32 user 8 critic

Krakatoa: East of Java (1968)

In 1883, ship captain Hanson plans a shipwreck salvage mission in The Dutch East Indies to retrieve a cargo of pearls but an unexpected volcano eruption and a state-ordered transport of convicts upset his plans.


(as Clifford Newton Gould),

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The departure of the German army from Paris in 1944.

Director: René Clément
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Boyer, Leslie Caron
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A documentary on the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait of Indonesia, bringing tsunamis, rains of pumice and ash, and a deadly flow of hot steam, sulfuric acid, and ash. More than 36,000 died; survivors had bad burns.

Director: Sam Miller
Stars: Rupert Penry-Jones, Olivia Williams, Kevin McMonagle
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Navy Captain uses his experimental Snark to reach a nuclear submarine stuck on an ocean ledge.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Charlton Heston, David Carradine, Stacy Keach
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Passengers on a European train have been exposed to a deadly disease. Nobody will let them off the train so what happens next?

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Stars: Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Martin Sheen
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Boxer Rocky Graziano's biopic, based on his autobiography, from childhood to his World Middleweight Championship title win at age 28 in 1947.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Paul Newman, Pier Angeli, Everett Sloane
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A former intelligence officer is tasked by the heir to the Gleneyre estate to investigate the unusual deaths of a disparate group of eleven men on a list.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis
Colditz (TV Mini-Series 2005)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Four Brits tunnel out of a German POW camp. One is killed, two are recaptured and one escapes. Scottish Corporal Nicholas McBride, the lone escapee is a slacker and reluctant soldier, but ... See full summary »

Stars: Damian Lewis, Sophia Myles, Tom Hardy
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of two friends and their families on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

Stars: Kirstie Alley, David Carradine, Philip Casnoff
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Character study of a Doctor who saves a local criminal from a mob who are trying to hang him, but then tries to control the life of the young man, realizing that he can exploit his secret.

Directors: Delmer Daves, Karl Malden, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill unfolds at the height of World War II.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall
Action | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British must attack a German ship but it's safe in neutral Goa. So they send civilians, ex-soldiers about 60 years old.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven
Apache (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Refusing to let himself be re-settled on a Florida reservation,Massai,an Apache warrior,escapes his captors and returns to his homeland to become a peaceful farmer.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters, John McIntire


Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Hanson
Barbara Werle ...
Jacqueline Chan ...
Toshi (as Jacqui Chan)
Robert Hall ...
Guard (as Rob't Hall)
Victoria Young ...
Midori Arimoto ...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Harbor Master (as Niall Macginnis)
Joseph Hann ...


The Dutch East Indies, in the late 19th century. Capt. Hanson of the "Batavia Queen" is preparing to embark on a salvage expedition. His mistress, Laura, knows the location of a ship belonging to her late husband, a shipwreck concealing a cargo of rare pearls. A diver and a diving bell are aboard ship. But a government agent coerces Hanson into accepting a shipment of convicts for the ship's hold. The wreck lies dangerously close to the erupting volcano on the island of Krakatoa, where Laura's young son attends the convent school... Written by David Woodfield

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Incredible Day That Shook The Earth To Its Core! See more »


Adventure | Drama


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 May 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Volcano  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (BBFC submission before censorship)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The producers learned of the geographic error (Krakatoa was west of Java in the Sundra Strait) only after all of the advertising and publicity materials had been prepared. It was deemed too costly to re-do these materials, and possibly delay the release, for the sake of simple geographic accuracy. See more »


Krakatoa is, in fact, west of Java. See more »

Crazy Credits

This film was shot using Super Panavision 70 and Todd-AO formats for presentation in single-strip Cinerama. The opening title sequence has the image devided into three frames just like the original three-strip Cinerama. See more »


Referenced in Frasier: Someone to Watch Over Me (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Krakatoa - just east of laughter
3 January 2006 | by (London) – See all my reviews

A guilty pleasure. Krakatoa, East Of Java's principal claim to fame is its title, infamously and erroneously placing its subject on the wrong side of the island. Directed by Bernard Kowalski, whose rare non-TV credits include Attack Of The Giant Leeches (1959), and SSsssnake (1973), the film is probably his best, aided immensely as it is by some excellent widescreen cinematography, emphasised with convincing location shooting -facts rarely allowed for in usual criticisms of a film which was cut by almost 30 minutes for an American re-release. The special effects, largely achieved through miniatures and blue screen work, range from passable to excellent and even now, in this era of eye watering CGI, there's still a fascination is seeing how well such a catastrophe was portrayed. The production design, by the veteran Eugène Lourié no less, is worth a discussion on its own.

In the face of this impending volcanic disaster is a nicely mixed group and one would expect plenty of steamy drama to be played out beneath sweltering decks. But the main problem the narrative is that, despite some promising elements, the audience has little empathy with the main group. Despite the long running time of the film (130 minutes in the full version), they remain too fragmented, and dramatic interest is often discharged too rapidly. But that's part of the fun, seeing how various matters are padded and dragged out between tantalising hints of the eruption to come. How some potential for real drama, like the love-hate relationship between father and son balloonists, or the latent sexuality of the Japanese women etc, is left to die by a unfocused script. For every wooden scene between between Hanson and Laura , one would dearly love more about the convict Dauzig's personal demons or his relationship with his comrades in chains below decks for instance, the resentful tension of which threatens to be every bit as violent as the island they are sailing towards.

But there's some incidental fun to be had along the way: one thinks of Keith and Werle in their cabin early on for instance, where she serenades him with a song as unexpected as it is irrelevant. It's a shipboard relationship between a heavyweight has-been and a shop worn female recalling that between Ernest Borgnine and Shelly Winters in The Poseidon Adventure of three years later. Keith's addict-diver with the 'shot lungs' provides other of the film's whacked out highlights too, as when, high on his drug, he hallucinates and attacks one of the Japanese women. Eventually confined to a crate suspended over deck until he regains his senses, Connerly is a man who seems doomed from the moment we see him. A point-of-view shot through the wooden bars during his moment of trial, lensed as he swings helplessly back and forth, suggests a prison in which a condemned man finds himself. Such is typical of a film that has many such moments, those in which characters peer at a world fraught with challenge. Whether through eyepieces, between slats, out of portholes, from balloons and diving bells, down into holds packed full of convicts or steaming volcanic cauldrons, apprehensive observation and anticipation is the norm for those who ride the Batavia Queen. These moments aptly reflect back the concerns of an audience who, in this film more than others, have come principally to observe a promised spectacular.

Such a visual motif is one of the few unifying elements in the film, other than the overarching expectation of an eruption. The overwhelming episodic nature of events is obvious, but at least it has the merit of making the film fairly diverse in content and, even in its full length version, time passes quickly enough in Krakatoa. On top of this, the concluding explosions and fireworks from the island aside, Kowalski does manage one or two effective scenes, such as the scenes in the runaway balloon, the near-comedy of which reminds one of the balloon antics in Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965), or the eerie sound effects caused by the nascent eruption (although one piece of eruption footage, conspicuously recycled, is a distraction). The simulation of audio effects one of the few times that the film actually reflects the subtle indications of such a massive event realistically as, for the rest of the film, the volcano is stereotyped into the usual 'burning mountaintop' image, set in mostly clear air at that, with the phenomenon of falling blankets of ash entirely overlooked. For some reason too, Krakatoa's eruption brings on a storm at sea - a nice easy, extra, touch of drama to be sure, although quite why volcanism should affect the weather is uncertain. Tossed and buffeted, Hanson's ship is a place of refuge amongst the impending devastation and, after dropping off one or two of the travellers who decide to sit out the expected tsunami on shore - a mistake in this situation, as any alert audience immediately realises - it faces the momentous tide alone. Like a similar wave that topples the aforementioned SS Poseidon, the one that comes up here seems to break mysteriously as it approaches the ship, but the outcome is never really in doubt. On shore, the results are worse, but reasonably well done, Kowalski's images suggesting something of a biblical deluge in scenes, which even the film's doubters still find impressive.

In fact so much has been leading up to the grand finale, so many supporting stories established, that one wishes that Krakatoa would go on a little longer than it does, at least so that there was time to gauge the effect of such tumultuous effects on the key participants. Ultimately, what impresses most these days is the absence throughout of the earnestness that attends so many modern disaster movies. The result is a still enjoyable film, one both flawed and innocent at the same time.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
tidal wave piper3893
Album Cover Art Skrappy
Movie that started the Cleveland jokes davidbaratko
The only thing I remember about this movie was.... ricanwarrior
Re-released in FEELARAMA boinnng
Worst logic ever ClarkF1
Discuss Krakatoa: East of Java (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: