On the Beach
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Although there'd been doomsday dramas before it, Stanley Kramer's On the Beach was considered the first important entry in this genre when originally released in 1959. Based on the novel by Nevil Shute, the film is set in the future (1964) when virtually all life on earth has been exterminated by the radioactive residue of a nuclear holocaust. Only Australia has been spared, but it's only a matter of time before everyone Down Under also succumbs to radiation poisoning. With only a short time left on earth, the Australian population reacts in different ways: some go on a nonstop… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A tiresome, talky 1959 film."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The scenario - one of the best in Stanley Kramer's filmography - is uniquely human in the annals of post-nuclear cinema."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"A powerful, well-acted, deftly photographed film."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"As scary a horror film as any you will find."
‑ Rory L. Aronsky, Film Threat
"Typically overlong Kramer film, but still with some power."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Fine photography, but the script is a typically numbing affair, and the cast, aside from Peck and Meillon, seem totally out of their depth."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Gloomy doomsday film that is more talky, melodramatic and numbing than imaginative."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"While heartbreaking and touching, it's hard to imagine that riots aren't rampant and that martial law isn't required, but hey, it's a movie, and quite a good -- if overlong -- one, at that."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"A nuclear war what-if starring some heavy hitters."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"Downbeat, depressing."
‑ James O'Ehley, Sci-Fi Movie Page
"The great merit of this picture, aside from its entertaining qualities, is the fact that it carries a passionate conviction that man is worth saving, after all."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"A wasted opportunity."
‑ , Film4
"Kramer's apocalyptic drama is too verbose, replete with "message" speeches, but the text is intelligent, reflecting the Cold War mentality, and well-acted by Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire (in his first nonmusical role) and Anthony Perkins."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"O cenário apocalíptico continua assustador, mas o tom inadequadamente leve de algumas cenas e a péssima trilha sonora (indicada ao Oscar!) comprometem o resultado final."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"One of the most powerful anti-war films ever made."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
More reviews for On the Beach on Rotten Tomatoes