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Author Topic: "The Day After" tele-film (1983)
Nostalgic for the '80's
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As a kid back in Fall '83, I started to watch "The Day After", but my parents wouldn't let me finish this due to the graphic nature of the tele-film (I remember getting up to the point where Jason Robards & his daughter were in the museum). I wasn't happy about this at the time, but apparently other kids had the same experience - so I wasn't the only one.

A while back, I finally sat down & watched the entire film on DVD.....I found TDA an extremely disturbing, horrific, and graphic film - I'm actually surprised that it came out on network TV at the time, due to the nature of the story/effects - if it had been in the theater, I'm sure it would have been rated R. It definitely seemed more like a big-budget, expensive Hollywood film than a TV movie.

This film did a good job of depicting what may have happened had there been a catastrophe like this back in the day; the scenes of people being incinerated in the blast(s) were quite chilling; also horrible were the scenes of destruction, & the bodies - especially the ones that had been flash-fried/charred but still intact -were quite grotesque. However, what really got me were the scenes of people dying of radiation poisoning - truly unnerving & horrific.

I felt the story was quite well-done as well, and understandably focused on those who were in the mid-west at the time (near the missle silo). I was also surprised that this tele-film had a lot of "big names", even by '83 standards - i.e. Jason Robards, Jobeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg - IIRC, all of them had been in theatrical films in the '70's and/or '80's, which made me surprised that they were in a TV movie at the time.

This was definitely an anti-war film, though at the time I didn't realize this.

It's also worth noting that the film-makers put a caveat at the end of the film - stating that if something like this were to happen, it would be much worse than what was depicted on-screen.

In closing, I'm actually glad I never saw this as a kid - it would have probably given me nightmares. Plus, the threat of n. war in the '80's was huge, and so the possibility of this happening was at the forefront of everyone's mind at the time.

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Crash
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Extraordinarily bleak, impressive, and unforgettable film. I still remember watching it on my small TV when I was in school. Nicholas Meyer is a man of many hats--writer, producer, and director, most famously for Star Trek, The Seven Percent Solution, and Time after Time--and this is one of his best works as a director.
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Logan 5
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The Day After was an extremely bleak and memorable TV movie.

In the UK about a year later, the BBC aired a kind of UK based far more bleak version of a similar story. It caused a bit of an upset at the time. It was called 'Threads'. If you want to watch something before bed that will stop you sleeping - that will do it!

Combine 'The Day After' with 'Threads' and 'When the Wind Blows' (a cartoon about an elderly couple trying to carry on with life after a nuclear war) for a truly depressing evening

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Crash
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The perfect double feature with short to clear a room of stragglers after a party! (I used to use The Beast of Yucca Flats, but your suggestion is better.)
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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quote:
Originally posted by Logan 5:
In the UK about a year later, the BBC aired a kind of UK based far more bleak version of a similar story. It caused a bit of an upset at the time. It was called 'Threads'. If you want to watch something before bed that will stop you sleeping - that will do it!

Combine 'The Day After' with 'Threads' and 'When the Wind Blows' (a cartoon about an elderly couple trying to carry on with life after a nuclear war) for a truly depressing evening [/QB]

Thanks for the reminder re: the BBC TV movie "Threads" - superb, and even better than "The Day After" - I felt Threads deserved it's own thread (pun not intended) so I just created this.

I have not seen "When the Wind Blows", but have heard a lot about it over the years. I would definitely like to check this out, if I can find this on home video. I like realistic cartoons, so this definitely sounds interesting.

Another US film worth seeing is "Testament" (1983), starring Jane Alexander as a mother who is trying to keep her family to together after a devastating attack.

Not surprisingly, all of these movies are difficult to get ahold of these days - I think they've all been released to DVD, but if so the disks are all long OOP. Not surprising, given the age of all of these (about 30 years old, if not more) & the bleak subject matter.

[ 21. March 2017, 07:04: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]

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Logan 5
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Testament is a good one, if a little more sanitised.

'When the Wind Blows' is by Raymond Briggs who is famous in the UK, and at the time was very well known for the bittersweet perennial Christmas classic 'The Snowman'. People were shocked by it at the time. Bowie recorded the theme song.

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Nostalgic for the '80's
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quote:
Originally posted by Logan 5:'When the Wind Blows' is by Raymond Briggs who is famous in the UK, and at the time was very well known for the bittersweet perennial Christmas classic 'The Snowman'. People were shocked by it at the time. Bowie recorded the theme song.
Recently watched "When the Wind Blows" - very depressing animated film, though very well-done. I probably will never see it again, though - once was enough.
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Helen_S
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Yeah When The Wind Blows scarred me for life!
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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For those who haven't seen TDA yet, the film is coming to Blu-ray later this year:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/you-can-soon-relive-your-childhood-fears-of-the-day-aft-1796982376

Here's another interesting short retrospective about the film:

https://theoutline.com/post/1918/the-tv-movie-that-terrified-america

I will probably not upgrade my early 200X's DVD, since that looks fine. However, it's hard to get ahold of these days due to being OOP.

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Cindylover1969
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Not as graphic as "Threads," but still no-one's idea of a cheerful watch.
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xchazx
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I was in 7th grade when this was on TV and I remember my catholic school having us bring a letter home asking our parents not to let us watch this show. Of course my mother went along so I've never actually seen this.
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JCU
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The film was graphic in terms of pure and raw emotion rather than gore and effects and it fulfilled its intended purpose very well which was to get people thinking. Depending on who you ask this was a time when the Cold War was at a point higher than the Berlin Blockade, Cuban Missile Crisis, Check Point Charlie Incident, etc.., so it made for the perfect time in which to air this movie.
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