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A 1983 made-for-TV movie about Nuclear War.

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Any man left on the Rio Grande........can have this world for all that I care.

  • Oct 17, 2011
Reportedly 100 Million people tuned into The Day After when it debuted in 1983 and many had they're lives changed by it.  This tale of escalating nuclear tensions plays like a horror movie perfectly and touched many with it's very real horrors.  We see our characters, get to know them, bond with them, see they're lives and care about them all the while a ticking clock looms.  Russia is getting belligerent, now they're getting nasty, they just invaded Germany....what does the US do?  Bomb Russia to save Germany?  Talk things out?  Get our bombs in the air before Russia points they'res at us?  Such points become moot cause sure enough the residents of a rural Kansas area see ICBM's launch out of the ground, which gives the residents all the need to's time to get what you can, and get some shelter lest they all fade away.

The day after the bombs dropping has our characters all facing dilemmas and struggles.  Fallout is spreading, people are sick and dying.  Dust and ash start settling in, water and food are running out and panic is spreading.......An older doctor and his colleagues hole up in a hospital to try and help who they can and face the idea that they can't help everyone.  A farm family out in the sticks has sick children, one of whom was supposed to get married.  A college student finds sanctuary and an army soldier tries to find his wife.  Camps are assembled where the bruises and welts start to boil.  Riots break out over what food can be spared.  The Presidents only words for the country is a lame pep talk about liberty, democracy and other greatest hits.  Worse yet dead bodies start piling up and mass graves start to appear as we see the normal everyday people who might not have harmed a fly do unthinkable things in horrible times.

In spite of all of the misery and heartbreak we see......the closing words of the movie is that this is a SANITIZED view of what could be.........dear lord what would be when and if REAL bombs drop?

This movie makes so many moves RIGHT, it makes us care about the characters we see andnot making them unsympathetic assholes who we won't care about when trouble starts.  It doesn't RUSH to show the "action" it builds the suspense as some characters take the possibility of nuclear war in stride and some take it seriously and more so as things start to snowball.  The effects afterword are sickeningly realistic with injuries, and boils among dead bodies as blood runs and hair is falling out.  Characters talk about things I never would have thought of after watching dystopian action movies, like would the people kept out of the hospital hate the ones inside who kept them out?  The effects, while pretty tame are a product of the time and do they're purpose of showing us the horrors and not to make nuclear war sexy and fun.

I had always heard of The Day After but never saw it until now.  It's the one movie world that I would never want to live in, but as fate would have it, ironically it's the one I can experience one day if I'm unlucky.
Any man left on the Rio Grande........can have this world for all that I care.

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October 17, 2011
Good film and nice review! Have you seen "Hiroshima and Nagasaki"? For some reason I think it'll make a good companion piece for this movie....
October 18, 2011
No I haven't. Maybe I'll see it one day.
October 17, 2011
Sounds interesting and topical !
October 17, 2011
Oh yeah. It was made in 83, but with talk on the news about nuclear war, it remains relevant.
October 18, 2011
Read "The Last Man" by Mary Shelley. There are important parallels.
October 18, 2011
I don't read much. It's not cause I don't like to, I just never feel like it. Ironically, my next review will be a book-and it ties into things I just reviewed.
More The Day After reviews
review by . May 16, 2009
The Day After is one of the biggest made-for-T.V. movies to ever hit the small screen in the United States. This softened view of the aftermath of a thermonuclear conflict caused alarm and panic in the U.S. during the early 80's. After this film was aired many people finally realized the true horror of a nuclear war (albeit a tamed, sanitized view). No matter what this movie is entertaining and a perfect way to rattle the nerves of the uninitiated. Nicolas Meyer used what he had to create a very …
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #1
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


The ABC made-for-television picture about the results of a nuclear strike upon the United States.
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Director: Nicholas Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Fantasy
Release Date: 1983
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: ABC
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