August 06, 1990 12:00 PM

NBC (Mon., Aug. 6, 9 P.M. ET)

A

Fill out your Emmy ballots now. The makeup, special effects and stunt people will win with this one, big time. And the writing and the actors in this unrelenting tale (commemorating the 45th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, see page 34) ain’t too shabby either.

Most notable are Max von Sydow as a German priest, Tamlyn Tomita as a U.S.-born Japanese woman and Brady Tsurutani as a kid named Yoshi. Pat Morita (as Tomita’s father-in-law), Stan Egi (as a stoic doctor) and Judd Nelson and Ben Wright (as American POWs) add nice touches.

The horror of atomic war is made all too clear. And the Japanese—neither faceless villains nor hapless victims—are humanized in a way that Hollywood has rarely seen. There are no good guys or bad guys. Only lots of questions (such as, did the U.S. need to drop the A-bombs to save American lives?) that will no doubt spark discussions Tuesday at the watercooler.

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