The Day After

The Day After
: Twenty years ago tomorrow, The Day After — a TV movie from the time when TV movies mattered — depicted a nuclear holocaust in America. I was a TV critic then and, as I recall, I liked it.

The movie was filmed in Lawrence, Kansas, and so the amazing remembers the time when TV destroyed the town.

Now this might sound trite but it is true: On September 11th, when I came out of my haven in Chase Plaza II after the first bits of sun broke through the black cloud of debris, I looked around at a world covered in the white dust we all came to know so well and the first image that came to mind was from The Day After. [via Terry Heaton at Lost Remote]

  • Catherine

    Jeff – I had many friends in your position on 9/11 say the same thing.
    I remember that movie vividly. An even better movie was “Testament” which was a feature film.
    The Day After was discussed at length at school (8th grade) and I recall being frightened to walk alone to a friend’s house. I had my mom walk with me. It was such a concern that it could happen.
    It’s so odd that the kids I went to college with in the last two years (18-22) don’t know what “check-point charlie” is, never knew a world with two Germany’s, and think the Cold War is come kind of conspiracy of the US government. They of course never experienced the Cuban missle crisis either.
    Thanks for the memory.

  • red

    “Testament” is an absolutely haunting movie. And I saw “The Day After” when it came out in high school and it gave me nightmares. It seemed so real.

  • “Two men standing waist deep in gasoline — one with three matches, the other with five.”
    I grew up in Lawrence, and first watched the film, and had the accompanying nightmares, at age 8. Even now, I can’t watch KU basketball games without remembering the floor of Allen Fieldhouse covered by the sick and dying. KU Med always brings Jason Robards to mind.
    My adult nightmares now focus on New York, and what a nuclear device triggered in the city would do.

  • scott

    In the summer of ’98 I was doing some temp work and ended up at an internet movie rental company (I think it was, but am not sure). Anyhow, it was not long after the time that Pakistan and India had obtained nuclear weapons. One day I noticed a copy of “The Day After” set aside. I inquired as to why and was told that the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad had requested it. I could only assumed that it was to be screened for a Pakistani audience.

  • John

    I found NBC’s Special Bulletin to be the more unsettling movie of the two nuclear-related made-for-TV films of that period, and given the threat of terrorism today and the 9/11 attacks, the premise is a little more relevant, though there was no radical Islamist angle and the 9/11 aftermath is a stark contrast to the film’s denouncement that TV news and the press in general would only take a couple of days to get over an event of that magnitude.

  • Brian

    I saw that flick when I was in the first grade or so; thought it was way cool when the people who got vaporized by the blast turned into skeletons. I remember pining for a nuclear war so I could see something that cool actually happen. Still, it can’t hold a candle to Damnation Alley.

  • I never saw it, and they’re selling the DVD in Europe and not in the US. Dammit…