Great Britain is well represented in this bracket with half of the titles coming from British film studios. It was brought to my attention that one of the films was seeded twice in this bracket. Consequently, The Sacrifice will take the #7 seed.
First Round Blue Bracket
8 Whoops Apocalypse
Polar opposites square off in this first round contest. Threads is an exceedingly dark and realistic film about two British families going through a period of high international tensions and subsequent nuclear war, followed by the survivors navigating a post-apocalyptic environment. Whoops is a satirical dark comedy that lampoons US and British politics and foreign policy of the early and mid-1980s. A very funny film but as we all know, there’s no laughing in World War III 😊
2 Countdown To Looking Glass
7 The Sacrifice
Despite being somewhat amateurish in its presentation, Countdown to Looking Glass is a movie that is highly regarded by fans of the World War III genre of movies. A Canadian production, there are moments when some of the actors let slip their Canuck accent for a brief moment. Scott Glenn is a great actor but even he couldn’t help to convince me that the USS Yorktown museum ship many of his scenes were filmed on was supposed to be the USS Nimitz.
The Sacrifice is a 1986 drama about a middle-aged intellectual named Alexander who admits to a friend he has no relationship with God. At his birthday party that evening, low-flying jets are heard overhead, followed by a news report announcing that all-out war has broken out. A nuclear attack is expected at any second. Alexander’s wife has a nervous breakdown. In despair he then vows to God he will renounce all that he loves including his family if the war is undone. He then has sex with a witch (European film, what can I say) and wakes up the next morning in his own bed. War has not broken out and everything seems normal. Alexander then proceeds to start giving up everything he loves. First, he convinces his friends and family to go for a walk and then torches his house. An ambulance appears, the medics grab him and they take off, probably to take him to the nut house. Weird film, as I said and a last-minute replacement movie.
Winner: Countdown To Looking Glass
6 Invasion USA (1952)
Back to the 50s and 60s. We’ve talked about Failsafe and what it is all about. Invasion USA (not the Chuck Norris film) is a Red Scare film from the early 50s portraying a Russian invasion of the US. Nothing along the lines of Red Dawn. Simply cheesy.
4 When The Wind Blows
5 How I Live Now
Two British productions, one from 1986 and the other from 2013. Wind is the better-known of the pair, having began life as a graphic novel before coming to television as an animated movie. It follows Jim and Hilda Bloggs, an elderly British couple through the final days of peace, preceding a nuclear holocaust and the inevitable aftermath. The Bloggses are rather ignorant of the deteriorating international situation. As Hilda continues with her daily routines, Jim grows worried and starts preparing for the worst. The Protect and Survive booklet are his main source of survival information and he goes about following every suggested preparation Protect and Survive recommends. The attack warning comes over the radio and the two rush into their refuge before the first ICBM impacts. Jim and Hilda survive and then the situation becomes dreadfully depressing.
How I Live Now is a romantic-speculative drama about Daisy, a bratty American teenager who is sent to live with her relatives in England. She settles in with her relatives as concerns about an imminent terrorist attack grow. Daisy’s aunt, a terrorism expert leaves to attend a meeting in Geneva and shortly afterwards, a terrorist coalition detonated a nuclear weapon in London. Daisy is offered safe passage back to the US but remains, as she has fallen in love with her eldest cousin. I kid you not. The British Army storms their house and divides up the children. Daisy and her cousin Piper are fostered in the home of a British Army major and his wife. The neighborhood is attacked by terrorists, prompting the two to make a perilous six day journey back to their original home. During the trip they see firsthand the horrors of war. They make it back home and eventually the war ends. A ceasefire is arranged, electricity returns and a new government is formed. That is the extent of information given to viewers. We never know what the war was about, who nuked London, or even who the enemy was. Disappointing, to say the least. Unacceptable to a true fan of WWIII films and it cost How I Live Now a win here.
Winner: When The Wind Blows
6 Replies to “March Madness 2023: WWIII Movies Tournament: Round One, Blue Bracket”
A buddy of mine said Threads should be mandated viewing for the hyper-optimistic. The woman voiding herself when RAF Finningley gets hit pretty much nails the mood of the movie. There’s not going to be anything uplifting coming out of this one.
CND used to sponsor showings of When the Wind Blows around bases in the UK, normally in conjunction with other events like the obligatory candlelight vigil, stupid fenceline tricks, and keeping the MoD police busy. If you knew one was coming up you tried to get away early before somebody figured they needed to limit off base travel. If you didn’t, you tried to stay upwind of the KGB tools… I mean unwashed hippies. You could always count on a pile of trash and other “stuff” left behind.
Another classic in the mold of Threads and the Day After is The Wargame. Made in 1966, the film was considered to sensitive to air on BBC until after Threads was released.
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I’m not surprised to hear that those peace-niks tried that kind of crap back then. And yeah, unwashed hippies being led around by their KGB handlers. Just the worst of both worlds.
Threads was really good, well done. First (maybe only) movie that tried to look at long-term (10yrs out) effect of nuclear war. To my eyes completely believable except for one small item. The principal “survivor” named Ruth gives birth to her daughter just after the nuclear war. The poor girl grows up never having known the world before. The film ends with the girl giving birth to a deformed baby. The only thing that looks wrong in hindsight is that the postwar girl’s generation is depicted as having very limited speech. In reality, with no electronic devices to distract them, kids would probably talk a lot more than they do today! You’d never be able to get them to STFU by turning on the TV!
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Threads was certainly a pioneer in taking the long view. Ruth’s daughter does grow up never knowing the pre-attack world. And yep, could you imagine kids from today suddenly losing their electronics and computers at the drop of a hat? It would be bedlam since very few kids these das have social skills.
There’s no laughing in WWIII unless you’re in a Stanley Kubrick film.
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Fair point LOL