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  • Threads [DVD] [1984]
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Threads [DVD] [1984]

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Product details

  • Actors: Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale, David Brierly, Rita May, Nicholas Lane
  • Directors: Mick Jackson
  • Writers: Barry Hines
  • Producers: Mick Jackson, Graham Massey, John Purdie, Peter Wolfes
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Sept. 2005
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009S9LNK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,680 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Documentary-style account of a nuclear attack on Sheffield during the 1980s. Ruth Beckett (Karen Meagher) and Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale) live in Sheffield and are busy preparing for their upcoming marriage. When Russia invades Iran, hoping to bring the country under its influence, tension is increased throughout the West, and particularly at the local R.A.F. base. Blissfully unconcerned with world events, Ruth and Jimmy carry on with their wedding preparations. However, when two Russian ICBM's hit Sheffield, turning the landscape into a radioactive desert, Ruth and Jimmy are forced to face up to the harsh reality of life in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.


Hideously plausible when first broadcast in 1984, this BBC TV docu-drama now seems like a terrifying might-have-been, although a great deal of what it says about the probable aftermath of a nuclear attack remains horribly pertinent. Scripted by Barry Hines (author of the novel on which Ken Loach's Kes was based) and directed by Mick Jackson (who later went to Hollywood with The Bodyguard and Volcano), at the time Threads seemed like a response to the American TV movie The Day After although it stands nobly on its own. Showing the after-effects of World War III on the United Kingdom by concentrating on two Sheffield families linked by an unplanned pregnancy, it illustrates the scientific, political, medical and social consequences of the severing of the many vital connective "threads" that support a Western society. Grim in a particularly 1980s way, this is a compulsive if uncomfortable watch and accomplishes a great deal without the distraction of spectacle, picking through all the melted milk bottles and firing squad traffic wardens to find the human horror at the heart of it all. --Kim Newman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mesmer on 30 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
If you are like myself,have a liking for honest,gritty and 'straight between the eyes' drama,Threads is about as good/bad as it gets.Certainly not for the faint-hearted and brutally honest, it covers a fictional(although plausible)classic cold-war storyline of Warsaw pact/NATO forces clashing; over a very current political and economic flashpoint(namely Persian Gulf oil supplies) utimately leading to a massive east/west strategic nuclear exchange and the realisation of all mankind's nightmares in the aftermath.Centered around two families in Sheffield,linked by a respective son and daughter relationship, it traces the rapid,tense political and military build-up through the eyes of these families interspersed with radio/TV news background clips and documentary type fact files.It also addresses the city's preparations for war and civil defence measures(Think Blue Peter and you will have some level of how robust/laughable these measures are.See the recently released VHS of 'Protect and Survive' for more info on those public info the perspective of the circumstances ,the accompanying jingle music has a 'Friday the 13th' feel for all the reasssurance it creates.It is also,famously, narrated by Patrick Allen-the voice of doom.) The certain and predictable public order break-down and panic becomes more and more manifest as the military clashes begin and enevitably one side brings nuclear weapons into the equation at tactical level;starting the uncontrollable escalation and the beginning of the end.The following all-out nuclear strike on Sheffield(and the west) is managed and shot quite credibly even with 1984 TV effects and pulls no punches with the immediate and subsequent horrific damage/death wrought to property and people.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By RBC on 16 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD
Anyone who saw this when it was first shown remembers it. You don't have to remind them who was in it or what it was about to jog their memory. Just say 'Threads'. Everyone who watched it had the images stuck in their heads thereafter.

I watched this in 1984 when I was 18 and I never forgot it. As we now know, less than a year earlier in November 1983, a Russian officer, Stanislav Petrov, over-rode their automatic retaliation launch system 5 (yes, five) times. After the third time, he had to explain his actions to his superiors. We really were that close....

Everyone could feel the tensions. For those too young to remember, the international rhetroic was aggressive and the mood dark. This film captures that, plays on our worst fears and explores the terrible consquences. As many others say, it's the small details that make this. The news clips. The build up. The two main characters stripping wallpaper in the flat they've rented while the 'protect and survive' public information broadcasts play on the radio. The newspapers detailling how to build your own shelter. The panic buying in supermarkets - you can feel the dread, the fear. It was everything we were scared of and was brillinatly done.

Much is said about low budget. It really doesn't matter. The lasting memories of this are not that it was low budget. The lasting memories are the images of desolation and the overwhelming fear. It should be compulsary watching for all politicians and indeed anyone (from any nation) who thinks that nuclear weapons make sense.

Buy it, watch it, but keep it away from the children. A 'must have' in any collection, but not for the faint-hearted.
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 Sept. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is frightening, absolutely hideous. The film woke up fears in me that had lain dorment for years and I sure it will do the same for many people who have been lulled into a false sense of security since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the Berlin wall has collapsed and Russia is now our ally, the nuclear message is perhaps more relevant today with growing tensions between the U.S. and its enemies and terrorists trying to get hold of dirty bombs.
Truly one of the most frightening films I have ever witnessed, much more shocking than any horror film. Even "The Exorcist" doesn't come close to showing man's capacity for evil and the brutalisation of innocence.
This film brings it home how close the world came to ending. There is no hope in this film, no way out, no rescue, no happy ending, no winners. Only death and the end of civilisation. Britain, and we assume everywhere else, is plunged back into an irradiated Stone Age.
For me, the most frightening part is when a traumatised Civil Defence expert, locked in an underground bunker as the USSR drops thousands of megatons of atom bomb onto Sheffied screams in horror, "not another one!". That's all they can do! Completely impotent against the bombs.
We see society break down right in front of our eyes. The threads of civilisation come apart: one minute people are shopping in the city centre and going to the pub, next minute...
A tremendous but horrifying film.
I don't recommend this for sensitive viewers or people with a weak disposition. This film is not for the faint-hearted and not something to watch if you want to be entertained.
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