On the Beach

Das letzte Ufer
It is 1964. Nuclear war has unleashed fatal radioactivity upon the Earth. The cloud of fallout has not yet reached Australia. The American nuclear submarine USS Sawfish docks down under and is sent on a reconnaissance mission. Captain Dwight Towers and his crew, joined by two Australians, are tasked with exploring whether Australia might be spared from contamination by weather conditions in the northern hemisphere, or whether predictions that the fallout will reach the continent in five months are true. They are also tracking a Morse signal coming from San Diego. Can it be that, against all expectations, human life has survived in the US? ... Stanley Kramer’s melodrama of humanity’s last days conveys its message entirely without special effects or spectacular images of world-wide catastrophe. Streets devoid of people and the Golden Gate Bridge empty of traffic are enough to signal the end of the human race. With a cast of popular Hollywood stars, On the Beach concentrates on human relationships and desires when faced with a dwindling lifespan. But in addition to love stories, the film is clearly critical of the escalating Cold War arms race. The US navy refused to provide support for the film.
by Stanley Kramer
with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins, Donna Anderson, John Tate, Lola Brooks
USA 1959 English 134’ Black/White Rating R16


  • Gregory Peck
  • Ava Gardner
  • Fred Astaire
  • Anthony Perkins
  • Donna Anderson
  • John Tate
  • Lola Brooks


Director Stanley Kramer
Screenplay John Paxton adapted from the novel “On the Beach” (1957) by Nevil Shute
Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno
Editing Frederic Knudtson
Music Ernest Gold
Sound Hans Wetzel, Walter Elliott
Production Design Rudolph Sternad
Special Effects Lee Zavitz
Make-Up John O’Gorman, Frank Prehoda
Costumes Joe King
Producer Stanley Kramer

Produced by

Lomitas Productions, Inc.

Additional information

Copy: Park Circus, Glasgow

Stanley Kramer


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017