July 27, 2023

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: The Day After (1983)

So you liked Oppenheimer and you thought, “Man, this movie was great. What else can I watch that can teach me a thing or two about the atomic bomb?” Well you’re in luck. If you want some more takes on the atomic bomb, the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and just the overall sense of paranoia that was everywhere in the U.S. throughout the twentieth century, movies could give you that.

And one excellent example of a movie that conveyed the utter sense of dread and fear of nuclear war was a TV movie that aired on ABC in 1983 – The Day After. Set in and around Kansas City, Missouri, we see how the average American family engaged in normal, American activities could be absolutely devastated by the atomic bomb that Mr. Oppenheimer developed. Using now-dated special effects, we see the citizens of these small towns before, during, and after the bombs go off, and it’s memorable. All of it. I’m actually surprised this was shown on broadcast television given its unrelenting tone and abrupt violence.

While it is a TV movie, there is a lot to experience here. And in pairing a movie with one that details the development of the atomic bomb, I don’t think there can be a better pick than one that shows the consequences of that development. If you enjoyed learning and experiencing the history contained in Oppenheimer, you should find plenty to experience in The Day After.

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