On The Beach' is a film about the end of the world, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and others. It is set in a time after a third world war, when nuclear conflict has literally made the northern hemisphere uninhabitable and human civilisation only remains in the southern hemisphere - specifically Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But the nuclear fall out which has poisoned the top of the world, slowly and inexorably moves down towards the last human beings on the planet - threatening to annihilate the species. From Wikipedia:
The Australian government makes arrangements to provide its citizens with free cyanide pills and injections, so that they will be able to avoid prolonged suffering from radiation sickness. One of the novel's poignant dilemmas is that of Australian naval officer Peter Holmes, who has a baby daughter and a naive and childish wife, Mary, who is in denial about the impending disaster. Because he has been assigned to travel north with the Americans, Peter must try to explain to Mary how to euthanize their baby and kill herself with the cyanide should he be unable to return in time.
Discovering a mysterious morse code signal coming from America, a small band of men set off to learn if humanity has in fact survived somewhere in the north - only to find that the signal is nothing more than the result of the wind knocking a telegraph key, and is just random. More from Wikipedia:
The characters make their best efforts to "enjoy" what time and pleasures remain to them before dying from radiation poisoning, though they sometimes engage in behavior that, on the face of it, seems ridiculous. The Holmeses plant a garden that they will never see; Moira takes classes in typing and shorthand; scientist John Osborne and others organize a dangerous motor race that results in the violent deaths of several participants. In the end, Captain Towers chooses not to remain with Moira but rather to lead his crew on a final mission to scuttle their submarine beyond the twelve-mile limit, so that she will not rattle about, unsecured, in a foreign port – even though the impending demise of everyone renders such an action pointless.
And so we are all in a similar predicament to the characters in 'On The Beach', and life itself is a terminal illness with death a certainty for everyone. But we don't have to be infected with radiation or wait for WW3 to live out the last of our days in happiness. You can start now, if you want to.Go Top