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Earthquake (1974)

Various interconnected people struggle to survive when an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude hits Los Angeles.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Denise (as Genevieve Bujold)
Drunk (as Walter Matuschanskayasky)
Chavez (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Lloyd Gough ...


Construction Engineer Stuart Graff is estranged from his jealously possessive wife, Remy, and has an affair with Denise Marshall, the widow of a co-worker. Meanwhile, Remy tries to persuade her father, Sam Royce, who is Stuart's employer, to use his influence to stop Stuart from seeing Denise. Rogue policeman Lew Slade is suspended from the L.A.P.D. for having punched an obtuse officer from another jurisdiction. Embittered, Slade contemplates quitting the police force. Jody, a perverted grocery store manager, lusts after Rosa Amici, sister of Sal, the assistant to Miles Quade, an aspiring daredevil motor cyclist. The lives of all these people are devastated when a major earthquake rips through Los Angeles and reduces the city to ruins. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When the big one finally hits L.A. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terremoto  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)


$79,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV) | (Ontario) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (70 mm and 35 mm magnetic prints)| (35 mm optical prints)| (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


1974 was a banner year for the disaster movie genre with this film, The Towering Inferno (1974) and Airport 1975 (1974) all scoring big at the box office. See more »


During the escape from the underground garage, you can see Geneviève Bujold crawling through the tunnel behind the stretcher carrying her son. In the next shot, you can see Geneviève Bujold and the stretcher carrying her son entering the hole in the wall that leads to the tunnel. See more »


Sgt. Lew Slade: Some pecker-wood, rich man's whore, in cop's uniform...
See more »


Referenced in Deep Jaws (1976) See more »


C'est si bon
Music by Henri Betti
Played by a guitarist
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Deeply Flawed But Better Than San Andreas
22 November 2015 | by (Sword Of The Protector) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

Yes, it is only ahead of the dreadful nadir of Allen, "The Swarm", but while you are excoriating it watch San Andreas first then return to this movie. The acting alone dwarfs that CGI crap-fest that is today's lobotomized excuse for a narrative. The cast has good acting in it especially Heston, Kennedy and Greene. Sensurround was always a sign the movie was in big trouble. The other two big films: Midway and Roller-coaster also were bombs. The rumor at the time was that preview showings of this movie had walk outs and the studio plastered the Sensurround logo all over everything. It does sound great on Blu Ray with the restored Sensurround track much better, ironically, than San Andreas. Besides superior acting, did anyone else notice that San Francisco, after the earthquake, in the new movie, seems to have had all the survivors beamed into outer space? Where are they? The Rock's daughter perambulates around amidst an apparent ghost town. Here, the costs of the earthquake in human suffering and citizens without protection from nut jobs with guns, working for the National Guard, helping themselves to helpless women they desire. This is the strongest point missed by the scathing criticism, yes the love triangle with Heston, Bujold and Gardner is way too long, but look at the contrast with how the after effects are dealt with compared to the CGI fantasy?

The next big improvement is people help other people here; see, Heston doesn't drive by oblivious to all the suffering around him. All through this movie people are helping others, total strangers. What is so funny about San Andreas is how the Rock has a helicopter and he flies obliviously over all the people who could use some help. I don't have to tell readers from other countries reading this how incredibly narcissistic America has degenerated into. San Andreas is the culmination of a string of movies: Star Trek: Into Darkness, the man saves his precious baby while killing fifty strangers, oh well, oops! Man of Steel where Superman levels Metropolis, but hey, he saves Lois and a token family. Earthquake is plenty silly in parts, it suffers from way too much soap opera sub- stories yet if you wish to appreciate it more contrast it with San Andreas; other human beings do not even exist to these self-absorbed narcissistic effects junkies. I own the movie for the performances especially Kennedy who exceeds Heston here.

Another contrast is quite hilariously ironic, for the bad looking effects generate much more suspense than the beautiful CGI of San Andreas. Show of hands, how many people thought the Rock wouldn't make it up the side of that tsunami? See, Heston buys it here, a note to hardcore 'I am Moses' Heston haters. In San Andreas, part of the boredom is we know the Rock is invincible and this kills any real suspense. Here, when the dam breaks, they are trapped in the sewer system and the approach of the water creates real suspense. Sadly, money doesn't necessarily make a good movie as we all discovered with Prometheus. Young people, if you hated Towering Inferno, the best of Allen, don't watch this it is one of his worst. When I read all these acidic reviews, yes, it is bad, but it is Citizen Kane compared to San Andreas. There are not supertankers dropping multi-ton containers next to the Rock's motor boat and he gently swerves around them. The suffering, aftermath and the suspense tower over the new effects lobotomized special. I will not own The Swarm and this was borderline but please, it is a much better delineation of an earthquake and its aftermath. Heston's dying is well done and performed trying to save another. Nobility, try finding it in a modern movie: Good Luck. A Mediocre Movie But Better Than San Andreas.

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