7.1/10
12,542
170 user 37 critic

The Day After (1983)

The effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Writer:

Edward Hume
Reviews
Popularity
1,650 ( 72)

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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Robards ... Dr. Russell Oakes
JoBeth Williams ... Nurse Nancy Bauer
Steve Guttenberg ... Stephen Klein (as Steven Guttenberg)
John Cullum ... Jim Dahlberg
John Lithgow ... Joe Huxley
Bibi Besch ... Eve Dahlberg
Lori Lethin ... Denise Dahlberg
Amy Madigan ... Alison Ransom
Jeff East ... Bruce Gallatin
Georgann Johnson ... Helen Oakes
William Allen Young ... Airman Billy McCoy
Calvin Jung Calvin Jung ... Dr. Sam Hachiya
Lin McCarthy ... Dr. Austin
Dennis Lipscomb ... Reverend Walker
Clayton Day Clayton Day ... Dennis Hendry
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Storyline

The frightening story of the weeks leading up to and following a nuclear strike on the United States. The bulk of the activity centers around the town of Lawrence, Kansas. Written by Anthony Ventarola <theventman@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They told us it would be impossible to make this movie. They told us it would be impossible for you to watch it. We hope nothing is impossible. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dagen efter See more »

Filming Locations:

De Soto, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ABC Circle Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unable to get permission to use U.S. Department of Defense stock footage of mushroom clouds (although able to get stock footage of Minuteman III ICBM test launches), producers were forced to re-create mushroom clouds using visual effects. See more »

Goofs

The scene from the SAC Airborne Command Post where information about the incoming Soviet attack is being relayed shows an Air Force officer reporting, "Missile Warning, this is Beale: confidence is high; I repeat, confidence is high." Previously, in the scene where the Missile Combat Crew was discussing the U.S. ICBM launch, one of the officers had mentioned that the Soviets had already hit "two of our radar warning stations...Beale Air Force Base in California and somewhere in England." Beale could not have been sending the data if it had already been taken out. See more »

Quotes

Helen Oakes: My God. It's 1962 all over again. The Cuban Missile Crisis. Do you remember Kennedy on television, telling Khrushchev to turn his boats around?
Dr. Russell Oakes: "Full retaliatory response." He didn't bat an eye.
Helen Oakes: We were in New York, in bed... just like this, remember? 118th street.
Dr. Russell Oakes: Meatball sandwiches from Sharky's.
Helen Oakes: Your last year's residency. I swear we that made Marilyn that night.
Dr. Russell Oakes: We got up, went to the window to look for the bombs.
Helen Oakes: It didn't happen. It's not going to happen now.
Dr. Russell Oakes: Nah. People are crazy, but ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Brazilian (South American) version is re-edited. Most of the military stock footage is removed, while many of the other scenes are extended. This version is more intense with added scenes of burn and radiation sickness victims. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's later than you think
15 April 2003 | by govegoveSee all my reviews

If you think this movie's theme is outdated, think again. The Doomsday Clock has moved ahead three times since the end of the Cold War. From a press release: "Chicago, February 27, 2002: Today, the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the minute hand of the `Doomsday Clock,' the symbol of nuclear danger, from nine to seven minutes to midnight, the same setting at which the clock debuted 55 years ago. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this is the third time the hand has moved forward."

I watched this movie again a few weeks ago, after seeing it on TV as a ten-year-old kid. While some of the story-lines were painful (e.g. the soon-to-be-wed farmer's daughter whining when dad caught her sneaking off to have sex) this was a well-done movie showing the effects of nuclear war on middle america.

While maybe you can knock this for it's dramatic quality, I think it holds together as an honest story. Some of the criticisms I've read below don't hold together. The story *is* clear about the effects that happen at different distances from ground-zero. The Russians nailed Kansas because of the missile silos there. And it is honest about human nature: in the aftermath lots of people help, like the doctor, but others kill for food or land and there's plenty of panic and anger to go around.

This movie made an impression on me when I saw it as a kid and also now as an adult. And for those out there knocking it--remember this: The Day After made the people of the United States realize what kind of horrible toys their leaders are dealing with. It sparked the movement against nukes. We need a similar movement today--because people have forgotten, or don't think nuclear weapons are a threat. But the United States is now researching new, tactical nukes which, if smaller, will still result in fallout poisoning people unlucky to be in the neighborhood. Just like the kids in Iraq that get to breath the Uranium dust from our tank-busting weapons.

I wish we had more movies like this, and like _Traffic_, that bring painful realities to life and make people think.


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