March Madness 2023: WWIII Movies Tournament: Round Three, Red and Silver Brackets

Thinned down the herd of WWIII movies a bit more and now there are eight remaining in the field. Bracket winners will be decided today and tomorrow. With a good amount of quality movies remaining, competition is going to be fierce in this round.

Third Round: Red Bracket

1 The Day After

2 World War III (1998 Docudrama)

To be honest, I’m quite surprised World War III made it to this round. Failsafe had it on the ropes but couldn’t connect with a knockout punch. So, here we are with the #1 and #2 seeds of the Red Bracket squaring off. As I mentioned on Friday, World War III is a movie that has benefitted from the growth of social media over the past twenty years. YouTube, Facebook and other platforms have expanded the movie’s popularity and appeal. However, even with this late season push, so to speak, World War III has not had near the influence on popular culture that The Day After has. Like its British counterpart Threads, The Day literally scared the shit out of an entire nation.

As far as realism and plot, The Day’s early 1980s Cold War scenario was believable while World War III’s foundation was a classic Gorbachev coup scenario. However, there were some gaping holes in the plots of both movies. For The Day, the pre-war events in the movie were supposed to be spread out over a week or so. This decision was in line with how crises play out in the real world. The events leading up to the nuclear war in the movie would probably take at least a week to play out. Unfortunately, the editing process became a factor, and the finished product contained a pre-war segment where seven to ten days’ worth of buildup and conventional war played out in a little over a day.

In World War III, the film is presented in the form of a documentary complete with interviews of politicians and general officers taking part in the crisis and subsequent war. But then at the end of the film a nuclear war takes place, effectively ending life as we know it on the planet. So, how was a documentary filmed and interviews conducted if everyone is dead and civilization has collapsed? For me at least, this conclusion ruined the film for me. World War III is still a good film, but the final few minutes shoved it over the edge for me.

Winner: The Day After

Third Round: Silver Bracket

1 Dr Strangelove

3 Red Dawn

I’ve decided to present the scoring for this bracket through three categories.

Realism/PlotDr Strangelove was a satirical black comedy. It relied more on sensationalism and over-the-top characters than it did realism. Therefore, the plot was not centered on a realistic East-West crisis and the realism left much to be desired. Red Dawn, on the other hand, employed realism to capture and keep the viewer’s attention. Realistic-looking Soviet uniforms, weapons and equipment played a major role, as did the use of realistic US weapons and uniforms. Red Dawn’s plot is viewed as realistic by some and complete fantasy by others. But at the end of the day, the realism is undeniable. Red Dawn

Pop Culture InfluenceDr Strangelove is considered a pop culture icon. Its mainstream success is undeniable. Red Dawn comes close, but it was not as loved and respected by the mainstream media. Dr Strangelove

Still Worth Watching In 2023 Both of these movies continue to attract new audiences in the 21st Century. Yet as time goes on, it seems that Dr Strangelove is the film beckoning to a more specialized audience, made up of Baby Boomers and more liberal members of the younger generations. Meanwhile, Red Dawn has benefitted from a spike in nostalgia as Generation X looks back on the movie with fond memories. I also ee more contemporary pop culture nods to Red Dawn than I do to Dr Strangelove. Aside from Major Kong of course. 😊  Red Dawn

Winner: Red Dawn

Author’s Note: The remainder of the third round will be posted on Monday. After that I will discuss the schedule for the Final Four and Championship Game.


6 Replies to “March Madness 2023: WWIII Movies Tournament: Round Three, Red and Silver Brackets”

  1. Hi Mike – This article from todays Sunday Telegraph called ‘How Britain braced for nuclear war in Dad’s Army style’ would no doubt be of interest to you & your March Madness, top WW3 disaster movie blog readers. Again the article dwells on the British way of preparing for CW nuclear war along with the UK’s Civil defence preparations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mike – Not sure whether you’ve seen this 1983 Canadian TV documentary before ? although obviously too late for March madness. its called ‘After the Big One: Nuclear War on the Prairies’ According to the YT introduction – The Prairies are singled out because of their proximity to huge stockpiles of intercontinental ballistic missiles located in North Dakota. Film scenes include a visit to a missile base and to an emergency government bunker in Manitoba. A doctor, a farmer and a civil defence coordinator provide different perspectives on nuclear war. Although the film focuses on one region.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I actually did take a look at this not too long abo. Pretty solid documentary and they were smart singling out the Prairies. The missile fields in North Dakota would hurt them badly if they were hit


  3. Mike – Check this video out, it shows a re-enactment of the Dutch equivalent of the Royal Observer Corps with the same nuclear monitoring & reporting equipment as used by the British ROC. There’s also an interesting video about a Dutch Commando comms bunker from the Cold War era ( still intact ) that follows along after it.

    Liked by 1 person

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