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The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  13 December 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 31,565 users  
Reviews: 246 user | 72 critic

A group of passengers struggle to survive and escape when their ocean liner completely capsizes at sea.


, (uncredited)


(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Sadoff ...
Nurse (as Sheila Mathews)
Jan Arvan ...
Byron Webster ...


A passenger ship, on her way to the scrap yard is pushed to her limits by the new owners to save on the dismantling fees. A tidal wave hits her, flipping her over so that all the internal rooms are upside down. A priest takes a mixed band of survivors on a journey through the bowels of the ship in an attempt to survive. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Combining the talents of fifteen Academy Award Winners See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 December 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La aventura del Poseidón  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$93,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filming was delayed twice because of the cost. Twentieth Century Fox was suffering from losses from several flop musicals, Doctor Dolittle (1967), Star! (1968), and Hello, Dolly! (1969), as spectacles were being trounced by smaller character-driven films, and the studio was certain that a disaster movie would be a risk. Fox finally relented when Irwin Allen promised to raise half of the budget himself. Reportedly, Allen found outside backers by walking across the street from the Fox lot to a country club, where he found some friends playing cards. During the card game, they agreed to back the film. Because the studio never spent any of the backer's money, the backers made a profit from the success of the film without actually spending a dime. See more »


When the man falls into the light fixture towards the end of the capsizing scene, the airbag can be seen rippling from the impact as he hits. See more »


Robin Shelby: Sis? Susan!
Susan Shelby: Robin! Reverend Scott!
[Everyone looks up and sees Susan clinging to the underside of a table]
Susan Shelby: [frightened] Can you help me?
Robin Shelby: How'd you get up there, sis?
Susan Shelby: That's a stupid question!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The ending credits are shown on a bright-blue background. See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Played by the band on New Year's Eve
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Still Seaworthy
6 June 2001 | by (Hawaii) – See all my reviews

Anyone who has seen as many disaster movies as I have knows that this is absolutely the best one ever made. For a film nearly thirty years old, Poseidon Adventure is still so effective that it would cause anyone planning to take a cruise to think twice. You probably know the plot--luxury liner capsized by a tidal wave. This synopsis is brought to life with suspense, drama, and sometimes, terrifying reality. One of the most effective cinematic touches is that in nearly every scene, the camera is slowly swaying back and forth to give us a sense that we really are at sea. Something "Titanic" completely missed.

We follow the journey of ten survivors through the inverted ship to their hopeful rescue--narrowly escaping fires, explosions, and flooding corridors every step of the way. The sets are epic and nothing less than spectacular. Especially the inverted dining room when the Atlantic Ocean comes crashing in, and the engine room which is now a horrifying twisted metal inferno. The cast is good, however Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters, and Stella Stevens are best. Hackman is our handsome hero, Winters is our unselfish caring mother, and Stevens is absolutely radiant (pre-capsize) and adds a welcome touch of humor to the mess.

No, the movie is not perfect, and it is of course starting to look a bit dated. However the suspense and dazzling effects will keep you glued to your seat and you certainly won't be bored. Poseidon Adventure is a true classic. A must see for everyone--not just disaster movie fans.

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