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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

Films about the Financial Crisis and their influence on audiences?

The recent movie The Big Short, based on a book by the same name, features a number of high ranking actors and received positive reviews. And yet the movie, like Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Wolf of Wall Street spend a lot of time focused on the finance industry and the recent financial crisis. Do films like this inform us for the better or leave us with a sense of dizziness and circularity, that history can and will repeat itself again?

  • I don't think that any mainstream film will ever truly help to educate the masses about the inherently corrupt banking system. What we see instead are 'smoke and mirrors' designed to mislead us into thinking that, despite numerous scandals, crashes and frauds, the system will somehow clean-up its own mess, which it never does - and time after time it is we who foot the bill. I've already recommended 'Four Horsemen' (2012) in reply to another topic suggestion. This film is just as relevant to this topic suggestion. – Amyus 5 years ago
  • Love this topic. I think all of those movies you picked do a pretty good job of informing audiences on many complexities of the financial industry without feeling too overwhelming. Especially with The Big Short, I think the flaws in the system are outlined in a fairly understandable way; whether or not and how these flaws might be addressed so as to avoid similar crises in the future is less clear. Despite their digestibility, these movies don’t exactly leave me feeling optimistic that things won’t repeat themselves, so maybe it’s not one or the other, but a little of both. A couple of other films I might recommend for this topic are Margin Call and the HBO adaptation of the book Too Big to Fail (though that’s a made-for-tv film). – bradleyhewittk 5 years ago