These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: The Day After
Alternate Character Interpretation: Is the President just trying to cheer up the survivors? Does he actually believe that the nuclear war was worth it because it was preferable to Soviet oppression? Or is he a callous monster?
Hilarious in Hindsight: The President whose speech is broadcast near the end of the movie was originally intended to be George H.W. Bush, but the producers cast a Reagan impersonator instead. The flak they received by this caused them to edit the film, replacing the Reagan soundalike with a "stereotypical Presidential voice" - a voice that sounds remarkably like that of Joe Biden, elected Vice-President 25 years later.
Nightmare Fuel: While this entry is required to be on YMMV by TV Tropes rules, there is zero doubt that everyone with half a brain who was alive at the time it was shown found it extremely disturbing to know it could happen for real at any moment.
Among those affected included President Ronald Reagan, who said he had been shocked and deeply disturbed by the movie.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: In a time when people were all too willing to have a nuclear war, this needed to show that it was a suicidal idea to do so. Thank God that the anvil hit the heads of the right parties, and detente quickly followed.
This is summed up by the disclaimer that states that the effects of a real nuclear war would be far worse than what was in the film.
Unfortunate Implications: Years after the movie was released, the writer and director themselves admitted that they'd fallen into this trap by making the white and Asian male characters (on average) calmer, more rational, braver, and more steadfast than the black and female characters. The writer was most disturbed by his treatment of McCoy the black airman, who panics, disobeys orders, deserts his post, and is reduced at the end to a quivering, irrational, screaming madman. He is the only major black character, but every minor black character but one is seen panicking or terrified, while whites around them act calmly and rationally even when the circumstances would call for panic.
Although he can also come off as the Only Sane Man among the soldiers, as the only one who doesn't want to keep standing guard over what is now a worthless hole in the ground just because they don't have any orders to stop.
A worthless hole in the ground that in all likelihood is about to be blown up by a nuclear missile.