This essential 1970s disaster epic, with a script co-authored by Mario Puzo (THE GODFATHER), centers around a devastating earthquake in Los Angeles and the shocking aftermath it causes. The all-star cast is led by Charleton Heston as a construction engineer whose marital problems supply him with plentiful stress before the quake even hits. The film was presented theatrically with a sound process known as "Sensurround," which caused cinemas to physically vibrate during quake sequences.
1974 - Academy Awards - Best Sound - Winner
1974 - Academy Awards - Best Visual Effects - Winner
1974 - Academy Awards - Scientific or Technical Award - Winner
Main Cast & Crew:
Mark Robson - Director
- Format: DVD
- Run Time: 129
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 025193046925
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: PG (MPAA)
- Release Date: May 2006
The lives of several Angelenos are shaken up when the Big One hits Los Angeles. Heading the gigantic, star-studded cast is Charlton Heston as an adulterous engineer and Ava Gardner as his jealous wife. Other characters include an Evel Knievel-like daredevil, a psychotic grocery store manager, and a hot-tempered cop -- all of whom respond to the disaster in a variety of ways, ranging from heroic to deranged.
Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Cinematography. Academy Awards: Best Sound. Color by Technicolor. Originally released in Sensurround, a sound system which creates low-frequency vibrations that simulate the sensation of small tremors in the theater. Universal charged exhibitors $500 a week for use of the system. A warning for the faint-hearted flashed on the screen before the film began. Additional cast members: Scott Haylands (Assistant Dam Caretaker); Tiger Williams (Corry Marshall). Walter Matthau is credited under his real name, Walther Matuschanskavasky. Additional technical credit: Jack McMasters, special effects. Waldon O. Watson, Richard J. Stumpf, Robert J. Leonard and the Universal City Studios Sound Department received a Class II Technical Award for the development and engineering of the Sensurround System for motion picture presentation. The disaster movie was a unique phenomenon of the 1970s. "The Poseidon Adventure," about the sinking of a giant ocean liner, was the movie that launched (no pun intended) the mini-genre. Other entries, besides "Earthquake," include "The Towering Inferno" and the "Airport" movies. All disaster movies conformed to a similar plan: a vast array of characters (portrayed by movie stars and celebrities), usually trapped in one place together (airplane, skyscraper, ocean liner), confront a major calamity. Though these characters are plagued by a variety of personal problems, they are all linked by their common fight for survival. Copyright 1974 Universal Pictures.
"They really don't make 'em like this anymore." -- Rating: B - 09/09/1994 Entertainment Weekly, p.90
"There wasn't a boy in the 1970s who didn't get all giddy over this pleasing and plot-light demolition derby..." - 06/04/2004 Entertainment Weekly, p.35