One of many post-apocalyptic B-movies made during the Cold War, this 1962 flick was directed by Ray Milland.

Milland stars as Harry Baldwin, patriarch of the Baldwin family of Los Angeles, off to the mountains for a vacation with his wife Ann (Jean Hagen) and their children Rick (Frankie Avalon) and Karen (Mary Mitchell). During the drive, they notice a mushroom cloud in their rear view mirror. Over his family’s objections, Harry rightly refuses to return to LA. They stock up on food and supplies and hunker down in the mountains, contending with looters, survivalists, and motorcycle gangs. The movie is quite earnest and serious, but perhaps because of this tone it is difficult to take it seriously, despite the fact that it is realistic and not at all outlandish. The most interesting aspect of the film is watching Harry Baldwin’s gradual transformation from civilized family man to something resembling one of the savage elements he struggles to protect his family from.

Reportedly this film was the inspiration for the Steely Dan song “King of the World”.

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