17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grim,honest and compelling watch......
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...
Published on 30 Jan 2003 by Mesmer
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great film ,dodgy dvd
What an absolute nightmare! The prospect of living (or existing) after a nuclear attack has never been portrayed with more realism than this absolutely shocking but totally gripping film. The images are intense although don't expect ground breaking effects. This film doesn't need them and keeps you focused more on the characters and their misery. The matter of fact...
Published on 9 Jan 2001
Most Helpful First | Newest First
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grim,honest and compelling watch......,
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 films...in 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.Melting milk bottles,howling firestorms,buildings sundered and flattened like sandcastles before the waves....charred bodies,limp and dying pets on the street,hideous burns and radiation sickness are only the most readily apparent of the horrors yet to come.The scenes are without doubt, graphic and distressing, as befits such a topic.It concludes with the grim and pityful struggle for survival over the coming 13 years and the next generation of surviving children growing up with little language/literary skills and an extremely bleak future in a medieval existance.Threads is a land-mark piece of drama in world television,it deals with a subject so awful and extrapolates the consequences all the way to their logical conclusions; leaving the viewer with no gloryfication or glamorising of nuclear war or nuclear weapons......just the honest,visceral,grim but compelling truth.If you want something more in the vein of mills and boon then watch 'The day after',it by contrast, is very lame indeed and i would suggest a viewing of 'The War Game';now declassified and on dvd.It was the forerunner and probable model for which Threads was scripted around twenty years later.....deemed too shocking/controversial at the time(BBC-1965)to be aired and was suppressed ,for twenty years, by the BBC. I, for one, am glad that this has been made and someone had the professional guts to realise it......the public shouldn't be patronised and molly-coddled just for political expediency.More of a public information film/docu-drama than entertainment;everyone should see this at once in their life.....the world is still a very turbulent place and Threads is just as relevent now as it was at the height of Cold-war hysteria.After all, the lines are not so nearly as clear as they once were.....
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this - you need to see it,
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.
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking and deeply disturbing.,
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.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most truly horrific film ever made!,
By A Customer
I was about 15 when I first saw this nightmarish TV film. It scared the hell out of me then and it's impact now is no less harsh, despite the apparent thawing of the cold war. We are guided through the international problems leading to the eventual nuclear attack, in an all to realistic way, by news bulletins and glimpses of newspaper headlines. The tension leading to the outbreak of war is almost unbearable, made worse by a familiar belief among some of the characters that nothing will happen! We see the immediate horror of the attack; heat, blast the fallout settling on the flattened Sheffield. More importantly we are forced to face the reality that even 13 years later we are still scavenging around in the ruins of our cities looking for scraps of food. There is no government, no health care and very little value stamped on human life. As we are reminded by the CND speaker addressing the crowd earlier in the film 'You can not win a nuclear war!' Things may have changed in the politics of east & west, but the threat remains real and the concept of 'Mutual assured destruction' still applies in the 21st century as it did in the late 20th. The American attempt at a nuclear disaster movie 'The Day after' was not a patch on this, inevitably watered down so as not cause the American public too much distress, and shatter their belief that winning a nuclear war was a possibility. However, lets get one thing straight about 'Threads' It has NO entertainment value at all. Thats why it works.
73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant,
The original screening of this TV film terrified any number of viewers and reviewers (and even traumatised - look at what other Amazonians say!!) back in the mid 1980s. It is so thoroughly realistic in its suburban English setting (naturally mildly dating it), and in its realisation of the underlying emotion of 'real people', that it's impossible to feel detached.
I personally (in my teens) couldn't stomach it all, and only watched the full film on a worn video in 1998. It brought back the full horror, the pessimism, the complete sense of insecurity of growing up under threat in the 1980s. The political climate may have changed (or has it? Look at the fictional news reports in the film . . .) but the 'Threads' of society are what the film is really about. Are they stronger now, or weaker? What would happen if such a thing happened in the 2000s? This is why the film is still relevant.
I watch this film occasionally, at the very least because the feeling of suspense is so skillful. Ordinary, domestic, things are going on - and then a teleprinter will chatter a fragment of doom over the top. At first matter-of-fact, and gradually more chill sets in. Characters can't sleep (neither will you!), and when the mushroom cloud finally appears, you can only feel the awe voiced by one of the characters, frozen to the spot: '. . . they've done it . . .'
I suspect a lot of people were haunted by that phrase. You care for all the different characters, empathise with them. And then . . . the world we know vanishes (even dear old Woolworths) and hope goes with it, forever. The grating roar of poison wind sets in. This packs a punch, and when the film finishes, you'll want to open the window and breath fresh air, quite honestly. Back in the 1980s, I'd already turned off. Watch it now - as history lesson, science fiction, or powerful drama.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most shocking and terrifying films in western cinema!!,
I first watched this film when i was about 15 (i'am 19) and as with pretty much everybody else it sacred the **** out of me.
A very bleak depiction of a nuclear war and it's short/long term effects.
this film never manages to let up on it's vicseral and shocking nature it even goes to the point with dead cats mutilated on the streets.
I been trying to avoid watcing this damn film for the past four years and yet i am always some how drawn back to it and yet i can't really explain why.
This was the film that got me really asking questions about the world. why do we do this sort of thing all the time but on a much smaller scale way to each other (i still haven't found the answer) and in many ways i think threads is the natural conclusion to what man can do to itself if it't doesn't take a step back and look at a situation from a diffrent perspective.
This is one of those films that you can't ulitmately rate until you have had a good couple of years to muse it over that's why i have decided to buy it
Brilliant, terryfing film a must see
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frightening & disturbing, even 20 years later,
By A Customer
I first saw 'Threads' when I was in England on a band tour in 1985. At that time I only saw part of it - including the attack itself - and it left haunting images. When I found it 5 years later in a video store & rented it again, it gave me nightmares for a week. It was so terrifyingly real.
It follows the story of 2 families in Sheffield, England. Sheffield is home to RAF Finningley - a likely warning center for attacks against the UK by aircraft or ICBMs, as well as a base for USAF F-4 Phantoms. It's also home to major industries such as steel, energy & chemical production, which make it a prime target for attack. The main characters - Ruth Beckett & Jimmy Kemp - are about to marry after an unplanned pregnancy enters their lives. Half a world away, the Soviets have invaded Iran, hoping to convert it to a Soviet satellite state. The Americans, the U.K., the U.N and NATO angrily condemn the Soviet invasion, but the Soviets defiantly defend their invasion & blame the Americans.
Ruth, Jimmy & their families pay little attention to the crisis in Iran, concerning themselves with finding a new home and getting ready for their wedding & the baby. Things worsen when the Soviets sink a U.S. submarine, and the Americans subsequently issue an ultimatum for a joint withdrawal from Iran. When the Soviets ignore it, the Americans hit the Soviet base with conventional weapons launched from B-52s. The Soviets retaliate with nuclear-tipped air-defence missiles, resulting in the loss of multiple B-52s. The Americans strike back with a low-yield nuclear weapon against the Soviet base, and the exchange stops - for now.
By now, the UK government is issuing 'Protect & Survive' books to its citizens, and PSAs are airing on BBC-TV & radio. Anti-Soviet riots break out in both the UK & communist East Germany, and peaceful demonstrations against nuclear war take place throughout the UK. Civil Defense officials are ordered to bunkers by the British Home Office, subversives are arrested, and fire engines are redeployed from their halls to a safe location after the Soviets sink a U.S aircraft carrier and 2 nuclear explosions occur in Iran.
One day in May, Ruth decides not to go into work, but when her mother tries to call her in sick, she discovers the phones are not working. This is the government's disconnection of non-essential phones, to keep the lines available for communications between the government & military. By 8:30 am, the Civil Defense officials have assembled in the bunker and are meeting, when suddenly an announcement comes over the loudspeaker: 'Attack Warning! Red! Attack Warning! Red!'. This is the UK Nuclear Attack Warning System's official warning of attack by aircraft or missiles. Seconds later, the air-raid sirens start to wail, and panic breaks out! At 8:35 the first Soviet missile salvo hits RAF Finningley and we get a frightening look at a mushroom cloud behind Sheffield. Minutes later a second one hits Sheffield. The images during this sequence are especially haunting - burning milk bottles, a hospital & homes exploding, industrial sites burning, a raging firestorm. Narration during the film explains meticulously what is going on - as fallout settles, radiation poisoning sets in, looters start to appear. Ruth leaves her fallout room in her home where she was staying with her parents, and walks into a hellish world without public order, health care, food, or electricity, and man is reduced to his lowest instincts just to survive.
The documentary-shooting style adds to the film rather than detracts from it. It goes to great lengths to explain the long-range effects of radiation poisoning & nuclear winter - the outbreak of primitive diseases such as cholera as well as elevated rates of cancer d/t the gamma radiation. Director Mick Jackson does not try to sugar-coat the horrific reality of what World War 3 might have been - the credits list many prominent scientists who consulted with the filmmakers as well as the British Ministry of Defence & Home Office.
While the acting is occasionally wooden, most of the characters are believable. They are people we can identify with and who might even seem like our own families. Director Jackson also gives them enough screen time before the attack to allow the characters to develop & allow the audience to get a sense of identifying with them.
Although the USSR no longer exists, the events this film portrays show what could have been - and what still might become - had some insane officials decided to launch a full nuclear strike against the UK. The nuclear threat remains today, although greatly reduced, from countries like North Korea, China and Iran - but more likely from terrorists & their supporters than any of these states. Undoubtedly the most frightening and best made of all the 'Nuclear' movies.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gone In a Flash,
Anti-nuclear films were nothing new when "Threads" came out. Writers had imagined the consequences of a nuclear attack since the 1950s, when civil defense was actually taken seriously, and politicians tucked away in well-stocked shelters believed it would be possible to reconstruct. While writers did anticipate the possibility of extinction, the aftermath of the conflict was always played down or underestimated. "Threads" shows us the unmitigated suffering survivors would face in which the effects of a very short war would persist for generations. The viewer comes away from the film knowing that the people who died instantly in the explosions would be the fortunate minority. With the lingering radiation and ultraviolet light, children born several years down the track would inherit nothing but defective genes and weak immune systems.
With disturbing clarity "Threads" depicts a 3000 megaton nuclear exchange in which civilization is all but destroyed. This all happens because of a dispute between the United States and the Soviets over some oil fields in Iran. Within a matter of hours, the industrialized world is gone, and the survivors are forced to cope with what the unseen politicians had left them: relentless cold, widespread famine, epidemic, and the long-term effects of radioactive pollution. In the ruins of Sheffield, where the film takes place, the aftermath is spelt out for us with unforgettable images and horrifying facts told by a dispassionate narrator.
"Threads" is the first anti-nuclear film to feature a nuclear winter. When "Threads" was made the theory was fairly new and controversial. While most of the general public imagined radiation being the major killer after a nuclear attack, nobody had really thought of the changes made to the climate by all the dust in the atmosphere. Due to lack of sunlight for an indefinite period, the majority of survivors would die of cold and starvation rather than radiation sickness.
A very good non-fiction book people should read is "Nuclear Winter: the Evidence and the Risks" by Owen Greene. It makes chilling but informative reading. In fact, it's like "Threads" in book form, with its statistics and scenarioes, the effects on agriculture and medicine, and a map of Britain covered in circles indicating the bomb blasts. The book was published one year after "Threads" came out.
One of the things that makes "Threads" so effective is all the things we don't know. Presumably, it was only the Northern Hemisphere that was bombed. Would Australia and New Zealand have been left untouched? The "Nuclear Winter" book mentions a policy in which countries not even involved in the conflict would still be bombed, in order to prevent them becoming the new dominant power. So China probably got its share of nuclear explosions too. Did the Royal Family survive? "Threads" reminds us how easily we could lose everything because of irresponsible leaders. Usually in war, it's only the civilians who suffer, never the leaders. It's a good idea to be careful who you vote for. That politician could be the one who destroys the world.
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling depiction of 'a corpse of a country'...,
What can I add to the other reviews of Threads? I'm not the least bit surprised that this little-known work of dark, twisted genius has become a cult classic.
As another reviewer said, standard 'horror' movies like Saw or Hostel are scary because you know all along that it's tomato ketchup. Threads is absolutely bloody terrifying, because the scenario it depicts could happen, did happen (to an extent) in 1945 and in all likelihood will probably happen again one day in the future. It takes an event that no-one would ever want to imagine or think about too deeply and hits you in the face with it, in all its harrowing, visceral, nightmarish hideousness.
Do not make my mistake and watch Threads alone, or late at night. If you do, don't expect to sleep that night, or for the next few nights. Fully expect to be haunted by burning cats and charred babies. I can only reinforce what others have said - that this is definitely not for children, young teenagers or those of a nervous / sensitive disposition.
Regardless of its powerful and important message (it has certainly affected my opinion of the kind of governments capable of developing such wicked devices) I can understand why it would seem that many were traumatised by Threads as teenagers. Teachers should seriously consider the audience before screening this in class.
Threads represents the pinnacle of the twentieth century British tradition of post-apocalyptic fiction, a genre of which I am a big fan, but unlike most books / movies in this category, the scenario remains highly plausible and there is not the faintest glimmer of hope at the end, not for anyone.
A must-watch, but only if you think you can handle it.
81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most moving and disturbing film of all time,
By A Customer
Threads is a no-holds barred, no punches pulled account of the horror of nuclear war. There are scenes still burned into my mind, despite the fact that I last saw it over a year ago. The milk bottles melting on the doorstep when the fireball hits, the woman peeing in terror at the sight of the mushroom cloud, and the devastated hospital full of dead and dying babies hit you for six.
Threads is not a slick, polished Hollywood producton, but a narrated documentary style "play" which depicts the human tragedy of nuclear war in the most horrifying, and presumably realistic way possible.
The government, police, armed forces, schools, hospitals, power, food and any resemblance of organised society are wiped out with the blast. In the shattered remains, people kill each other for scraps of food. Babies are stillborn and deformed. Bodies lie charred in what remains of the streets, and kids grow up unable to speak in a non-existent society. The ruling authorities are gone, and 13 years on, the city looks the same as it did 10 minutes after the Bomb. It's terrifying and numbing, yet holds a grim fascination.
This film doles out shock after shock, yet despite the sheer unadulterated horror, it is not gratuitous gore and violence in the Hollywood sense. Instead, it's the work of a film-maker depicting one of the most horrible subjects known to man, in a way that leaves the audience under no illusion as to the realities.
The most powerful, gripping and shocking film ever made. Everyone should see it at least once.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Threads (1984) [DVD] by Mick Jackson (DVD - 2013)