“The Day After”

For about 6 months the national leaders and MSM and bloggers have been fanning the fear of a new nuclear scare. That got me thinking about decades ago when millions of Americans became paranoid about the possibility of the nuke attack on this country.

The Pentagon issued its annual report on China……

The Pentagon this week issued its annual report on China’s military power that claimed Beijing could nearly quadruple its nuclear stockpile by 2035, bringing it to 1,500 warheads.

Current estimates put China’s nuclear stockpile at about 350, although the Pentagon claims the number has surpassed 400. Beijing has signaled it plans to increase its nuclear deterrence, but it’s not clear if they will build new warheads at the rate the Pentagon estimates.

China’s arsenal is vastly smaller than the US and Russia’s and, unlike Washington and Moscow, has a no-first-use policy. Including retired warheads that are expected to be dismantled, the US is estimated to possess 5,500 warheads, and Russia is said to have 6,250.


Now this brings me to a piece of the past.

Does anyone remember the TV series “The Day After”?

Let’s look back.

Before Nicholas Meyer’s made-for-television film The Day After had its official airing on November 20, 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan and his Joint Chiefs of Staff were given screening copies. In his diary, Reagan recorded his reaction to seeing Meyer’s graphic depiction of a nuclear holocaust that devastates a small Kansas town, writing:

“It’s very effective and left me greatly depressed. So far they [ABC] haven’t sold any of the 25 spot ads scheduled and I can see why. Whether it will be of help to the ‘anti-nukes’ or not, I can’t say. My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent and to see there is never a nuclear war.”

Just a few days later, the rest of America would see what had shaken their president. Preempting Hardcastle and McCormick on ABC, the 8 p.m. telefilm drew a staggering 100 million viewers, an audience that at the time was second only in non-sports programming to the series finale of M*A*S*H. According to Nielsen, 62 percent of all televisions in use that night were tuned in.

What they watched didn’t really qualify as entertainment; Meyer stated he had no desire to make a “good” movie with stirring performances or rousing music, but a deeply affecting public service announcement on the horrors of a nuclear fallout. He succeeded … perhaps a little too well.


What made me think of this movie was something one of our nuclear chiefs has said….

The commander that oversees US nuclear forces delivered an ominous warning at a naval conference last week by calling the war in Ukraine a “warmup” for the “big one” that is to come.

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

Richard’s warning came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms that the US doctrine allows for the first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.”

The NPR says the US “would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its Allies or partners.”

US Nuclear Forces Chief Says ‘the Big One Is Coming’

I am wondering how long will it be until there is a remake or a re-issue of this movie to sell the idea more than their reports are doing so these days.

Whatcha think?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


14 thoughts on ““The Day After”

  1. Given the time period this film was made and the fact it was originally a TV movie, it did a fair job re-creating the possible effects of the day after. In an odd way it’s haunted my own thoughts through the years of the end. I have this film in my own movie collection. A re-make would be quite impressive given the movie tech these days.

      1. You are correct.. it’s all speculation. The film itself is not a great classic for it’s acting or even it’s overall character storyline. It’s totally about the imagery depicted and the human struggle to survive given what our imaginations of such horrors could conjure up… which is the whole point. The fear that this is what could happen so let’s not let events get this far out of hand.

  2. The Day After was well done, but I think ‘Fail Safe’ (1964) is more realistic as to what might happen to cause a nuclear attack. I also recommend ‘Threads’ (1984), and ‘By Dawn’s Early Light’ (1990).
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I think there was a Brit-made film I saw decades ago that’s still lingering about cyber world called “No Blade of Grass”. I’ve been meaning to watch “By Dawn’s Early Light”. How I misses that one amazes me.

      1. That was a 1970 film (Starring Lynn Frederick and directed by the actor Cornel Wilde) about a virus that attacks all grasses and causes a worldwide disaster. It wasn’t about nuclear war, but the effect was still apocalyptic.

      2. Ahh.. ok. Rather akin to that other apocalyptical film with nothing to do with nuclear war… I think the setting was also London or someplace, starring Matthew McConaughey, where these strange fire breathing dragons pop up out of the ground to set fire to the world. Odd pretext actually…. how the hell can a flying “anything” evolve in the ground?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.