Film: Miracle Mile

Miracle Mile is a 1988 drama written and directed by Steve de Jarnatt. Harry (Anthony Edwards) makes a date with Julie (Mare Winningham), but his alarm clock fails to ring and he oversleeps. Instead, Harry receives an anonymous phone call, and the panicked caller tells him that nuclear strikes have been ordered, and all-out nuclear war will begin within the hour.

The call turns out to be a wrong number, the caller is interrupted by someone else who tells him it was a joke as gunfire is heard in the background, and Harry is left wondering whether the news is legitimate. The remainder of the film is spent more or less in Real Time as Harry looks for Julie, tries to confirm the news, and wonders what to do next.

Miracle Mile provides examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 1; if the voice on the phone is telling the truth, much of the United States and Soviet Union are dead.
  • Cold War: Possibly giving way to World War III.
  • For Want of a Nail: If his alarm clock had rung, Harry would have been out with Julie and wouldn't have gotten the phone call. Harry realizes this in the third act, and wonders why he couldn't just have found out like everybody else.
  • Genre Shift From Romantic Comedy to apocalyptic drama.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The film starts as an ordinary romance between two quirky young adults, until Harry gets the phone call.
  • Hope Spot: The helicopter to safety.
  • Unreliable Expositor: The anonymous caller.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The film is told entirely from Harry's perspective, so we never find out what happened to the other diner patrons or staff. When the car thief reappears near the end, he's clearly had an adventure as crazy as Harry's but he dies before he can explain what happened to him.