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The Day After (1983) Part 1

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Uploaded on Feb 22, 2009

Few American movies have dealt as graphically with nuclear holocaust as The Day After, which accounted for the controversy that surrounded the telefilm at the time of its initial network broadcast. In previous films, nuclear warfare was a matter for crusading politicians or military might, but here, both are kept in the background (the airman played by William Allen Young is more concerned with returning to his new wife than his duties) and the focus is fixed firmly on middle America--literally so, as the setting is Lawrence, Kansas, the near-center of the country. Audiences are briefly introduced to a representative cross-section of American life, including a doctor (Jason Robards), a young bride-to-be (Lori Lethin), a graduate student (Steve Guttenberg), and an academic (John Lithgow), before the Bomb hits nearby Kansas City. The ensuing destruction is utterly horrific, but a few manage to survive to struggle vainly with rising radiation levels and the slow, inevitable collapse of society. As a protest vehicle, The Day After is a triumph--its scenes of nuclear devastation remain the most powerful statements against nuclear armament ever depicted. It's buoyed by strong direction from Nicholas Meyer, who previously specialized in fantasy (Time After Time), and a capable cast who weather the material with grim determination.

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