7.1/10
12,894
172 user 38 critic

The Day After (1983)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi | TV Movie 20 November 1983
The effects of a devastating nuclear holocaust on small-town residents of eastern Kansas.

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Writer:

Edward Hume
Reviews
Popularity
1,649 ( 81)

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Photos

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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 ... 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:

The day before. The day of. The Day After. 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:

The Day After 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

One cut scene depicted two groups of students at the University of Kansas fighting each other over remaining food stocks. The first group comprised of student athletes, while the second group comprised of science students led by Professor Huxley (John Lithgow). See more »

Goofs

In the original broadcast of The Day After, one of the cast seems to be stifling a laugh. Specifically, when Willie is berating his fellow soldiers about waiting for military helicopters to relieve them of their post he makes the remark "So what are you here guarding? Some cotton pickin hole in the ground with nowhere to go?" In the original TV edit, it's clear that the actor Willie was talking to was stifling a laugh. Indeed, you can see a smile on his face just before the camera cuts away. See more »

Quotes

Joleen Dahlberg: [dog's barking] Rusty. Dad, we left Rusty out.
Jim Dahlberg: We may be down here a long time. There's not going to be enough food and water for Rusty.
Joleen Dahlberg: You mean he's just going to die out there?
See more »

Crazy Credits

[After movie has ended, before end credits.] The catastrophic events you have just witnessed are, in all likelihood, less severe than the destruction that would actually occur in the event of a full nuclear strike against the United States. It is hoped that the images of this film will inspire the nations of this earth, their peoples, and leaders to find the means to avert that fateful day. See more »

Alternate Versions

First broadcast without commercial interruption after the nuclear attack sequence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blackcatloner: How You Doin'? (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A good film - critics are missing the point.
2 July 2002 | by germanmanSee all my reviews

I first saw the film as a high school student attending a Department of Defense school in Germany in the early 1980's. The film was shown in school and it scared the bejeeezus out of me and many of my fellow students. We were dealing with Red Army Faction terrorism, car bombs, bomb threats at school and only a few hundred miles from the border to East Germany. The concepts were quite accurate: if the eastern bloc came over the border, then the ONLY NATO response could be to fight a delayed retreat, blowing up roads and bridges as the US and Nato forces were pushed back and most of Germany would have fallen to the Eastern Bloc before any offensive action could have been taken. The scenario leading to the nuclear attacks are quite real and plausible.

The critics say the film was not graphic enough (they prefer things like Threads) or too graphic (prefering more subtile films like Testament ). There is no need to be totally graphic and accurate in portraying the events. Yes, we know it would be worse. But the goal is not to gross everyone out. We want younger audiences to see the film too - and that would never happen with something like theads. Likewise, a mored emotional but action lacking film would not draw in the audiences. The purpose was to 'get the point accross' and I think it did that very successfully - bad acting, flubbed lines, stock footage and all. It showed enough of the circumstances surrounding the events for those who had some education in things could recognize issues and say,"Yes thats right" while not being overly graphic so that only adults could see it.

If you want to see an action movie about nuclear war or you want to see a touchy-feely emotional treatment of the losses due to war - this film is not for you. The purpose of this film is to show what nuclear war may be like (in a very superficial way) and to remind everyone that it must NEVER happen again. Back in the early 1980's with the Soviets under a rotating leadership of old hardliners and the US with Ronny talking smack - the threat was very real and the reality check this film delivers was needed. It doesn't play as well in the year 2002 - but you must remember when a film was made when you see it.


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