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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Interesting little time capsule.

Author: uds3 from Longmont, Colorado
30 May 2002

Incredible that but for one review, and even that only two months ago, no-one has seen fit to comment all through the years on this above average telemovie. Inarguably dated now, as evidenced by the vehicles themselves, the flares, hair-do's and music, SMASH UP ON INTERSTATE 5 is a reasonably faithful reconstruction (disaster-movie style) of the events leading up to the true-life pile up not so many years earlier.

Better than average script give the cast of well known actors and actresses something to work with. Robert Conrad, still looking the part of Jim West plays the police patrol officer most closely involved in the fifty car collision. Tommy Lee Jones, also a cop, looks like a youthful long haired refugee from WOODSTOCK and Buddy Ebsen is well, Buddy Ebsen, as always!

The film does not attempt to sensationalise the events, merely presenting them as is, albeit with considerable literary license one suspects. The actual collision is quite well done for its day, showed in stop-frame at the beginning and in full gory detail at the conclusion. I have this film in our library and decided to compile this review having watched it this evening, the first time in ten years or so. An absolute time-capsule!

Titled COLLISION COURSE in Australia, and several European countries.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

This Movie Held My Attention From The Very Beginning To The Ending

9/10
Author: marianna1776 (marianna1776@hotmail.com) from Huxley, Iowa
2 August 2004

Smash Up On Interstate 5 is one of the made for television movies from the decade of the 1970s, that was very very well done. This movie held my attention from the very beginning to the ending of the film.I saw this movie many many years ago when it first aired on television so long ago.I was very impressed by it way back then.I am still as impressed with this movie when I watch it now.I never get tired of it.I think it is a good film for young people to see.It shows what can happen when driving is done carelessly.They ought to show this movie in driver's education.I do not like to drive on the interstate, and this film shows why.The movie has a wonderful cast.Buddy Ebsen,Harriet Nelson,as the sweet older couple. Donna Mills,Robert Conrad,David Groh,and the great Vera Miles.The writing was terrific, and so were the shots done in the pile up on the interstate.I love how the story builds and builds to the climax in the end.The movie was tastefully done, considering it shows a huge pile up on the freeway.I highly recommend this movie to everyone.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Time Clock

7/10
Author: Brando10
22 June 2008

I was 7 when this was on TV and was so hyped by the commercials for it. My favorite thing was the time clock in the corner of the screen: 40 minutes to smashup, 30 minutes to smashup, 20 minutes to smashup, etc. Obviously trying to keep people tuned in. And it worked!! At least for a 7 year old kid. My 10

year old brother and I were on the edge of our seats, even tho we were sitting on the floor, our eyes glued to the screen. I was so excited by it waiting for the big smashup and was in heaven when it finally happened! Being kids we just wanted to see cars smashed, not concerned about anyones welfare. Awesome!

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A New Setting for Disaster

Author: Brian Washington (Sargebri@att.net) from Los Angeles, California
3 August 2003

After years of disaster films set on planes, ocean liners and even on trains, we finally got one set on the freeway. Other than that, it is just like the rest of the seemingly endless parade of mid-1970's disaster epics. Also, the characters were just like the ones in the others. You had the lonely rich middle age lady who finds love with a trucker, the older couple facing a terminal illness, the young lovers on the run and the vengeful cop looking for his partner's killer. All of these characters could have been put on the plane, train or ship but instead they are all on a collision course on a major California freeway. Also, it was pretty interesting that this film began with the "smash-up" and showed all the events leading up to it and showing it again at the end and all the aftermaths. For all its faults, it still was a pretty good film.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An impressive all-star TV cast makes this movie of the week worth watching...

8/10
Author: Isaac5855 from United States
14 August 2006

SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5 was one of the most entertaining entries on the Tuesday and Wednesday Movies of the Week. This episodic drama, somehow economically told in 90 minutes, opens with a spectacular 39-car crash on a deserted stretch of highway. The film then flashes back 48 hours before the crash occurs and through multiple stories we get to meet all of the people involved in the crash and what they were going through at the time of the crash. The impressive all-star cast includes Vera Miles, Robert Conrad, Donna Mills, Buddy Ebsen, David Groh, Scott Jacoby, and there's an especially lovely turn by Harriet Nelson, widow of TV icon Ozzie Nelson. I like the way this movie showed us the crash first and then took us back. For some reason, it made us care even more about these people, knowing what was ahead for them.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A 70s special: disaster movie piffle

7/10
Author: budikavlan from Austin, Texas
15 March 2002

This movie amounts to little of significance, but it has for some reason stuck in my consciousness ever since I saw it. With a well-known cast, I am a bit surprised it doesn't turn up occasionally on late-night or weekend small-station airings. The "smash-up" of the title is a massive 40 or 50-car accident on the Southern California freeway which both opens and closes the film. After the initial footage of the accident, the film skips back a day or two to tell the stories of several of the victims: a woman having an affair with a married man, some young criminals on the lam, a biker gang, and an elderly couple (the wife suffering from cancer), among others. The action leads back to the wreck, which is reshown in greater (and gorier) detail, followed by its immediate aftermath. The acting is rather good as I remember, especially Sian Barbara Allen as the "other woman" and Buddy Ebsen and Harriet Hilliard (Nelson) as the sweetly tragic elderly couple. As I've been writing this, I realize how much I'd like to see it again. I guess that amounts to a fairly strong recommendation.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

And you thought rush hour was bad??

7/10
Author: virek213 from San Gabriel, Ca., USA
6 November 2004

The 1976 TV movie SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5 was one of the many disaster movies that popped up on the small screen during the 1970s as a spin-off of the larger big-screen efforts like EARTHQUAKE and THE TOWERING INFERNO.

Instead of being set in a plane, a train, or in a highrise, this film's disaster takes place along one of the most heavily traveled highways in America--Interstate 5 in Southern California. In flashbacks, it depicts the film's main characters in the forty-eight hours leading up to those frightening moment when dozens of vehicles pile into one another in a freakish fashion. Featuring such TV stalwarts as Robert Conrad, David Groh, and Donna Mills, as well as a young Tommy Lee Jones (still four years away from his breakthrough role in COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER), SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5, given the melodramatics of the situation, is fairly well-directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, who helmed the classic 1972 TV film THE NIGHT STALKER, and with a reasonably convincing pile-up scene.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

So it was real?

10/10
Author: kenetha65 from Indiana, United States
28 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this as a kid and it really stuck with me. People in these huge accidents are .. .people. It can happen to any of us no matter what our plans. I was only 10 years old at the time and over the years I started wondering if this film were real or just some dream I had once.

The 70's saw a lot of natural disaster and air disaster films. This one seems to really ring the "Oh my gosh that could happen to me!" bell. In a way I wish they'd called it something different and not put in the accident scene at the beginning. It would have had a "Sixth Sense" or Hitchcock-style twist to it then. In any case by the end the accident scene had totally changed because now these were people I knew. My little 10-yr old brain was shocked by that.

(Kind of hard to write a non spoiler comment on a movie that starts out with a spoiler at its beginning, eh?)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Good Movie for the time

7/10
Author: wyntormoon from United States
18 October 2006

I saw this movie when it aired on ABC, and at the time I was 10 years old. This movie scared the daylights out of me, but I have always remembered it for decades. I'd love to be able to see it again, and have just now saw it posted on here. I didn't realize the amount of stars that at the time weren't even known. This and several other movies from ABC's line up would be great to get on DVD.

I know now why highways have always scared me, and it was because of this movie. I still can't believe that my parents let me watch it at such a young age, but then I saw Deer Hunter, Godfather and Apocalypse Now before I was ten.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Slightly better than average TV disaster flick

7/10
Author: Gary M. James from United States
27 December 2011

"Smash-Up on Interstate 5" goes the same path as any disaster flick from the 1970s. The TV movie has a large, notable cast and multiple story lines, which culminate into the title incident. In an unusual move, the filmmakers chose to open the film with the same multi-vehicle accident and flash back to the characters involved in the accident.

Because of this creative decision, I did care about some of the characters and their fates. The most heartbreaking storyline was the older couple played by Buddy Ebsen and Harriet Nelson (Hillard) in which one member of the couple is faced with a fatal medical diagnosis.

In addition, the stunt work and editing of the actual crash was very terrifying and effective.

As with many television movies, finding this item on DVD is challenging.

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