I just watched When the Wind Blows for the first time, and now I’m wondering how I hadn’t heard about it until so recently.  It came out in 1986, and was based on a graphic novel from 1983 but I only first read anything about it just a few months ago.  I downloaded it (torrent) back then, but just never got around to watching it until tonight, and I’m very glad I finally did.  The movie is great.

It’s a cartoon, but it’s definitely not for kids.  It’s the story of an older couple, Jim and Hilda, living in the countryside somewhere in England just before, during, and after a nuclear attack.  To say that they’re uninformed about the the effects of a nuclear war would be putting it mildly.  After hearing on the news that war is imminent, Jim follows the directions in a local government preparedness leaflet to build a shelter in their home.  It consists of doors leaned up against an inner wall, with pillows piled up outside it.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the shelter offers enough protection to allow them to survive the initial blast.  However, as you can guess, the actual bomb is just the beginning of their problems.

The first thing Hilda wants to do after the blast is “tidy up a bit” in case someone should come by.  You cringe as she starts sweeping up the dust, kicking up billowing clouds, all the while totally oblivious to the dangers of fallout.  “Well if you can’t see it and can’t feel it, it can’t be doing you any harm, can it?” she says.  I’m sure it’s not a spoiler to say that things don’t turn out well for Jim and Hilda.

Having been a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre since before this movie was released, I can’t believe I missed it all this time.  I don’t know if I would put it up there on the “must see” list of realistic PA dramas with Threads, and to a lesser extent, The Day After, but it’s definitely a worthwhile use of 80 minutes if you can get a hold of it.

In fact, I liked it enough that I immediately jumped on Ebay and grabbed a copy of the 1983 graphic novel.  It was only $8.50 shipped, and will be a nice addition to my PA book collection.