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Happy Fortieth Anniversary, “Testament!”

Forty years ago today, Lynne Littman’s Testament was released. Testament is a 1983 drama film based on a three-page story titled “The Last Testament” by Carol Amen (1933–1987), directed by Lynne Littman and written by John Sacret Young. The film tells the story of how one small suburban town near the San Francisco Bay Area slowly falls apart after a nuclear war destroys outside civilization. It was one of the films, along with The Day After and Threads that portrayed life after a nuclear war, mostly in response to an increase in hostility between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Originally produced for the PBS series American Playhouse, it was given a theatrical release instead by Paramount Pictures (although PBS did subsequently air it a year later). The cast includes Jane Alexander, William Devane, Leon Ames, Ross Harris, Lukas Haas, Roxana Zal and, in small roles shortly before their rise to stardom, Kevin Costner and Rebecca De Mornay. Alexander was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.