In movies, does dropping a nuke EVER help a situation? (SPOILERS, probably)

Certainly there’s a long list of nuclear war-themed films from the '50s on where one or more bombs go off. Among the more recent ones, the OP already cited The Day After, to which I’d add Miracle Mile and arguably Terminator 2.

Extending Diceman’s theme, though, I’d add Broken Arrow to the list of films where the bad guys’ bomb goes off more-or-less ineffectually.

I also recall an episode of the old Tales of the Gold Monkey TV series that foreshadowed the Broken Arrow scenario. The protagonists were trapped on an island where a Nazi atomic bomb was to be test detonated (don’t even ask). Unable to disarm it, they dropped it into a lagoon in a volcanic crater, said to be many thousands of feet deep. The detonation was thus sufficiently dampened to save the heroes, as well as to convince the Nazis on their offshore U-boat that the bomb was a dud, and thus to go home and forget the whole thing.

Broken Arrow was a bit more believable by comparison.

The nuke works in Dune, where Paul blasts a hole through the shield wall, letting his Fremen wormriders come pouncing in.

Of course, he later loses his eyes to a terrorist nuke in the next book …

And of course, nukes fix the broken planet like a charm in [cough]The Core.

Speaking of nukes in Babylon 5, don’t forget the nuke Sheridan used to destroy the Mimbari flagship in the prequel movie, In the Beginning. That’s three nukes from Sheridan, which must make him the most nuke-happy hero in popular fiction.

Its nice fiction , but that movie was so offbase it should have been the paraody that dr strangelove was.

It was not failsafe ,lol, it was actually faildeadly , but I imagine that failsafe sounded better as a movie.

Second , i dont think that it was legal for the president to order a comparable bomb dropped on new york, but it probably made for some nice fiction as well.


The conceit followed neatly from the “MAD” mindset of cold war pop culture, but practically speaking, I doubt the Soviets would have seen any benefit to letting us off so easily. It would have much better served their purposes to accept the accident as an accident, albeit one caused by “American trigger-happiness and warmongering”, use the resultant political leverage to seek disarmament concessions from the US, demand hefty reparations and economic aid, and generally milk their victim status for all it was worth.

In fact, given the political damage that could result from the Soviets “turning the other cheek”, perhaps the order to nuke New York would make some sense for the President after all. Now there’s a nice level of pitch-black cynicism for some kind of remake…

I saw a cheesy movie a while back where the Prez gets stuck in some po-dunk diner in a snowstorm during some world conflict.

It turns out he nukes (some mid-east city, Bagdad maybe?) fully expecting to trigger a retaliation. It turns out that he knows in advance that everyone else nukes are duds (after all, we sold them to them!). Well, the bad guys shoot them off and they all fail. The Prez then basiclly says, “Okay! We Bad! This is the way things are gonna work around here from now on!”

Pretty poor movie as I recall, but then, most are.

“Lets get them meek bastards NOW!

In various WWII movies it works quite well.

In the new Hulk movie, the gamma bomb dropped on Bruce and dad at the end probably did more good than harm. It didn’t destroy the Hulk, of course, but it did seem to kill off Elemental Freak. Or at least, if he did survive, it at least disrupted his immediate attempt to attain absolute power, which has to count for something.

Let’s up that to at least four times…

[li]Sheridan destroys the Black Star in “In the Beginning” with a nuke.[/li][li]He also takes 2 nukes to Z’ha’dum to destroy their city, and Anna.[/li][li]He mines the asteroids at Corionis 3 to get the Shadows’ and Vorlons’ attention; they got pissed, according to Lyta.[/li][li]He personally flies the backpack nuke into the alien jumpgate in “Thirdspace”.[/li][/ul]

And all this before he became President.

Most of what i read on usenet it probably would have been a very tense time, most likely unless his cabinet was very loyal he probably would have been relieved under the 25 amendment and then impeached.

This was after the george clooney remake, so it was grist for the mill again ,after so many years

I’d obviously forgotten the recent Clooney remake of Fail-Safe.

I seriously doubt that the Joint Chiefs and Air Force chain of command would follow such an order unless all concerned, down to the level of the officer actually launching/dropping the weapon, were truly convinced that it was the only way to avoid an all-out nuclear war. Keeping it quiet would then be a function of how many people weren’t convinced, and had to be worked around. Pretty unlikely, unless you’re of the “Black Helicopters and Contrails” political affiliation. Something like this would, after all, dwarf a mere assassination or airliner downing…

I don’t remember – was the conceit of Fail-Safe that the US would nuke itself and then pretend that it was Russian retaliation? Or would it do so openly, asserting that it was “necessary” to prevent all-out war? Why not simply invite a Russian retaliatory strike at their discretion, thus avoiding the murderous implications of doing it ourselves?

And here are some links of possible interest to those of a conspiracy-minded bent and an interest in the idea of nuclear self-abuse: An author named Peter Vogel apparently claims that the Port Chicago munitions explosion in 1944 was actually an intentional test of a uranium-based atomic bomb. Some critics accept the idea that it was a nuclear explosion, but assert that it was accidental. I’m inclined to think it’s all absurd. A conventional munitions explosion could easily be powerful enough to account for the event, and certainly some of the parties involved in the Manhattan Project would by now have let slip that they had actually completed something several months early. Nevertheless, I offer the links for your collective paranoid enjoyment. :wink:

Well it was a fictional movie , and as such the plot in the movie had to have some kind of balance to keep from going off the deep end , into a nuclear abyss.

Most of the people that have commented on it , regarding the legality of it , tend to view it in todays world view , rather than when the book was written/movie was made.

No , if I remember right , it had to do with automating the system and then making it so secure that an accident of this nature becomes mans folly , rather than an act of god. Henry Fonda was making sweeping statements about how man started it , man can stop it.
As for the rest including the port of chicago, more than one ammo ship has gone boom, with an explosion in the kilo or megaton range. I am just guessing at the moment , but the halifax harbor blast in 1917 was essentially a 30 kiloton explosion , and unfortuneatly for halifax , this was above the waterline, rather than below the water line as what happened in port of chicago


I dunno if this counts, but in Predator, the Predator’s own mini-nuke blows him up, while sparing friend Ahnuld. So the good guy doesn’t set it off, but the explosion does have a benevolent result.

Just to clear up any confusion, Port Chicago wasn’t the port of Chicago. Port Chicago was, naturally enough, located in California.

Was it a nuke or something else? They mentioned something about it possibly drilling into the core of the planet. Though it possibly had some radiation because it destoryed his eye tissue.

In Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the Mutants living in the Ruins of NYC have a cobalt bomb that can destory the earth. The ape army gets inside and the head mutant arms the bomb before being killed. Charleton Heston’s character from the first movie gets shot, but manages to set it off before dying.

The one that breached the shield was atomic. Not actually sure about the difference between an atomic and a nuclear weapon, but I assume there is one. Still, probably close enough to count.

Paul was later blinded by something called a “stoneburner,” but addition detail, at least in that particular book, are not provided.

I know. Instead, you had Goldbloom’s character getting drunk and whining how nuking the aliens was the worst possible thing they could do. I would think if any situation warrented using nuclear weapons, it would be that one.

Ooops , sorry to all the chicago area peeps.