Dramatic Films

Also see Documentary Films

The Children of Hiroshima, 1952

Children of Hiroshima (原爆の子, Genbaku no ko, lit. “Children of the Atomic Bomb”) is a 1952 Japanese drama film directed by Kaneto Shindō. It was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.

Hiroshima, 1953

Hiroshima (ひろしま) is a 1953 Japanese docudrama film directed by Hideo Sekigawa about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its impact. It tells the story of a group of teachers, their students, and their families in the years after the bomb. In a flashback sequence, tens of thousands of extras from Hiroshima, many of them survivors, helped recreate the “hellscape” immediately following the bombing.

Godzilla (Gojira), 1954

Godzilla (Japanese: ゴジラ, Hepburn: Gojira)[b] is a 1954 Japanese epic[c] kaiju film directed and co-written by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Co., Ltd., it is the first film in the Godzilla franchise. The film stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla. In the film, Japan’s authorities deal with the sudden appearance of a giant monster, whose attacks trigger fears of nuclear holocaust during post-war Japan.

I Live in Fear, 1955

I Live in Fear (Japanese: 生きものの記録,’Record of a Living Being’) is a 1955 Japanese drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, produced by Sōjirō Motoki, and co-written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni.[2] The film is about an elderly Japanese factory owner so terrified of the prospect of a nuclear attack that he becomes determined to move his entire extended family to what he imagines is the safety of a farm in Brazil.

On the Beach, 1959

On the Beach is a 1959 American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film from United Artists starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins. Produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, it is based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel On the Beach depicting the aftermath of a nuclear war. Unlike the novel, no one is assigned blame for starting the war, which attributes global annihilation to fear compounded by accident or misjudgment.

Hiroshima mon amour, 1959

Hiroshima mon amour (French pronunciation: ​[iʁoʃima mɔ̃n‿amuʁ], lit. Hiroshima, My Love, Japanese: 二十四時間の情事, romanized: Nijūyojikan no jōji, lit. ’Twenty-four hour love affair’), is a 1959 romantic drama film directed by French director Alain Resnais and written by French author Marguerite Duras.

The Day the Earth Caught on Fire, 1961

The Day the Earth Caught Fire is a British science fiction disaster film starring Edward Judd, Leo McKern and Janet Munro.[4] It was directed by Val Guest and released in 1961, and is one of the classic apocalyptic films of its era.[5][6][7] The film opened at the Odeon Marble Arch in London on 23 November 1961.

Astro Boy, 1963

Astro Boy (Japanese: 鉄腕アトム, Hepburn: Tetsuwan Atomu, “Mighty Atom”, lit. “Iron Arm Atom”) is a Japanese television series that premiered on Fuji TV on New Year’s Day, 1963 (a Tuesday), and is the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime.[3] It originated as a manga of the same name in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka, revered in Japan as the “God of Manga”.[4] It lasted for four seasons, with a total of 193 episodes, the final episode presented on a Saturday, New Year’s Eve 1966.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, known simply and more commonly as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film directed, co-written, and produced by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers in three roles, including the title character. The film also stars George C. Scott with Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, and Tracy Reed. The film, which satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States, is loosely based on the thriller novel Red Alert (1958) by Peter George, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Kubrick and Terry Southern.

I am Cuba, 1964

I Am Cuba (Spanish: Soy Cuba; Russian: Я – Куба, Ya – Kuba) is a 1964 anthology drama film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov at Mosfilm. An international co-production between the Soviet Union and Cuba, it was not received well by either the Russian or Cuban public[1] and was almost completely forgotten until it was re-discovered by filmmakers in the United States thirty years later.[1] The acrobatic tracking shots and idiosyncratic mise en scene prompted Hollywood directors like Martin Scorsese to begin a campaign to restore the film in the early 1990s.

Fail Safe, 1964

Fail Safe is a 1964 Cold War thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. The film follows a crisis caused by a critical error that sends a group of U.S. bombers to destroy Moscow, and the ensuing attempts to stop the bomber group before it can deploy a nuclear first strike. The film features performances by actors Henry Fonda, Dan O’Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Frank Overton, Larry Hagman, Fritz Weaver, Dana Elcar, Dom DeLuise and Sorrell Booke.

Planet of the Apes, 1968

Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner from a screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, loosely based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Pierre Boulle. The film stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, and Linda Harrison. In the film, an astronaut crew crash-lands on a strange planet in the distant future. Although the planet appears desolate at first, the surviving crew members stumble upon a society in which apes have evolved into creatures with human-like intelligence and speech. The apes have assumed the role of the dominant species and humans are mute creatures wearing animal skins.

The China Syndrome, 1979

The China Syndrome is a 1979 American disaster thriller film directed by James Bridges and written by Bridges, Mike Gray, and T. S. Cook. The film stars Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas (who also produced), Scott Brady, James Hampton, Peter Donat, Richard Herd, and Wilford Brimley. It follows a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. “China syndrome” is a fanciful term that describes a fictional result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, “all the way to China”.

Barefoot Gen, 1983

Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン, Hadashi no Gen) is a 1983 Japanese adult animated war drama film loosely based on the Japanese manga series of the same name by Keiji Nakazawa. Directed by Mori Masaki and starring Issei Miyazaki, Masaki Kōda and Tatsuya Jo, it depicts World War II in Japan from a child’s point of view revolving around the events surrounding the bombing of Hiroshima and the main character’s first hand experience of the bomb.

Children of Nagasaki, 1983

A doctor who was widowed during the bombing of Nagasaki decides to write his memoirs before he succumbs to radiation sickness. Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita.

Silkwood, 1983

Silkwood is a 1983 American biographical drama film directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, and Cher. The screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen was adapted from the book Who Killed Karen Silkwood? by Rolling Stone writer and activist Howard Kohn which detailed the life of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear whistle-blower and a labor union activist who investigated alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she worked. In real life, her inconclusive death in a road accident gave rise to a 1979 lawsuit, Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee, led by attorney Gerry Spence.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1984

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Japanese: 風の谷のナウシカ, Hepburn: Kaze no Tani no Naushika) is a 1984 Japanese post-apocalyptic anime fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga. It was animated by Topcraft for Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo, and distributed by Toei Company. Joe Hisaishi, in his first collaboration with Miyazaki, composed the score. Taking place in a post-nuclear futuristic world, the film tells the story of Nausicaä (Shimamoto), the young teenage princess of the Valley of the Wind. She becomes embroiled in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle full of giant mutant insects.

Threads, 1984

Threads is a 1984 British-Australian apocalyptic war drama television film jointly produced by the BBC, Nine Network and Western-World Television Inc. Written by Barry Hines and directed and produced by Mick Jackson, it is a dramatic account of nuclear war and its effects in Britain, specifically on the city of Sheffield in Northern England. The plot centres on two families as a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union erupts. As the nuclear exchange between NATO and the Warsaw Pact begins, the film depicts the medical, economic, social and environmental consequences of nuclear war.[2]

Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, 1985

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a 1985 Australian post-apocalyptic dystopian action film directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie and written by Miller and Terry Hayes.[4] It stars Mel Gibson and Tina Turner in a story of a lone roving warrior who is exiled into the desert, and there encounters an isolated child cargo cult, centered on a crashed Boeing 747 and its deceased captain.

When the Wind Blows, 1986

When the Wind Blows is a 1986 British animated disaster film directed by Jimmy Murakami based on Raymond Briggs’ comic book or graphic novel of the same name. The film stars the voices of John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft as the two main characters and was scored by Roger Waters. The film recounts a rural English couple’s attempt to survive a nearby nuclear attack and maintain a sense of normality in the subsequent fallout and nuclear winter.

The Hunt for Red October, 1990

The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy thriller film directed by John McTiernan, produced by Mace Neufeld, and starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, and Sam Neill. The film is an adaptation of Tom Clancy’s 1984 bestselling novel of the same name. It is the first installment of the film series with the protagonist Jack Ryan.

Rhapsody in August, 1991

Rhapsody in August (八月の狂詩曲, Hachigatsu no rapusodī or Hachigatsu no kyōshikyoku)[a] is a 1991 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa based on the novel Nabe no naka by Kiyoko Murata. The story centers on an elderly hibakusha, who lost her husband in the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, caring for her four grandchildren over the summer. She learns of a long-lost brother, Suzujiro, living in Hawaii who wants her to visit him before he dies. American film star Richard Gere appears as Suzujiro’s son Clark.

Hava Aney Dey (Let the Wind Blow), 2004

Hava Aney Dey (English: Let the Wind Blow) is a 2004 Indian Hindi-language drama film written and directed by Partho Sen-Gupta. It stars Aniket Vishwasrao, Nishikant Kamat, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Rajshree Thakur in the lead roles. “India is in the throes of the new global economy. The new capitalist order is changing people’s lives. But a new war of ideals is separating the old values from the new… There is also the war with Pakistan… the two brothers who are fighting for Kashmir. The two countries have equipped themselves with Oppenheimer’s deadly toy.”

Nagasaki 1945, The Angelus Bells, 2005

Full movie. Directed by Seiji Arihara.

The Road, 2006

The Road is a 2006 post-apocalyptic novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. The book details the grueling journey of a father and his young son over a period of several months across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed industrial civilization and almost all life. The novel was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006. The book was adapted into a film of the same name in 2009, directed by John Hillcoat.

The Book of Eli, 2010

The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western action film directed by the Hughes Brothers, written by Gary Whitta, and starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, and Jennifer Beals. The story revolves around Eli, a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world who seeks to deliver his copy of a mysterious book to a safe location on the West Coast of the United States. Filming began in February 2009 and took place in New Mexico.

In this Corner of the World, 2016

In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に) is a 2016 Japanese animated wartime drama film produced by MAPPA, co-written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kōno. The film is set in the 1930s–1940s in Hiroshima and Kure in Japan, roughly 10 years before and after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, but mainly in 1944–45. In the film, nature and traditional culture in Japan are clearly described and contrasted with the cruel and irredeemable scenes brought by the war. Though it is a fictional account, the official guidebook of the film claims that the episodes and background of the story are based on facts and real incidents of the lost townscape of pre-war Hiroshima damaged by the bombing, as researched by the production staff.

Chernobyl, miniseries, 2019

Chernobyl is a 2019 historical drama television miniseries that revolves around the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the cleanup efforts that followed. The series was created and written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. It features an ensemble cast led by Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and Paul Ritter. The series was produced by HBO in the United States and Sky UK in the United Kingdom.

Oppenheimer, 2023

Oppenheimer is an upcoming biographical thriller film directed, written and co-produced by Christopher Nolan about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weapons. Based on the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, the film stars Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, with a supporting ensemble cast including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh.