Well if you're looking to get completely bummed out then look no further than THREADS. Made for British television back in 1984, the first 40 minutes or so lulls the viewer in with the everyday life stories of a few people in Sheffield, England. Behind their stories you see news reports and people talking about the growing hostilities between the US and Russia. Before long it's all people can talk about and there's a rush on stores and tensions flare. Known dissidents are rounded up by the police and jets fly constantly overhead. Then it hits and all Hell breaks loose. For a 26 year old television movie I was shocked. Even with a low budget, THREADS rapes the shit out of modern day Hollywood disaster flicks that rely too heavily on CGI and not enough on story or getting actors that can actually act.
Some of the main characters die or disappear during the chaos and the ones that are left are completely f'd. Radiation poison, nuclear winter, no food, sickness, lawlessness, it's Hell on Earth. I'm not going to give it all away, but the story goes on for 13 years after the attack and it's just shit on top of shit the entire way. No happy ending for these poor bastards.
Honestly I can't see how anybody can not like this movie. Yea, it's a bummer, but I was riveted to the screen. It would have been cool if the BBC had made a THREADS television series. That would have been awesome!
Would make a great double-feature with WORLD WAR III. As for me, I'll be in my fallout shelter rereading McCammon's "Swan Song".