Depictions of Nuclear War

Threads (1984) depicts a small town in England, grappling with the ramifications of a nuclear war breaking out. The movie is full of raw footage of human suffering and is said to have left audiences numb in horror. So much so that audiences of its initial release reported: "that people had just sat there thinking about it, in many cases not sleeping or being able to talk." Ronald Reagan, the president of the United States at the time, was said to have watched the film as did many British politicians. Given the research done to make the film as close of a depiction of a real nuclear exchange, how did this and other depictions of nuclear war – like The Day After (1983) – shape the public’s view of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D. theory) as a military strategy, if at all?

  • 'Threads' was one of those moments in TV history, like the release of 'Edge of Darkness' (1985), that made me wonder if people were finally beginning to wake up to the real horrors of the nuclear arms race. Maybe they did, for a while, but then everyone seemed to go back to sleep. – Amyus 5 years ago

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