March Madness 2023: WWIII Movies Tournament: Round Three, Blue and Gold Brackets

Final two brackets of the third round will be decided today. I like how the categories worked out for the Silver bracket yesterday so I am going to try them out again in the Gold today. Maybe I’ll incorporate them into the remaining three matchups after today.  Speaking of that, the plan is to follow the NCAA tournament schedule: Final Four on Saturday and the championship game on Monday. So, between now and the weekend I will put up 2-3 non-tournament entries.

Third Round: Blue Bracket

1 Threads

3 On The Beach

These two films give off quite different vibes even though both examine the effects of nuclear war. On The Beach does not portray ruined cities, mushroom clouds, burned children or other facets of nuclear destruction and apocalypse. Instead, it focuses on a small number of Australians and Americans living out their final days as radioactive clouds make their way south following a nuclear war. Threads shows the frightening aspects of nuclear war and does not simply display them for the viewer to contemplate quietly. The movie instead shoves a graphic and fearful scenario of life before and after a nuclear attack on Great Britain, extending years afterward to show the state of society more than a decade later. Like its American counterpart The Day After, Threads scared the living hell out of an entire nation at a point in the Cold War when nuclear war was thought to be almost imminent.

I loved On The Beach and watch it every so often. But in the dog-eat-dog world of World War III movies, It comes up lacking when compared to Threads.

Winner: Threads.

Third Round: Gold Bracket

1 The Wargame

2 By Dawn’s Early Light

Realism/PlotThe Wargame was a docudrama depicting a hypothetical nuclear attack on Great Britain in the mid-1960s. Director Peter Watkins went to great lengths to include as many realistic aspects as possible. He was quite successful in that regard. By Dawn’s Early Light was an HBO movie made for entertainment. It tells the story of US military and government officials who are thrown unexpectedly into the nightmare of a limited nuclear war. The dialogue, aircraft and weapons are all highly realistic. The same can be said about the plot, with maybe one or two small exceptions. When it comes down to it, however, The Wargame was so realistic that the BBC shelved the film and it was banned from television until 1985. Despite this, the film still managed to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature-  The Wargame

Pop Culture InfluenceThe Wargame had influence on the British government and BBC initially. Over the years, while still banned from television, the movie grew an almost cultish following that expanded with the release of Threads in 1984. By Dawn’s Early Light has had zero influence on pop culture. It was a good movie that is talked about from time to time but that is about it. – The Wargame

Still Worth Watching In 2023- Each film is still worthy. But if I were to choose just one it would be By Dawn’s Early Light. Mainly because The Wargame is rather dated now in 2023. It has been overtaken by The Day After and Threads in the realm of WWIII/nuclear holocaust television. By Dawn’s Early Light gives a pure military/government perspective of a nuclear conflict. No vaporized civilians or anything like that. Just a B-52 crew flying to Russia, general officers on command planes and a presidential successor who has a penchant for choosing advice from the wrong military aide. – By Dawn’s Early Light

Winner: The Wargame


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

  1. You’ve not mentioned but other readers may like to know that By Dawn’s Early Light was based on the book “Trinity’s Child” by William Prochnau – and was an awesome introduction to the technothriller genre with a level of detail of America’s nuclear response systems which remains impressive. Even though it was published in 1983. (IMHO)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I did mention it not too long ago. Prochnau’s book was a quality technothriller for the time. He got a little too literary at points but that did not ruin the finished product at all. Thanks, Graham!


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