60th anniversary screenings of Stanley Kramer’s cult 1959 drama adapted from Nevil Shute’s best-selling novel
“Made during the height of the Cold War...anyone who watches On the Beach, if they have a beating pulse, will take stock of their own existence. The acting and direction are first rate.” - Cold War Film & Culture
Set in 1964, in the (then) near future, Melbourne's residents stoically continue to go about their business as radioactive clouds drift south from a nuclear-devastated northern hemisphere. Traumatized by the loss of his wife and children in the United States, Captain Dwight Towers (Gregory Peck) takes temporary refuge in Melbourne with the crew of the nuclear-powered submarine he commands. Naval officer, Peter Holmes (Anthony Perkins) and his wife Mary (Donna Anderson) introduce Dwight to the disheartened but alluring Moira Davidson (Ava Gardner) and scientist Julian Osborn (Fred Astaire, in his first non-musical role), who are each in their own way grappling with their imminent fate.
Shot on location in San Francisco, Melbourne and locations around Port Phillip Bay by Italian cinematographer and soon-to-be Visconti collaborator, Giuseppe Rotunno (Rocco and his brothers, The Leopard), Stanley Kramer’s Oscar-nominated film premiered simultaneously in cities worldwide including London, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo and Melbourne in December 1959 to impress upon audiences the global reach of the film's themes.
To celebrate the film’s 60th anniversary, On the Beachscreens exclusively at ACMI in a 35mm print courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive.
- DIRECTOR: Stanley Kramer
- Duration: 134 mins
- Country: United States of America
- Language: English
- Date: 1959
- Format: 35 mm, Black & White
- Courtesy: Park Circus
- Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
- Rating: PG (Adult themes)