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"The powers that be will get to us in the end."—Jim Bloggs
"The cake will be burned!"—Hilda Bloggs
When The Wind Blows is a 1982 comic book and 1986 animated film written by Raymond Briggs. There was also a BBC Radio adaptation of the original comic. It concerns the Bloggses, a mildly dim but cheerful elderly English couple, and their preparations for an imminent nuclear war. This war commences mid-story, and the focus switches on their efforts at keeping a stiff upper lip while waiting for help, all the while succumbing to radiation sickness.
A classic weapon of the anti-nuclear weapon movement, When The Wind Blows uses its bright colours, eccentric characters and art style similar to Briggs's classic children story The Snowman to hammer home the horrors of nuclear war, and make dark satire about government leaflets advising how best to survive a nuclear attack. Naturally, its child-like style in both art and the characters' personalities make it one of the more famous examples to come from the Animation Age Ghetto.
The film can be watched here.
When The Wind Blows provides examples of: Edit
- A Nuclear Error - Done on purpose, as the Bloggses don't quite understand the full effects of the bomb.
- Accidental Pun - Done several times, and not for comedy, since Everybody's Dead, Dave.
Hilda: He may be closed due to the bomb, dear.
Jim: What, old Sponge? Heh heh. Miss a day's trade? Oh not him. He'd rather die.
Jim: The milkman's not been yet. He's late.
Jim: Ron will be all right. He won't go to pieces. The whole family will stick together.
- Break the Cutie - The Bloggses are perfectly nice and harmless people, but Mutally Assured Destruction and radiation poisoning don't care about that.
- Catch Phrase - "It's the correct thing !"
- "The powers that be will get to us in the end."
- Cosy Catastrophe - Brutally deconstructed.
- Downer Ending
- Everybody's Dead, Dave - implied. The two main characters are supposedly dead, and so are many others - except you.
- Filk Song - "When the Wind Blows" by David Bowie (made for the movie, see Pop Star Composer below), and "When the Wild Wind Blows" by Iron Maiden (which replaces the ending with the couple mistaking an earthquake for a nuclear bomb and killing themselves)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar - "Don't you dare start any stimulating, James! I'm not in the mood!"
- Gosh Dang It to Heck - Being kindly English folk, the strongest language used in the comic is "Blimey!". In the film, as the bomb is approaching, James calls Hilda a "stupid bitch" to hurry her into the inner core or refuge. This has the effect of slowing her down as she stops to demand an apology.
- Idiot Ball - Partially due to not taking the whole thing seriously at first, and partially due to not fully understanding the concept of radiation, and simply misunderstanding the pamphlets leads the Bloggses to make some big mistakes. It only makes the situation that much more tragic, although the fact that their house was caught in the blast made their death by fallout extremely likely anyway.
- It Got Worse
- Mood Whiplash - The cheery approach the Bloggses take to the whole thing is made more heart wrenching as the story keeps cutting to the enemy preparing to launch the nuke, letting the reader/watcher know that yes, there is indeed a nuke coming. Even after the nuke comes, the Bloggses cling to their Cosy Catastrophe memories of surviving World War Two and try to remain optimistic about the whole thing.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome - The characters first appeared in an earlier work of Briggs's, Gentleman Jim. Apparently they were so well-received he brought them back - only to kill them off in a nuclear apocalypse!
- Truth in Television - There actually were government leaflets on how to survive a nuclear attack. Pretty much everything they do (when following it, at least) is exactly what the leaflet said one should do.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: The Bloggses. Mostly Jim, though. It's surpsrising how they are mostly optimism about the whole thing, save for a few worries here and there, especially near the end
- World War Two - The Bloggses remember it fondly, and keep occasionally thinking in terms of WWII combat when talking about the current war.
- World War Three - Takes place in the middle of the story.
- Write Who You Know - Jim and Hilda Bloggs were quite probably modeled after Raymond Briggs's own parents, at least if his later comic Ethel and Ernest is any clue.
Tropes specific to the animated film include: Edit
- Dark Reprise - the music to the rhyme on which the title is based shows up, sometimes to horrifying effect.
- Deranged Animation - The nuclear attack. In the comic, possibly even more terrifying, the two pages after the bomb are almost entirely white.
- Medium Blending - While it's an animated movie, every object related to trying to prepare for the fallout is conspicuously live-action. After the bomb hits, suddenly, most of the house and surrounding environment is either live-action or at least drawn to look very realistic.
- Pop Star Composer - Roger Waters did the score, David Bowie wrote the title song, and Genesis, Squeeze and Paul Hardcastle appear in the score too.
- Shout-Out - In the animated version, during their telephone conversation James' son quotes a line from Tom Lehrer's song We All Will Go Together When We Go.