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quietearth [Celluloid 08.23.07] post apocalyptic

Year: 1984
Director: Mick Jackson
Writers: Barry Hines
Cataclysm type: Nuclear War
IMDB entry: IMDB
Trailer: link
Amazon link: link
Post apocalyptic concentration: 8 out of 10
"Mad Max" level: 1 out of 10
Review by: wilcoy
Rating: 9 out of 10
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Key Characters:
Ruth Beckett (Karen Meagher)
Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale)
Mr. Kemp (David Brierly)
Mrs. Kemp (Rita May)
Mr. Beckett (Henry Moxon)
Mrs. Beckett (June Broughton)
Bob (Ashley Barker)

Threads is a docudrama set in the Cold War era of 1984. The film has two parallel story lines that eventually intersect. One bigger story line depicts how The United States, NATO, and The Soviet Union spiral out of control into all out nuclear war. While the great countries of the world are on a collision course, two families from Sheffield, England, which is near a NATO air base, are going about their daily lives. These two families will face the brunt from a direct hit on their city and the film depicts the destruction, and survival of their families months and years after the holocaust.

The Story:
The bigger story shows how an invasion by the Soviet Union into Iran leads the United States and NATO into unpredictable events. Both Nations and NATO make terrible mistakes in misjudging each others intentions and first a plane gets shot down then the other side accuses the other of directly attacking the other and then a ship gets fired on and eventually both sides are locked into direct confrontation. Out of this a total of 210 megatons worth of nuclear warheads fall on the UK causing blast casualties (immediate) between 2 1/2 and 9 million.

The second story and most important one in the film depicts two families who are preparing for their son and daughter to get married. Unfortunately world events intervene and a nuclear missile strikes Sheffield which takes us into the second part of the film.

Sheffield is completely destroyed and most of the population is dead. UK population numbers may decline to medieval levels. The daughter who was to be married before the attack is the only one left out of both families and is pregnant. She has the baby girl shortly after the nuclear holocaust and then the film follows the young girl a decade and a half after the apocalypse.

The Rating:
The film is so believable in its documentary style depiction that one can get sucked in and truly believe what is happening. I first saw Threads in 1986 while the Cold War was still in full swing and I must say it scared the heck out of me. No other movie showed such an alternative reality that truly solidified my feelings about nuclear war. Threads should be shown to all Senior High School kids around the world. I believe it is a good deterrent as to why such weapons should never be used again. I recommend this movie but beware, this doesn’t hold back and if you scare easily or have a weak stomach you might not be able to watch. I rate it an overall 9 out of 10.

Recommended Release: The Day After

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Elwood (14 years ago) Reply

I'm glad to see threads up here. It was the film (well... tellyfilm) that got me into PA way back when. It's incredibly atmospheric - I do feel the best bit about it is the sense of mounting tension as hostilities escalate - I think Barry Hines really caught the noone-can-quite-believe-it's-happening element.

A brilliant piece of work.


Brett (14 years ago) Reply

I agree, it's an astounding film which is very hard to watch -- but everyone should watch it, anyway. My own review (of sorts) can be read here:


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

And since I didn't write the review, I third that! It's an amazing movie, and I would definitely agree with wilcoy's top 100 of all time rating.


Anonymous (14 years ago) Reply

I first saw it at age 12, when it was broadcast on PBS in 1985. Scared the hell out of me. I'm now 34, and it still scares the hell out of me. I own a copy on DVD, but I seldom can bring myself to watch it.

It pulls no punches at all, and makes The Day After look like a rerun of Friends.


drlaza (14 years ago) Reply

thanks for this site and everything for u who created this. i like PA, and started to love it when played Fallout 2 when i was 12. Now im waiting for Fallout3 to be released and im 17. I watched Threads today and i can tell u that this is really a scary movie and quite good. also very believable.


Chris Allen (13 years ago) Reply

As someone who was born in Sheffield, "Threads" is especially unsettling. I'm used to seeing New York or London devastated, but not Sheffield. Interestingly, the city "copped it" yet again in the ITV drama "The Last Train" (aka. "The Cruel Earth") which is well worth a look (a large meteorite strikes the southern hemisphere, causing a massive freeze-up)

There's a remorseless brutality about "Threads" that spares very few punches. A slightly edited version exists with some of the bloodier bits removed. I myself have copy of the unedited version and there is a copy to be found on Googlevideo as well.

Things have (inevitably) changed a bit since the film was made. The Town Hall extension where the emergency committee are based has since been demolished and the nearby NATO airfield is now Robin Hood international airport! Plus I should mention that Sheffield doesn't always look as gray as it does in "Threads".


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

As another Sheffield-ite , i can say that yes .. it really is that gray

As for threads , it spwaned a bout of mad nuclear nightmares that stayed with me for years , very gritty .. the effetcs may look laughable by todays CG standards .


Louise (13 years ago) Reply

I have been searching for the name of this movie for years. Thank you for your site. This film has stuck in my mind as the best of its kind that I've ever seen in 65 years.


Dave (12 years ago) Reply

Beleivable, gritty and definately very frigthening. Made even more so by the grimness of Northern England in the early 80s. Sheffield back then was, as most cities in the UK were, plagued by unemployment and not much hope. A city falling into decline anyway. Got there now and you wouldn't recognise it, it's a great city. I'm from Liverpool by the way, which looks like it had a nuclear strike until a few years back. Most denizens of the city look like fallout mutants anyway.


dylan scott (12 years ago) Reply

i cant believe you liked this movie its soo bad hilariously bad i don't know mabey its cause im canadian and am not amused by shitty british movies but it fucking gargles balls 9 out of ten my ass.


tenmoon (11 years ago) Reply

dylan scott - you weren't supposed to be amused. Toronto's Club 54 is where you go for that. Perhaps you're too young to appreciate
the reality that hung over us for 40 years.
We can understand.


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

can see it for free on google video


rachel gunn (11 years ago) Reply

I first saw the movie when I was 12 and it gave me nightmares for a month. I just saw it again last night at age 34. It is easily the scariest movie ever made and so real. It is very creepy even moreso because it is from the eighties and in sheffield. i definitely recommend it if you want to watch something scary.


tenmoon (11 years ago) Reply

rachel gunn - I whole-heartedly agree. This film is not about "amusement" as an above poster seems to think. It's about the dark, hopeless scenario that for decades, could have become real at any time. I'd suggest that no one who's a realist should miss this top-notch film.


Lenamn_99 (11 years ago) Reply

This movie scared the hell out of me and somewhat took away a piece of me that I never got back and I was an adult when I saw it.


sauron (11 years ago) Reply

Threads is quite easily the best nuclear war film ever made. I first saw it as a child back in 1985 when it was shown on TBS, and it gave me nightmares for months. That movie stayed with me for a long time, and I was just as easily scared by it watching it again just a few years ago. Those of you who didn't grow up during the Cold War simply don't know what it's like to live thinking that all life could end at any moment. Thank God those days are over.


Bobby (10 years ago) Reply

The Day After Movie is more accurate as compared to Threads. The character Ruth and his child would have not survived for 13 years after the war especially they are living above in the surface which they are exposed daily to radiation pollutants.
In the Day After movie those that were exposed to radiation fallout died in the few days like airmen McCoy. But both movies truly depict that the Earth will never be the same again after WW III and if they are humans left on earth they will be like Caves men with less intelligence and disfigured appearance.


zeroxtrpo (10 years ago) Reply

Hey guys,

Im new here im sam.

I hope everyone is good!

I look forwards to being active here :)

see you all on the forum


Terry (10 years ago) Reply

I also saw this in the US when it first aired. I was 21 then and at 47 I am still horrified. It gave me nightmares and I am watching again on youtube so I am sure I will have more.


cheapestwowgoldrfy (10 years ago) Reply



AK (9 years ago) Reply

Just saw the film last week for the first time and it's still scaring me! (I was a student in sheffielf '91-'97)


chainlightning58 (8 years ago) Reply

I was born in the very, very last years of the Cold War and fortunately missed out on a lot of the associated fears. However, growing up near a possible target (Chicago, USA), the nightmares lingered with my parents for many years. Until watching Threads for the first time, I had been watching a lot of movies in this genre. Threads is the most terrifying movie I have ever seen and it's a thought-provoking terror that sits with you for a few days. For those who scoff at the production quality, I think the fact that today's CG technology ISN'T used makes it seem even more real.


JasperHatt (7 years ago) Reply



Joey Manic (7 years ago) Reply

Quite simply the best post-apocalyptic movie ever made. Don't get me wrong, I like the Terminator movies for example. But on them you get the idea that not only did humans happily survive, the entire Max Factor and Colgate range did too.

This is the real deal. A must-see.


S (7 years ago) Reply

I live in the United States (even as far as to loan my dvd copy to a good budy of mine), Well as I told hime and what I Belive is EVERY WORLD LEADER from large AND Small nations should watch thus movie, perhaps it would know some sense into the leaders


Claire (7 years ago) Reply

I have spent years trying to remember the name of this movie and finally today, I spotted a reference to it in an article..

What can I say about this movie? Harrowing, horrific, terrifying and soul destroying. I watched this as an 11 year old, I remember it was shown on Channel 9 in Australia, commercial free, a huge event and advertised as such. A few decades later and it still haunts me. While I had forgotten what it was called, I remember every single part of it, in vivid details. I didn't sleep for weeks afterwards, and it will probably remain with me until I die. I haven't watched it since then. My son is nearly 11 and I often wonder if I could ever let him watch it, as we were advised to watch it back in the mid 80's - it was almost recommended viewing back then.. And there is no way I would ever let him watch it. I don't think I could live with myself if it scarred him as it did me. I might give him a copy when he turns 21.

It is one of the best and worst movies I have ever seen in my life. In the day of special effects and animation, it is rare to consider that this movie was so brilliant and without the millions spent on special effects. It is this rawness that makes it so brilliant and so horrible at the same time. I don't know if refreshing is a word I would use, but really, this is a movie that one has to see to believe as no words can ever convey the way it drills itself into one's psyche and stays with you for years and years. While my husband has never seen it and he isn't sure he wants to see it, I feel jealous that he remained unscarred but also saddened that he may never see something that brilliant. Once seen, it can never be unseen and its imagery will remain with you. I don't think I could watch it again. Remembering it from back then is bad enough. But I will never regret having seen it.

Either way, I recommend it, but it is not something that one should undertake to watch lightly. It is haunting and too realistic. But brilliant.

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