5 Best Cold War Movies

Whether you grew up during the Cold War or not, it's interesting to watch the five best Cold War movies. The phrase "Cold War" (1945-1991) came about because of tensions between the United States and the former Soviet Union. It was not an active war but a race to build nuclear arms and a competition for resources. Movies during the time reflected the grim situation should a nuclear war happen.

  1. "On the Beach." Filmed in 1959 and based upon the book by Nevil Shute, "On the Beach" centers around Australians faced with nuclear fallout slowly permeating their world after World War III. The government provides lethal injections and pills, with religious clergy preaching that committing suicide is permissible under the circumstances. While Naval officers travel via submarine to find the source of a mysterious telegraph signal, Australians live out their final days, making this film one of the five best Cold War movies.
  2. "Apocalypse Now."  "Apocalypse Now" is a 1979 film set in Vietnam and is considered to be one of the five best Cold War movies. The mood is dark and effectively captures what it was like to fight a war without end. The movie revolves around Captain Benjamin Willard's orders to find and kill the missing Colonel Walter Kurtz. In the end, Willard's tireless journey leads him to Kurtz's camp, with devastating consequences for both men.
  3. "Dr. Strangelove." Stanley Kubrick directed "Dr. Strangelove" in 1964, and includes brilliant acting by Peter Sellers, who plays three of the movie's characters (Dr. Strangelove, President Muffley and Captain Mandrake). The plot revolves around General Ripper's belief that it's time to attack the Soviet Union-only to find that the United States does not easily conquer the U.S.S.R., and his actions set off World War III. "Dr. Strangelove" is truly one of the best Cold War movies.
  4. "The Manchurian Candidate." "The Manchurian Candidate," released in 1962, makes it to the five best Cold War movies because of its dark look into how war affects soldiers. Bennett Marco and Raymond Shaw are more than traumatized veterans, both have been secretly brainwashed by a Chinese communist. As the plot unravels, viewers fall deeper into the spell of this movie, which takes a long and surprising look at American politics of the era.
  5. "Day the Earth Stood Still." One of the first of the five best Cold War movies, "Day the Earth Stood Still" was filmed in 1951. Typical of its period and genre, the special effects are slim but the message is convincing. Klaatu was sent to warn Earthlings to reconsider the nuclear arms race as these actions spelled certain death for all inhabiting the planet. A cult classic, "Day the Earth Stood Still" holds its place in film history and offers a look into the impending doom felt by the possibility of nuclear war.
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