7.1/10
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42 user 5 critic

By Dawn's Early Light (1990)

A non-NATO nuclear missile is fired from Turkey at USSR, where it detonates. Soviet response is automatic as it's seen as a NATO missile. Can continued escalation be avoided? We follow the US president and a bomber crew.

Director:

Jack Sholder

Writers:

William Prochnau (novel), Bruce Gilbert (teleplay)
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Powers Boothe ... Cassidy
Rebecca De Mornay ... Moreau (as Rebecca DeMornay)
James Earl Jones ... Alice
Martin Landau ... President
Darren McGavin ... Condor
Rip Torn ... Colonel Fargo
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Harpoon
Peter MacNicol ... Sedgwick
Glenn Withrow ... Tyler
Ronald William Lawrence ... Hooker
Kieran Mulroney ... Radnor
Nicolas Coster ... General Renning - 'Icarus'
Ken Jenkins ... Looking Glass Colonel - 'Sam'
Randal Patrick Randal Patrick ... O'Toole
Daniel Benzali ... Bascombe
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Storyline

The crew of a nuclear bomber attack the Soviet Union while the President of the United States tries desperately to regain control of his military after his helicopter crashes during a limited nuclear exchange in this film with a scenario similar to Fail-Safe (1964) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Originally a made for cable movie, it concentrates on the relationship between a veteran pilot and his female co-pilot and the president's attempt to wrest control away from a war-mongering successor. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Four People. Three Minutes. Two Choices. One Chance For Survival.

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Matte World Digital

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

24 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Grand Tour See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The following code words were used: The Day Word was "COTTONMOUTH"; the Command Word was "TRINITY"; and the Action Word was "JERICHO". See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, the various military alert levels are referred to as "ROUND HOUSE," "COCKED PISTOL," etc. These designations are only used during exercises, to ensure that there is no confusion as to whether an actual change in alert status is being ordered. However, in an actual crisis, such as the one depicted, the statuses would be referred to by their DEFCON (Defense Condition) numbers, from DEFCON 5 (for peacetime readiness) up to DEFCON 1 (for maximum readiness, i.e., war). See more »

Quotes

[Alice has just refused an order from the acting president]
Sam: They'll shoot you for this general.
Alice: Sam, old friend, I should find such an angel of mercy.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sledstvie veli...: Besy (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

DON'T CALL HIM A COWBOY
Written by Debbie Hupp, Johnny MacRae and Bob Morrison
Performed by Conway Twitty
Courtesy Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products, Music City Music Inc.
(administered by EMI April Music Inc) and Southern Days Music (administered by CMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Suspenseful techno-thriller
29 October 2013 | by januaryman-1See all my reviews

By Dawn's Early Light is tautly paced and very suspenseful.

It chronicles a mistaken nuclear exchange and the aftermath. The cast is very strong and extensive. There is much intrigue at work in BDEL and it involves players you wouldn't expect.

My complaint about BDEL involves some improbable happenings in the relationship between pilot Booth and co-pilot de Mornay. There is early establishment that Booth is the alpha of the pair. That is quickly and inexplicably reversed very soon after. Suddenly de Mornay is ordering Booth around and he follows instruction with no hesitation. Second, de Mornay has one eye exposed to a nuclear flash. She says she is blind in that eye. No more mention of the injury for the rest of the film. No visible evidence of the retinal burns. No red eye. No swelling. No watering. Nothing resulting from this painful injury. Baffling.

Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this 1990 HBO production. Back in the day....


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