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On The Beach [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins, Donna Anderson
  • Directors: Stanley Kramer
  • Writers: John Paxton, Nevil Shute
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, French, Greek, Romanian, Italian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 3 May 2004
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001P1BR0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,679 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

In the year 1964, nuclear war has wiped out all life in Earth's northern hemisphere. After discovering San Francisco to be devastated and deserted, US submarine commander Dwight Towers (Gregory Peck) and his crew head for Australia, where they each cope with the situation in their own individual ways while awaiting the fall-out that will kill them: scientist Julian Osborn (Fred Astaire) achieves his life's ambition of winning an auto race; while naval officer Peter Holmes (Anthony Perkins) considers taking his life; and Towers finds romance with good-time girl Moira Davidson (Ava Gardner), who is determined to take one last chance at love.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon on 21 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
This is the film that for me captures the terror I felt as a child, growing up at the height of the Cold War; it is bleak and intense, with scenes that are forever etched in my mind. It's one of the great films of that era ("Seven Days in May" and "Fail Safe" are others) that I can watch repeatedly, and their power and impact are never diminished.
Based on Nevil Shute's best seller, and brilliantly directed by Stanley Kramer, the use of sound effects combined with Ernest Gold's Oscar nominated score is very effective. Sometimes the simplest noise set against complete silence is ominous, and gives the feeling of the desolation of empty cities.
As time runs out, people try to avoid the "morbid discussion" of what awaits them, and some make the most of those precious days, weeks and months, like the elderly scientist Julian (in an exceptional performance by Fred Astaire), who completes his dream of being a race car driver.
Both strong and tender, Gregory Peck is fabulous as Dwight Towers, the commander of a submarine, who has trouble accepting that he is alive, while his family are victims of the "monstrous war". The woman who falls in love with him is Ava Gardner, who has spent far too much time being consoled by a bottle of brandy. The plot is filled out by Anthony Perkins and Donna Anderson, a young couple facing the fact that their baby has no future.
In the late 50s and early 60s, the scenario in this film was all too real; we face other dangers now, but there was something truly chilling about those Cold War years, and this film vividly brings back the memory of them. Total running time is 134 minutes.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Toptani on 12 Mar. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of my all-time favourites, far superior to the more recent version and - very unusually - I think it is even better than the novel. The condition of the video is excellent, although I always remember it as being in colour and was a little disappointed to find it was in fact in black and white - not that that detracted at all from the wonderful direction and acting. A. T.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By David Fletcher on 22 Jan. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This movie sums up the feelings and fears of the sixties in the shadow of the bomb, atomic war and aftermath. The story line is faultless as is the content. Each actor/actress is perfect for the roles they play, Gregory Peck being at his best. One of the very few movies that sticks to the original story, so rare. If you watch this movie and you are not deeply moved, I would say you are already dead. The pace of things is exactly right, leading up to the final shots, which must be termed as the most dramatic ending ever. I have watched this movie many times and I never cease to be moved. Although this movie is of my generation and times, my children watched it (age 20 and 22)and were as moved as much as me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By r a price on 15 Sept. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have watched this movie time and time again on DVD and was pleased when I found it had been transfered to Blu-ray.
I give it 5 stars for story content, but I am a little disappointed at the quality of the transfer. Mostly the quality is very good but there are a couple of sections of the movie where it looks as though they copied from a slightly damaged negative, I think if they were going to do the transfer they could have found a better print to copy from. Although having had my little whinge I will still recommend this movie to anyone who is thinking of buying it as the minor defects are not bad enough to spoil your enjoyment.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Calypsopiper on 18 Mar. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
That is the message displayed on the Salvation Army banners as Humanity slips into extinction. There are no explosions, no bodies, no physical horror or special effects whatsoever....and more importantly, no hope. The plot is well covered by other reviewers, so I'm giving nothing else away.
This B/W 1959 film by Stanley Kramer based on a novel by Nevil (A Town Like Alice) Shute, will haunt you for the rest of your life. Not often repeated on afternoon TV, buy this DVD to show your children and grandchildren how really brave and talented film makers were, before they became a meaningless dross factory.
The only choreography that Fred Astaire oversees is the Dance of Death. He is simply sensational in this straight acting role as the scientist, Julian Osborne. All the suffering of the world is etched in every line on his face. Peck plays Peck, one of the greatest screen actors of the 20th Century expressing the qualities of leadership, integrity and vulnerability in Dwight Lionel Towers, commander of the American submarine USS Sawfish.Ava Gardner is perhaps a little old and glamorous for the role of Moira Davidson, Peck's love interest, but she does OK.
Pre Psycho, Anthony Perkins, as Lt. Cmdr. Peter Holmes, Royal Australian Navy, is devastating as he assists his wife and baby in mutual suicide in the privacy of their bedroom. This relays a horror, greater than anything in Hitchcock's vivid imagination.
This is a real film, about real issues and real people, by real actors. As I said before, buy it, it's probably the only chance you'll get to see this classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JeanLouise on 12 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film deals with the way the last survivors of a nuclear war, living in Australia, spend their final days before radiation reaches them. The subject matter could make it sombre and depressing to watch but, in the main, I enjoyed the storylines of each individual and found it an entertaining film. Gregory Peck is fine as his usual strong upright character, and Fred Astaire equally good as the racing driver winning his last race. It was hailed on its release as one of the most important films coming out of Hollywood. Well, maybe so then, considering what it was about. I just thought it was a good story, well told.
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