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CONELRAD 100: Atomic Films
DAY THE WORLD ENDED
INVASION USA
PANIC IN YEAR ZERO



CURTIS SAMSON'S Top Five Recommended Atomic Films

Paperback filmbook created by Peter Watkins
THE WAR GAME [1965]
48 min. [B&W]
Written and Directed By Peter Watkins


The first psuedo-documentary atomic horror film, this black and white waking nightmare portrays the events leading up to a nuclear attack and the resulting post atomic blast hell. Originally made for British TV, the BBC elected not to air the film because it was too realistic and depressing. Today, it remains a realistic and depressing masterwork.




THREADS [1984]
110 min. [Color]
Written by Barry Hines
Directed by Mick Jackson
Starring: Karen Meagher; Reece Dinsdale; David Brierly; Rita May; Nicholas Lane


Nineteen years after The War Game, British TV scores another direct hit with what should be called SON OF THE WAR GAME. Threads leaves nothing to the imagination with it's lengthy, detailed depiction of life in an industrial English city before, during and after a nuclear war. Threads relentlessly pokes the audience in the eyes and the stomach with realistic scenes of the progression of radiation sickness and life in a never ending nuclear winter.




THE DAY AFTER [1983]
126 min. [COLOR]
Written by Edward Hume
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Starring: Jason Robards; JoBeth Williams; John Lithgow; Steve Guttenberg


The Yanks weigh in with a made for TV nuclear war drama set in the heartland of the USA. Seen by many as nuke-lite, in comparison to the British doomsday films, I suggest The Day After works on a different part of the brain. Through an effective combination of set pieces and patriotic appeal, this film sucks you into the story and lets you see, feel and smell what this unique experience might be like. The only nuclear film that, without fail, gives me nuclear nightmares.




TESTAMENT [1983]
90 min. [COLOR]
Written by John Sacret Young from Carol Amen's story
Directed by Lynne Littman
Starring: Jane Alexander, William Devane; Rebecca De Mornay; Kevin Costner


No fireballs or flattened cities, just a simple, incredibly well crafted story about a family and their neighbors dying of radiation sickness following a nuclear war. The most thoughtful and thought provoking atomic film to date.




BY DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT [1990]
100 min. [Color]
Written by Bruce Gilbert from William Prochnau's novel
Directed by Jack Sholder
Starring: Powers Boothe; Rebecca De Mornay; James Earl Jones; Martin Landau; Darren McGavin; Jeffrey DeMunn; Rip Torn


Based on William Prochnau's great nuclear page turner, Trinity's Child, this film puts a human face on the Industrial Military Complex that dares to think, and do, the unthinkable. From the Commander in Chief, to the crew of a B-52 bomber, we see what command and control is really about in a nuclear war and the dent, thinking individuals could make in the momentum of mutually assured destruction.




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