On the Beach is a 1959 American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama film from United Artists, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on Nevil Shute's 1957 novel of the same name depicting a nuclear war and its aftermath. In 1964, in the months following World War III, the conflict has devastated the northern hemisphere, polluting the atmosphere with nuclear fallout, killing all life there. Air currents are slowly carrying the fallout south; the only areas still habitable are in the far reaches of the southern hemisphere. From Australia, survivors detect an incomprehensible Morse code signal coming from the west coast of the United States. The last American nuclear submarine, USS Sawfish, under Royal Australian Navy command, is ordered to sail north to the U. S. to attempt to make contact with the sender of the Morse signal.