Testament

1983

Testament

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,257
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Movie Info

Director Lynne Littman has created an effective, understated portrayal of the cost of a nuclear war in human terms, in a film as far removed from the fake hyperbole of action and disaster movies as the natural world is from cartoons. Set in the small California town of Hamlin, the Wetherly family and their everyday concerns open the story. The trivia that fills their secure, ordinary existence disappears when a TV show is interrupted with the announcement that nuclear bombs have exploded in the major cities on the East Coast, and then the entire scene is erased in an increasingly white, blank movie screen -- meant to show that nuclear blasts have been detonated in California as well. Over 1000 people die in the first month from radiation sickness, but the mother in the Wetherly family (Jane Alexander) displays great inner strength as she cares for orphaned children the family has taken under its wing and goes on sustaining those that remain in her own family. At one point, she quietly conveys to her daughter the happiness of intimacy between two adults, knowing her daughter will not live to experience adult love. As these individuals and the children cope with day-to-day existence, there is never any intrusion of overt horrors, the focus remains on the individuals and the way in which they adjust to the inevitable.

Cast

Jane Alexander
as Carol Wetherly
William Devane
as Tom Wetherly
Ross Harris
as Brad Wetherly
Roxana Zal
as Mary Liz Wetherly
Lukas Haas
as Scottie Wetherly
Leon Ames
as Henry Abhart
Lurene Tuttle
as Rosemary Abhart
Rebecca De Mornay
as Cathy Pitkin
Kevin Costner
as Phil Pitkin
Mako
as Mike
J. Brennan Smith
as Billdocker
Lesley Woods
as Lady Mayor
Wayne Heffley
as Police Chief
David Nichols
as Worried Man
Gary Bayer
as Angry Man
Martin Rudy
as Dr. Jenson
Jamie Abbott
as Boy Mayor
Rocky Krakoff
as Pied Piper
Clete Roberts
as Newscaster
Jesse Wayne
as Man in Line
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Critic Reviews for Testament

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Testament

  • Apr 30, 2014
    Testament is open forgotten about in the rather small canon on films that depict nuclear disaster and for good reason..it's good but it pales in comparison to the edgier Threads in capturing likely actions after a nuclear blast.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 01, 2011
    These people were incredibly stupid! They were just fartin' around their little town putting on kiddie plays and going to church, pretending shit's normal. They survived for MONTHS after the bombs. They didn't have to stay there and die off one by one. I know they were trying to make the movie as depressing as humanly possible, but it still didn't make much sense. Kevin Costner had the right idea: get the hell outta Dodge! Who knew he used to be Mr. Smartypants? The town didn't start getting sick for quite some time, and none of them had any rad burns, which lead me to believe that their food/water was contaminated. However, the scene where homegirl is rubbing her face in dirt screaming all kinds of nonsense, makes it seem like the soil was radioactive. Which I guess makes sense, since they were burying the bodies instead of burning them. Whatever though, they shoulda just booked it from the fallout instead of waiting for daddy to come home.
    Stevie S Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2008
    Very understated drama about the aftermath of a nuclear war. This film is the direct opposite of The Day After and has no flashy special effects, no explosions, scenes of mass devastation and so on. Instead the focus is on an American suburban family which has to contend with the inevitable effects of World War III. Testament shows very effectively the possible reality of what would have happened to any small town in America if a nuclear attack had happened in the early eighties. Jane Alexander does a great job as the mother trying to keep her family together during the beginning of the end. I would recommend this movie for the serious movie watcher who is looking for more substance and drama from a movie rather than action and suspense. Remember to recycle your batteries. <a href="http://s273.photobucket.com/albums/jj203/goji9000/?action=view¤t=testament-2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj203/goji9000/testament-2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    El Hombre I Super Reviewer

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