Around the fall 0f 2009, a movie was released in theaters. This movie involves science fiction and a global disaster and was titled The Road starring Vigo Mortensen. The movie is based on a book written in 2006. I will take the time to examine past movies that have a similar genre.
By 1945, the American public had received news about a single bomb destroying an entire city of Hiroshima in Japan. This would mark the first time that the American public would become familiar with what was now known as the atomic bomb. Back then, people simply referred to it as "the bomb". If you did not say the word bomb in a plural form, it usually meant an atomic bomb that was sufficient enough to destroy an entire city. Unfortunately, the evolution of military technology did not rest on its laurels. During World War Two, the Germans unveiled the first ballistic missile ever to be used in war –the V2 rocket. Following the war, the V2 rocket became the building block for rockets and missiles. Somewhere along the way, someone apparently came up with the idea of incorporating the destructive power of the atomic bomb and transplanting it into a missile. This would be the basis for nuclear missiles, better known as Nuclear Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or ICBMs for short. The Germans actually toyed with the idea of making an atomic V2 rocket but the plan was destroyed by way of sabotage by the Allies. Still, the idea of developing nuclear armed missiles would contribute to both the arms race and the Cold War. Somewhere along the way, people began to worry about the possibility of a nuclear war, especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The threat of nuclear war is indelibly part of the Cold War. By the early 1960s, Hollywood and other foreign film industries tried to depict a world after a nuclear war or the next third world war. A good example was the 1959 movie On the Beach.
The bulk of the production for the movie On the Beach was done by Australia's film industry that would later make its mark in the 1980s. The movie was rather interesting in its way it depicts the world after the "bomb". When we look at what is left of San Francisco after the war, we notice that the city is virtually intact and untouched by the bomb. The noticeable difference is that the city is deserted and devoid of life. Maybe that is supposed to be the idea in the movie, that cities are deserted because all the people are dead. The absence of people is supposed to be symbolic of the fact that the war killed everybody. Australia is the only country to survive the war but not for long. The radiation fallout from the nuclear weapons that destroyed the cities would contaminate the rest of the world. Those that were killed by the nuclear detonations died quickly; those that were unfortunate to survive would die a slow agonizing death. The people of Australia opted to take poison rather than to die slowly from the radiation contamination. Like the movie Soylent Green, euthanasia is depicted near the end of the movie. Like San Francisco, Melbourne becomes a deserted ghost town and the final scene in the movie shows a banner hanging over city hall reading, "There is still time Brother." By the year 2000, there was a remake of the original movie but the Cold War was already over nine years earlier. The remake still depicted the fact that the threat of a nuclear war, however limited, was still real and still exists. The remake also gave a more visible depiction of radiation sickness than the original movie. Both movies are available on DVD and are strongly recommended viewing. Like the movie The Road, there is no happy ending.
A soldier, of all people, prays for peace.
….General Douglas MacArthur