Threads, a 1984 BBC television movie, is an all-too-believable tale about the destruction of the Yorkshire city of Sheffield (and the world) from nuclear war. I watched it several times in the 80s and 90s — a foundation made VHS copies available to libraries — and ran across it again last night while browsing on YouTube last night. It is among the most frightening and doleful films I’ve ever seen.

The sense of terror, anguish and loss is little diminished by the dated look or the references to the Soviet Union or West Germany. You feel for the characters because they try to live normal lives as the world sitation — dominated by the US and USSR; Britain seems to have little control of its own fate — tips out-of-control, leading to destruction. Perhaps I’m refecting my age — I was born in 1969 and was a teenager in this period — but I’m amazed we survived at all.

This week, buried in the insurance reform debate news, I noted the hope of a new Russia-US nuclear arms reduction treaty and said a little prayer.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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