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Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
30 Years Ago Today

Here's the opening to a "Movie 11" presentation of Threads - a harrowing, deeply depressing look at the immediate and long-term effects of a full-scale nuclear war. This British film makes The Day After look like an episode of Gilligan's Island.

Just take your ol' Uncle Fuzz' advice - don't ever watch this movie - just don't. You'll feel better, trust me.

Features a quick bit of Fuzzy modification at the end, just for some morbid fun. ;-)

Voice over by Don Ferris.

This aired on July 22, 1987.

WTTW Channel 11 - Movie 11 - "Threads" (Opening, 1987)

Here's the opening to a "Movie 11" presentation of Threads - a harrowing, deeply depressing look at the immediate and long-term effects of a full-scale nuclear war. This British film makes The Day After look like an episode of Gilligan's Island.

Just take your ol' Uncle Fuzz' advice - don't ever watch this movie - just don't. You'll feel better, trust me.

Features a quick bit of Fuzzy modification at the end, just for some morbid fun. ;-)

Voiceover by Don Ferris.

This aired on local Chicago TV on Wednesday, July 22nd 1987.

Click here to search for related videos.

This clip aired on Wednesday, July 22nd 1987, and is included in the following categories:

Viewer Comments

I've heard about a 1965 BBC drama called The War Game (not to be confused with the very similarly-named Doctor Who serial "The War Games") which was also about the effects of nuclear war on Britain. It was originally scheduled to air that August 6, which was the 20th anniversary of the A-bomb droppings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, the BBC later said "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting" and it was pulled from the schedule. It wouldn't air in its entirety until July 31, 1985 on BBC 1. It was shown in some movie theaters, and Peter Watkins, the writer, director, and producer, won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Wikipedia says The War Game paved the way for The Day After and Threads.

As for Threads, it was produced in 1984 by the BBC. I'd say Threads was more terrifying than The War Game.

P.S. One review said Threads made The Day After look like A Day at the Races.

Comment posted by IAmNomad on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 1:12am.

The "War Game" is available on Netflix and is really interesting and not too upsetting given the changing times. "Threads" is not available anywhere as far as I know.
Comment posted by Tommy33 on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 8:26am.

I just read on Wikipedia that the original script for The Day After was dramatically altered to meet such things as TV standards and government restrictions. If that had not happened, I wonder how it would have stacked up against Threads.

Unfortunately, the original script was never filmed for a possible theatrical release or for home video.

Comment posted by IAmNomad on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 5:51pm.

Speaking of "The Day After," someone posted the whole thing on YouTube: http://youtu.be/r2B7sdLPMfc
Comment posted by HUdson 3-2700 on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 7:14pm.

I saw this film twice; the US premiere on WTBS via cable with Ted Turner assuring viewers that the movie wasn't suitable for viewing for anyone with a piece of mind and second time on WKBD with the station's General Manager George Williams doing the same. On TBS, I only got to see the point where Sheffield was destroyed, and the carnage that followed. At age 11, that's when my parents wanted us out of the room. But on 'KBD I got to see it in its entirety. And this was in 1984 and 1985.

As Fuzzy said: don't ever watch this movie. Believe me, if you like a horror story, watch Halloween, Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. Those are close to fantasy than Threads, which was (and is) close as you can get to reality, including a nuclear Holocaust. And yes, it makes "The Day After" look like "a walk in the park."

But if you do, its available on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MCbTvoNrAg

On the other hand, I'm confused Fuzzy about the clip end; was Sheffield being struck by the Soviets at the same time the RAF was on alert, or did the RAF F4 Phantom drop a bomb on the hill by accident?

Comment posted by Detroit4Chicago on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 9:20pm.

"On the other hand, I'm confused Fuzzy about the clip end; was Sheffield being struck by the Soviets at the same time the RAF was on alert, or did the RAF F4 Phantom drop a bomb on the hill by accident? "

I don't know, but it sure ended the movie in a hurry. ;-)

In any case, there is a tendency for a morbid curiosity with these films - however once you "get" the basic message that nuclear war (especially on a global scale) is unimaginably horrific, watching different versions of it just becomes less and less enlightening and increasingly depressing, to no purpose. Not to give more recommendations of movies to (un)watch, but to round out the unending-despair trilogy, one must also mention 1983's Testament - a film which many people have called one of the saddest films ever made.

Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 9:45pm.

Also - I believe on local Chicago stations, Threads was first shown on WFLD, in 1985 or 1986 if I recall correctly. I have some promos and bumpers from this airing. They also had a "town hall" special of some sort following the program - I wish I could find a copy of it, I'm sure it would be pretty interesting to watch.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 9:49pm.

Threads first aired in Chicago on WFLD on Monday June 24, 1985.
Comment posted by Phantom on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 10:08pm.

Thanks Chris. What about the WTBS American premiere? What date was that? It would also be interesting to see Ted Turner's intro for it.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 10:13pm.

The film was shown on TBS, Sunday, January 13, 1985 according to Wikipedia. I think it was at 9 PM Eastern time, 8 PM Central. In addition to Ted Turner's statement of warning, according to my vivid memory, another brief disclaimer advising parental guidance and discretion and a brief synopsis of the plot was delivered by an off-camera announcer in Paul Frees-like style, then the film commenced. I think TBS had a brief intermission for those to have the opportunity turn the channel if they thought it was too extreme, and just before the doomsday climax, another parental advisory was shown and then back to the film. (I can't say much more about the film except I assume no sponsor wanted to advertise after the climax.)

As for WKBD, they were commercial free without interruption, except to have the General Manager come on before the climax to warn what was going to happen next. After the conclusion of Threads, a brief BBC documentary titled "On the Eighth Day" was broadcast. Not as explicit as the film, but it gave a blow-by-blow description on what would happen in any society if a nuclear war had occurred. Very informative and educational, even after a longgrueling film to see.

Comment posted by Detroit4Chicago on Monday, October 22nd 2012 at 11:11pm.

Good God -- Testament is so depressing. I can't hear "All My Lovin'" by the Beatles without thinking about the ending. I guess the Milwaukee ABC affiliate wouldn't show "The Day After," which I was too afraid to watch as a kid and didn't finally watch until I was an adult. By that time, the nuclear scene in "Terminator 2" was far more realistic than anything "The Day After" could muster.
Comment posted by Joey G on Wednesday, October 24th 2012 at 12:27pm.

Just to throw another of "those" movies on the pile, there was a Japanese anime movie from the 1980s called "Barefoot Gen", about a young boy who survives (barely) the Hiroshima bombing. It aired a couple of times on 26 (or was it 28?) when they used to run Japanimation movies on Saturday nights. Jarring, to say the least.
Comment posted by SuperCFL on Wednesday, October 24th 2012 at 3:48pm.

This warning is way too mild for "Threads." It should say, "By the time this movie ends, you will be huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth, clutching your teddy bear."

One more for the pile is "When The Wind Blows," which is an animated feature from the mid-80s about a sweet elderly British couple who die slow deaths from radiation poisoning after a nuclear war. (I couldn't remember the title, but it's the first hit on a Google search for "depressing animated movie about nuclear war.")

And there's also the 1950s version of "Testament," an episode of "Motorola Television Hour," "Atomic Attack." On YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J3HOaU9E5U

Comment posted by JMDocs on Wednesday, October 24th 2012 at 8:18pm.

Ok I didnt take my ol uncle Fuzz's advice...I watched the movie and all I have to say is Jesus people have some messed up thoughts in their head
Comment posted by OwenRock on Thursday, October 25th 2012 at 8:39pm.

I'll bet I could watch this like any other movie. I watched Night Train To Terror with a big 'ole bowl of popcorn and never batted an eye.
Comment posted by Pete on Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:23pm.

@Pete - It's not that it's scary; it's depressing. Your time is better spent elsewhere.
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:27pm.

Ahh. I see what you mean now. My curiosity has been piqued though. :-/
Comment posted by Pete on Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:39pm.

Curiousity depressed the cat. :-/
Comment posted by FuzzyMemories on Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:43pm.

LOL!
Comment posted by Pete on Friday, October 26th 2012 at 11:44pm.

The disclaimer read by Don Ferris seems awfully mild compared with the descriptions of ones that preceded earlier airings on other outlets. Lots of programs "contain material which may be considered adult in nature" -- that wouldn't have been enough to scare me off.

One thing I know for sure -- they certainly wouldn't have run this in the midst of a pledge drive!

Comment posted by T.K. on Saturday, October 27th 2012 at 11:48am.

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This clip has been viewed 1464 times.
This clip debuted on FuzzyMemories.TV on Sunday, October 21st 2012.
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