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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

On the Beach (1959)



Reviews and Comments

A nuclear holocaust wipes out the Earth, and the last refugees of the radiation cluster together in Australia. The radiation will reach them soon, and this film chronicles how an assortment of characters cope with that knowledge. Meanwhile, a radio signal suggests that maybe there is still life out there in America, so an American commander, played by Gregory Peck, takes a submarine up to scout around.

This is a well-written and well-acted melodrama and evokes a melancholy sentiment. Of course, the story was born out of Cold War paranoia that doesn't play quite as strongly today. Although the emotional impact of the movie is effective, its call to action is dated, leaving the modern viewer drained without the greater purpose audiences of 1959 must have felt.

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