Based on the engrossing nonfiction work by Sebastian Junger about the Andrea Gail--a commercial swordfishing boat that was lost at sea in October 1991--Wolfgang Petersen's THE PERFECT STORM brings the pages to life. The movie features a big-name cast (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg) playing the gruff, edgy fishermen in the Gloucester, Massachusetts, port, as well as close-up camera shots of the boats moored on the wintry docks. Viewers are drawn into the closely knit New England community that is struck speechless by a fierce nor'easter made from three merging hurricanes. Meteorologists call it the Perfect Storm. Despite the weather forecast, skipper Billy Tyne (Clooney) insists that his crew go out on one more 30-day swordfishing trip before the winter sets in. At sea, a series of tragedies ensues, including a man dragged overboard by one of the 300-foot-long lines and a bloodthirsty shark that gets reeled onto the deck accidentally. What's worse, the skipper's right-hand man, Bobby Shatford (Wahlberg), is homesick for his girlfriend back onshore. But it is not until the storm finally hits and the special effects--mountainous dark digitized waves--take hold that the Andrea Gail is rendered helpless even to Coast Guard helicopters and THE PERFECT STORM's terrifying true-story tragedy becomes reality.
Main Cast & Crew:
Wolfgang Petersen - Director
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
John C. Reilly
- Format: DVD (New Box Art)
- Run Time: 130
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 085391163220
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: PG-13 (MPAA) (language and scenes of peril)
- Release Date: November 2000
It is Halloween, 1991. Near Gloucester, Massachusetts, the six members of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat, head out to sea for their last trip of the season. Unbeknownst to them, a shockingly brutal storm is slowly gaining steam. Before the National Weather Bureau has a chance to inform the crew of the impending danger, it's too late. The resulting battle with three merging weather fronts--an unheralded natural disaster--is grueling and tragic. Wolfgang Petersen (DAS BOOT) turns the action notch up a level with THE PERFECT STORM, a thrilling film that was based on actual events.
The movie grossed $41.5 million during the weekend after its national release June 30, 2000. Visual effects were provided by Stefen Fangmeier and practical effects by John Frazier, both of whom also worked on effects for TWISTER. Wolfgang Petersen was nominated for two Academy Awards for his 1982 submarine drama, DAS BOOT. The filmmakers were opposed to using real swordfish for the movie. They had Walt Conti at Edge Innovations (DEEP BLUE SEA, ANACONDA) design 4 animatronic swordfish and 100 synthetic models of swordfish. George Clooney spent three weeks (including a few nights at sea) driving the Andrea Gail, a 72-foot-long commercial fishing boat, in order to learn how to operate it. The two actors who played the parajumper rescuers attended an official training program in Arizona, where they learned to fly a helicopter on a simulated mission, be hauled from the water on a harness attached to a helicopter, and use Night Vision Goggles. Mark Wahlberg was recommended to Wolfgang Petersen for the role of Bobby by Clooney. Clooney and Wahlberg had worked together previously on THREE KINGS. Mark Wahlberg is a native of the Boston suburbs, and his accent in this movie proves it. Warner Bros. Pictures' Stage 16 in Los Angeles, which is where THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA starring Spencer Tracy was filmed, was expanded to 95' x 100' x 22' with a depth of 22' for the filming of THE PERFECT STORM. With the expansion, Stage 16 is now the largest soundstage tank in the world. The movie was filmed in L.A. in the summer of 1999 and on location in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in the fall. The Andrea Gail ship, which was purchased in Ocean City, Maryland, and repainted in New Jersey, was driven to L.A. for the first half of the movie, then back to Massachusetts in the fall to finish the filming. Hurricane Floyd was coming up to coast when the filming of THE PERFECT STORM was taking place in September 1999. After it passed, the cast and crew were able to get some shots actually at sea with the big waves that had been created by that storm.
"...[A] gusty oceanic epic..." - 06/30/2000 New York Times, pp.E1-E14
"...A harrowing nautical adventure driven by dazzling special effects..." - 09/01/2000 Sight and Sound, p.48
"...Its action sequences make for a truly awe-inspiring spectacle..." - 08/01/2000 Total Film, p.82
"...Rent it for that final wave..." -- 3 out of 5 stars -- A Satisfying Rental - 12/01/2000 Premiere, p.98
"Along with TITANIC, Wolfgang Petersen's hurricane tragedy is a disaster-movie rarity: the true story." - 06/04/2004 Entertainment Weekly, p.35