TV movies don’t always get a lot of credit since they’re not always on par with their blockbuster competitors that appear on the big screen, but there are those that manage to capture the attention of audiences all the same since they happen to be filmed in a way that is deemed worthwhile and thus set them apart from many others. TV movies sometimes have to work much harder just to grab the attention of viewers and even harder to keep it for various reasons, one of which is because it’s so readily accessible that it’s seen as less of a luxury than movies on the big screen are, since going to the movies is considered a recreational experience by some, while watching TV has long since become a very commonplace thing, especially in the current era. There are plenty of TV movies that have been discussed at length over the years, some of which might actually still be relevant today, but the fact is that when they came out they were either considered to be important for a while and then faded off, or they were ignored for the most part and only celebrated by those that saw something beyond the mild hype that was given to them.
Here are five of the best TV movies that have ever been created.
Technically this was a miniseries, but in the last several decades it’s been handled as a movie with many different parts as the story of an Englishman that was first taken prisoner and then accepted by a Japanese Lord that comes to see his value after being saved by him more than once. As he continues to show his worth to the Lord, the main character delves deeper and deeper into the culture until he is finally granted the title of samurai and is accepted as one of them, more or less. The story is one that a lot of people might end up watching in high school, but it does a great job of showing just how brutal and confusing one culture can be when viewed by someone from a different background.
For such a simple story there was enough action and suspense in this movie to make it worth watching, and looking back now it’s likely one of them any movies that might have given rise to movies such as Joy Ride starring the late Paul Walker and Steve Zahn to many other automobile-driven movies. One doesn’t really think about how terrifying it might be to have someone following them for miles and toying with them on the road, especially when the antagonist is driving a much bigger vehicle that can plow its way through quite a few people before really getting serious. The end was kind of anticlimactic, but it still worked.
3. Brian’s Song
This is lauded as a football movie as well as a very effective drama, but it speaks to the unity between individuals that many want so badly but few ever really manage to push for in a positive manner. As a movie based on real life, but obviously, with some differences thrown in due to creative license, this movie has withstood the test of time as one of the most touching and powerful stories of its time. People still remember this movie in a big way even if it doesn’t get as much attention as it did back in the day. When football season rolls around this is just one of the many stories that people might be thinking about.
2. The Day After
At one point in history, nuclear war felt like a very real possibility, and this movie made it clear what people thought would happen should such a thing kick off. Thankfully nothing of the sort has happened since then, but at the same time, it’s interesting to ponder just what might happen since the whole idea of nuclear warfare terrifies a lot of people and makes them think of what would change and how life would be forever altered if such a thing did happen. Movies such as this make a good point when describing just how the world would change dramatically in such a situation.
There’s not much else that needs to be said about this title since it was another miniseries, to be honest, but as with Shogun, it’s been touted as a movie ever since considering that watching just one part won’t give the whole story. But following two families during the course of World War II, this movie goes into a great deal of morality, necessity, and the idea of what happened and what had to happen when it came to surviving the terrifying and terrible experience that so many didn’t walk away from. To be fair, it’s one more reason why humanity needs to take a look at itself from time to time.
TV movies can make as big a point as blockbusters if people pay attention.