10 Best Movies About Nuclear War That You Should Watching Update 06/2024

Movies About Nuclear War

Whether they illustrate the build-up, detonation, or aftermath of a nuclear war, these movies convey those calamities better than others.

Nothing is more exhilarating and equally horrifying then a film about nuclear war. From the build-up to the detonation and aftermath of the attack, every minute is an emotional experience using fiction to portray the sad reality of such a calamity. Although not all these movies illustrate a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, those that do provide quite a picture of what life would be like when calamity hits.

The infatuation with war pictures has led to some truly exceptional creations. The ’90s in particular, had some of the best nuke films in history. While some focus on portraying the nuclear tragedy as truthfully as possible, a few add a comic touch that lightens up the serious matter.

1. On The Beach (1959)

On The Beach (1959)

Based on a novel, On The Beachshows the aftermath of a nuclear war that wipes out most of humanity. The nuclear fallout steadily makes its way to Australia, the lone remaining safe refuge. As the annihilation of all life looms nigh, those remaining alive treasure their last days on earth in diverse ways.

The gradual burn of the impending calamity makes this post-apocalyptic film an emotional trip as the audience witnesses some individuals discover love in the midst of disaster and others accomplish a life-long desire before they take their last breath. With the dominant topic being the end of the world, there are no happy endings in this one, even for the romance narrative which has a tragic finale.

2. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Also known asDr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the film is a political satire about nuclear conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Lauded as one of the funniest comedies ever made,Dr. Strangelovetells the story of a delusional general who unleashes a nuclear catastrophe and the frantic, funny attempts by other politicians and generals to avert it.

As one of Stanley Kubrick’s best creations, the picture combines humor and the doom and gloom of nuclear warfare to create a sensation of comedic dread throughout its length. This method lends a lighter perspective to the generally dismal portrayal of films about nuclear war. While it doesn’t dig into the aftermath of such a horrible incident, any list of nuke flicks would be remiss in leaving out this timeless favorite.

3. Testament (1983)

Testament (1983)

As a family goes about their everyday life in Testament, calamity strikes when nuclear bombs detonate in a nearby city. The survivors seek to reclaim normalcy but the loss of essentials like food, water, and gas make it difficult. Things take a turn for the worst when individuals start dying from radiation poisoning.

Testament is an extremely terrible film featuring an authentic representation of the repercussions of a nuclear war. The real precision of the impact and ramifications of such a calamity are unsettling, leaving a heartwrenching image in the minds of all who view the movie.

4. Special Bulletin (1983)

In Special Bulletin,a group of terrorists threatens to detonate a homemade nuclear device if the U.S. government doesn’t agree to hand over the triggers for their nuclear weapons. The attackers hold a reporter and his cameraman captive, using them to express their demands.

True to its name, the inciting act and every important event in the film were told through news broadcasts. The movie portrays imaginary events in a realistic manner with scary precision. For decades, it has been regarded as one of the best nuclear films ever made.

5. The Day After (1983)

The Day After (1983)

In response to escalating tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, each side launches its own missiles towards the other side. The rockets’ target in the United States is Kansas City, and the movie focuses on a few citizens of the city.

It depicts everyday life, the buildup to the calamity, and the aftermath of a nuclear attack in The Day After. This method demonstrates to the audience how quickly an ordinary day may change into a tragic one.

6. Threads (1984)

Sheffield is thrown into turmoil by a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Ruth, a pregnant young lady, gets separated from her lover, Jimmy, following the fallout and tries to survive the post-apocalyptic world where food has become the only thing of value and the source of many disputes.

Most nuclear war apocalyptic films have a gloomy tone, but Threads takes it to a new level. When it comes to nuclear war, there is no winner, which is shown in this film, highlighting the fact that no one comes out on top. Threads is an unrelentingly terrible film from start to finish.

7. When The Wind Blows (1986)

When The Wind Blows (1986)

Animated disaster film When the Wind Blows portrays an elderly couple, Jim and Hilda Bloggs, as they deal with the effects of a nuclear war on their daily lives. There will be catastrophic consequences because of their inexperience, which leaves them unprepared.

In spite of the film’s cartoonish tone, it manages to portray the couple’s feelings throughout the attack in a way that is both sympathetic and relatable. Their desperate attempts to go back to normal after the calamity, which was exacerbated by everyone stockpiling up for it.

8.  Miracle Mile (1988)

It’s only natural that Harry would jump at the chance to save his new lady love Julie from a nuclear assault after he intercepts a terrified soldier’s phone call alerting him to the imminent threat.

Moments before the attack, Miracle Mile focuses on Harry’s panic and uncertainty over the unsubstantiated attack that he keeps warning others about.

Harry doubts the warning’s veracity for the majority of Miracle Mile, as he makes his approach to Julie. When he finally realizes that the threat was either real or a bad mistake, the spectator feels his dread and self-doubt as well.

9. The Divide (2011)

The Divide (2011)

A group of nine people avoids the nuclear detonation in New York City by hiding in their apartment building’s bomb shelter after the explosions. Tensions build among the survivors as the story unfolds, in part because of the scarcity of food.

As they portray the depravity of the human psyche during a calamity, Lauren German (from Lucifer) and Michael Eklund make an excellent ensemble performance in The Divide. However, it’s both heartbreaking and thought-provoking in its depiction of the “survival of the fittest” in a cruel way. However, it’s one of those unsettling movies that fans won’t see more than once.

10. Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion depicts a world devastated by an alien invasion that decimated the moon and triggered a nuclear war that rendered much of Earth uninhabitable. The film’s protagonist, Jack, is played by Tom Cruise, and he is a vital player in the battle against the extraterrestrials that still wander the planet.

The post-apocalyptic action film depicts a war-torn planet employing all the best features of the 1970s sci-fi classics. The action-packed plot and nostalgic vibe of the movie, evocative of former sci-fi favorites, are enhanced by the story’s unexpected twists.