A great Tour de Force by a fine cast, interpreting a great story (by hfelknor)
I watched this movie in a USAF chow hall on the island of Makung in the China Strait with about 20 other airman. The year was 1960. We were stationed there on a missile site. Our targets were 7 Chinese missile sites. Their target was us. I was 22 years old and immortal. Until I watched this movie.When the movie ended, I will never forget the fact that no one moved for perhaps 10 minutes. There was just the bright, blank screen and the sound of the end of the film going around and around. Thiketa-thicketa-thicketa................... No one ever said a word about what we had just seen. We, or <more>
at least I, never forgot this movie. As said earlier, it was more than scary. It was sad.It seems strange now, 40 some years later, to be telling people that you really should watch this film and watch the masters at work, with a script that is chilling. And you know what? We still haven't outlived the possibility...........
On The Beach was made in 1959 and it's still a fantastic movie some 46 years later. As great as all the performances are, the photography and the script are as out-standing.The only drawback to this black & white classic is the hauntingly depressing nature of the film. Death is never easy to explore and it's done here tastefully, gritty, and realistically. Gregory Peck shines in this controversial role. Ava Gardner gives her finest performance. Fred Astaire is incredible in this serious role. However, the film was stolen by the pre-Psycho Anthoney Perkins and newcomer Donna <more>
Anderson as a doomed young couple with a new baby. The ending of On The Beach is one of the most depressing in screen history, still this is a must see for any fan of any of the actors or the legendary Stanly Kramer.
Perfectly paced and well acted, it keeps melodrama minimised (by Kafca)
In an era 1959 and on a topic nuclear war that usually demands melodrama, "On the Beach" resists. In fact, the all-star principal cast and director Stanley Kramer seem to treat the topic as a stage play, focussing on the individual. And that is how such a story should be treated. Life on the northern hemisphere has been destroyed a defence mistake by one of the then two superpowers. Gregory Peck's nuclear-powered submarine was submerged at the time they stayed under water for a hell of a long time in those days . The sub heads for Melbourne, Australia, which is one of the <more>
only places in the world not yet affected by radiation. But the radiation will come, and this is where the truth of the piece comes out.The inhabitants of 'the end of the world' go through what you would expect: denial, anger, clinging to the thinnest hope, and finally, resignation. As I said at the start, this is clearly a story about the individual. Kramer knows this, and the cast of Ava Gardner, Tony Perkins, John Meillon and Fred Astaire play it with a reality that is all too rare. Even recent films like Final Impact fail to deliver on this count. The real joy of the film is the pacing, which gives the cast the chance to play it like it should be played. Astaire proves he is an actor, and only once slips into his raised eyebrow 'top hat and tails' mode. It is a well thought out movie without the Hollywood ending, but such is the art of Kramer that the ending is a good resolution, not just a funeral. The camera work is exceptional throughout, starting with the continuous shots in Peck's submarine. I don't know about the Waltzing Matilda music at the start, however. But it does work later in the piece, and makes it worthy of the Academy Award nomination it received.
Gives new meaning to the word 'shudder' (by lottatitles)
I made the mistake of watching this film at 11 pm, in a theater with only 4 other people. We were scattered about...and alone. I have seldom wanted to be in a group as much as I did that night. I almost got up and went to sit in a row with one of the 4. Directing? Brilliant. Cinematography? Brilliant. The cast? Exceptional. Ava Gardner still beautiful , Gregory Peck, Fred Astair and Anthony Perkins are inspired. I have always wanted to go to Australia. Many years later I got the chance. As the coast of Sydney came into view I started to cry...and didn't know why? Then I realized, I was <more>
One of the most potent movies I've ever seen. Chilling! Although appearance of movie is dated...it should be...filmed in 1956. The characters, situation, emotion are timeless. The date of the movie in no way weakens the strength of the story. Only slight weakness is the relationship between Peck and Gardner. Too much time spend on these two at times distracts from story. Still it does set up a moving ending in which devotion to duty, comrades, in a situation where such devotion is meaningless deepens our awareness of humanity. Not for the weak of heart. No happy endings here!! All the <more>
more powerful for its non hollywood approach, we need more of these movies. Instead of finishing the moving feeling good, we finish THINKING GOOD. Much more important goal of a movie if you ask me.
Released in 1959, the apocalypse of On the Beach allegedly took place in 1964. We missed it, but it sure doesn't mean it still can't happen. Maybe now more than ever. But probably not in the way it happens here.That's one of the awful things about On the Beach, they don't know what happened. Scientists among the survivors in Australia speculate, but they don't really know. Interesting however that their speculations led to the future film scenarios in Failsafe and Doctor Strangelove. But as Ava Gardner said, she didn't do anything so why is she and all the rest still <more>
left south of the equator doomed.Nuclear war has occurred and the result was total annihilation of life in the Northern Hemisphere. The nuclear powered submarine U.S.S. Sawfish was submerged and sailed south until land with people was found in Australia. Still people like Gregory Peck can't get it into their heads that everything they knew and loved is gone.Still though he finds time for a romantic interlude with Ava Gardner as the Australians and those who made it to their shore size up the situation and it ain't good and no options for hope.Nevil Shute's apocalyptic novel was filmed in Australia and it leaves a good ring of authenticity. Anthony Perkins gives an earnest portrayal of the young officer in the Royal Australian Navy though he does slip in and out of the Aussie accent.Besides the message of On the Beach the main publicity about the film concerned Fred Astaire in his first straight dramatic part. He got rave reviews from astonished critics and deservedly so, playing a nuclear scientist who know amuses himself by indulging in a secret fantasy to become an auto racer.This film was hated, still hated by right wing critics everywhere because of its total pessimism. The religious right particularly doesn't like this film because the apocalypse arrives and there's no divine intervention, even just to save God's Elect whomever they might be. It's just the end of life and the promise that future visitors to the planet might piece together the story of what happened as does the crew of the Starship Enterprise finding a devastated world or two on their mission to seek out life. Yes, it could happen to us.I think that what Stanley Kramer was trying to tell us is that whatever created this universe left it in the hands of those who inhabit it to do what they could with it or any corner thereof. It's our responsibility to find a way to live together and respect each other and our differences or annihilate ourselves. It's not easy, but it's that simple.Maybe we'll learn that lesson and On the Beach is a good teacher.
The Cold War aspects of this movie may be a bit dated, but for those of us of a certain age it is a reminder of the fears we lived under at that time. In retrospect, it may be that Julian was wrong: it may have indeed been the very presence of these terrible weapons that prevented a third world war.In any case, that aspect of the story never overshadows the movie's underlying theme, which is, rather, how each of us views the sum of our lives as our mortal end approaches. Are we alone? Have we connected with anyone? Have we failed? Have we loved? Have we been loved?Color would have been <more>
all wrong for this essentially b&w story. Superb performances from Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and the pre-Norman Bates Anthony Perkins. A fine bit as well by John Tate as the old admiral "to a blind, blind world" .A mere cold-war nuclear destruction movie would leave one merely frightened at the end. The fact that this movie leaves you with an almost unbearable feeling of terrible sadness is a testament to the human power of Nevil Shute's book, as well as to the fine script and Kramer's superb direction.One of the most depressing movies ever made, but a truly great one.
The French title is "le dernier rivage" the last shore The intellectuals dismiss this movie in France and I've always thought they were wrong.Ava Gardner had never been better with the eventual exception of Huston's "night of the iguana".My favorite part is the central one:one of the soldiers tries to find the cause for the strange Morse signals.He crosses bleak dead San Francisco harbor the camera takes prodigious high angle shots of him,making us share his loneliness and his hope against hope Hope that was to be short-lived!What a symbol,this equivalent of a <more>
bottle thrown into the sea!So few special effects,ans so much emotion.Stanley Kramer's peak.
There is Hope! There's always Hope! There has to be Hope! (by sol-kay)
There are Spoilers Emotionally packed drama about a futuristic, for the time the movie was released in 1959, nuclear war that took place in the late fall and early winter of 1963/64. With the only survivors of the conflict being in Australia waiting for the Gime Reper to come and take them away in the form of deadly radioactive clouds.The USS Sawfish the only surviving vessel in the US Navy makes it's way down from the North Pacific to Melbourne Harbor with it's skipper Capt. Dwight Towers, Gregory Peck, on his first day on shore leave getting involved romantically with a local <more>
Australian woman Moira Davison,Ava Gardner. Towers a native of New London CT. where the Sawfish was based knows that his wife and two children had perished in the war and is in need to find himself someone who he can spend the last few months of his life with Moira filling that need. Moira herself had been involved for some time with nuclear scientist Julian Osborne, Fred Astaire, but he's become impossible to Iive with since the war started. Julian had developed a deep guilt feelings about his involvement with and testing the hydrogen bomb that he's become a suicidal mental case in both his, like Moria, drinking and driving.There's also in the film the story about a young Australian couple Navy Lt. Peter Holmes and his wife Mary, Anthony Perkins & Donna Anderson, who had everything to live for.Now with the end coming they have to choose in not only taking their lives, with cyanide pills, but their infant daughter Jenny's as well. That's in order to avoid suffering the inevitable and horrific death resulting from deadly radiation poisoning.For the most part "On the Beach" plays like an afternoon soap opera but the fact that you, and those in the movie, know that no one in it will survive the final credits makes it a lot more personal as well as heart wrenching and involving. Getting a radio signal originating from the US Pacific Coast the Sawfish heads out to sea to find out if there's any one still left alive in the United States by sailing thousands of miles and finally surfacing in San Francisco Bay. The eerie sights, through the Sawfish's periscope, of an empty and dead city was just too much for San Francisco native seaman Ralph Swein, John Meillon, who jumped ship and swam to shore. Later telling Capt. Towers, who was shielded from the radiation inside the Sawfish, that he'd rather "get it" here, in SF, then in Australia with the rest of the sub's crew.The last hope of human survival on the North American Continent is dashed to pieces when Lt. Sunderstrom,Harp McGuire, goes ashore with a protective, from radiation, suit in San Diago where the mysterious SOS-like signal that's being picked up by he Sawfish is coming from. Lt. Sunderstrom is shocked to find out that its, the SOS signal, only coming from an empty coke bottle that's attached, by a window shade, to the Morse Code clicker. The radioactive clouds from the nuclear devastated Northern Hemisphere starts sweeping into Melbourne and the rest of Australia a lot earlier then most of the scientific experts expected them to. It's then that everybody frantically start to plan for their own deaths before the deadly radiation starts to take effect. This leads Mary Holmes to have a nervous breakdown not being able to bear to put her young daughter Jenny , more then herself and her husband Peter,to sleep forever. Julian not having any problems with the thought of his own demise, and alienating himself from all his friends and his former lover Moira, locks himself up in his garage and starts the engine of his beloved champion race car asphyxiating himself.Both Mary and Peter come to terms with the end by having little Jenny drink her formula, spiked with an lethal dose of sleeping pills. Then in a last and emotional embrace have a drink of hot tea with the deadly cyanide pills mixed and dissolved in it. Capt. Towers after saying a tearful good-by to Moira goes together with his men on the USS Sawfish out to sea and back home to the USA to die together with their already deceased families and loved ones as the movie sadly come to an end to the music of "Waltzing Matilda".Powerful and thought-provoking movie about a nuclear holocaust without a single person being killed, as a result of it, in the film. "On the Beach" may have been dated a bit after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 but has come back to haunt us with the events, and wars, that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. With many people, on both sides of the battle-line, who never had to live through in the 1950's and 1960's the fears and nightmares of a nuclear Armageddon are now sadly reminded that it's a war that, like in the movie, nobody will win much less survive.