5) On The Beach (2000)
There are plenty of post-apocalyptic movies out there, as well as movies covering impending nuclear war, usually preventing it for a finale. But there are less of those which are strictly nuclear movies, where the shit goes down as part of the story. Time to run down five of the best nuclear war movies.
I was in several minds over what to place at number five, the weakest of these movies I can think of. Honorary mentions will be listed alongside number one.
At five then is an Australian TV movie from the year 2000. From the director of Highlander, Russell Mulcahy, it’s a remake of the original movie. Okay so WW3 doesn’t strictly happen on screen, but we hit the ground running as an American nuclear submarine flees an obliterated northern hemisphere which has just wiped itself out with an exchange of nuclear weapons.
Manly man Armand Assante is the Captain of the vessel and his crew are seeking refuge in Australia, which has escaped fallout but unfathomable plume is headed directly there too. The middle of this film is bogged down heavily with melodrama, Australian style, which is among the worst drama you can suffer (they do good thrillers but man is their drama noxious). The only thing that saves it apart from Assante, is a nice turn from Bryan Brown as a cynical scientist and a more interesting second half, as they get back in the sub and head into the wasteland.
There is some debate as to the accuracy of this film and films like it. Generally speaking, it kind of exaggerates the consequences of a nuclear war. Some argue that a nuclear winter is not really at all likely, especially in this day and age. For instance if the Russkies and Americans went at it tomorrow in Eastern Europe, it’s more likely that neutron bombs would be the weapon of choice, which give off much less radiation, especially when air bursted. Nothing on earth will fuck up an armored formation like a neutron bomb, especially if you plan on keeping the cities afterwards.
It doesn’t hurt artistic license though. Which is what makes these movies fun. The book that this movie is based on stated that cobalt-jacketed nukes were used, which in theory really would cause a nuclear winter, although no nation has produced any.