Berlinale: Programme

Film file


On the Beach

Das letzte Ufer

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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.

Stanley Kramer

USA 1959


134 min · Black/White · 35 mm

Rating R16


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


Stanley Kramer
John Paxton, adapted from the novel “On the Beach” (1957) by Nevil Shute
Director of Photography
Giuseppe Rotunno
Frederic Knudtson
Ernest Gold
Hans Wetzel, Walter Elliott
Production Design
Rudolph Sternad
Special Effects
Lee Zavitz
John O’Gorman, Frank Prehoda
Joe King
Stanley Kramer

Produced by

Lomitas Productions, Inc.
für/for United Artists Corp., USA

Copy: Park Circus, Glasgow