and cut again. I would love to see the long version, but I guess it does not exist.
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on March 20, 2017
Best movie made in the 80's. Scarily accurate, more on the optimistic side though.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 31, 2013
This movie will haunt you. It could happen. We were under the constant threat by Russia for years. Each one with enough firepower to destroy the planet. Now we have to worry about Iran or North Korea or a dirty bomb. If you want to see what "could" happen, and "would" happen if a bomb were detonated in or around your town............ watch this.
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