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The Swarm (1978)

 -  Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller  -  14 July 1978 (USA)
4.3
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Ratings: 4.3/10 from 4,337 users  
Reviews: 100 user | 55 critic

A huge swarm of deadly African bees spreads terror over American cities by killing thousands of people.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Swarm (1978)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Brad Crane
...
Helena
...
Gen. Slater
...
Dr. Hubbard
...
Maureen Schuester
...
Felix
...
Anne MacGregor
...
Dr. Andrews (as Jose Ferrer)
...
Rita (as Patty Duke Astin)
...
Jud Hawkins
...
Major Baker
...
Clarence
...
Dr. Krim
...
General Thompson
Christian Juttner ...
Paul Durant
Edit

Storyline

Killer bees from South America have been breeding with the gentler bees of more northern climes, slowly extending their territory northward decade after decade. Entomologist Brad Crane has discovered that something is making them come together in huge, killer swarms. He wants to keep the General Slater from using military tactics from further upsetting the balance of nature as they join to try to stop the swarms from approaching Houston. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most terrifying thing about THE SWARM is that it is based on Fact: It exists. Fact: It has awesome destructive power. Fact: We don't know how to stop it. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 July 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der tödliche Schwarm  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$21,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Managing the bees was a huge challenge on this film. The production went through several bee keepers before finding one who solved the problem by hiring people to clip the stingers off of the bees. This was accomplished in a refrigerated trailer, as bees are incapacitated by freezing temperatures. This operation, which went on all summer, made the bees safer for use around the cast and crew, although a few stingers were missed. But, as it turned out, some lingering venom got into the air on the sound stages and produced some allergic reactions. In addition, everyone had little yellow dots on their clothing - bee poop, probably. See more »

Goofs

A train approaches Houston with mountains in the background. See more »

Quotes

Mayor Clarence Tuttle: I know people look at me and think that I'm just the man behind the aspirin counter, but inside I love you.
Maureen Schuster: How lucky I am!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Inside 'The Swarm' (1978) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great fun, depending on which version you see...
25 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

THE SWARM

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: 4-track magnetic stereo

A swarm of African killer bees rampage across America's south-west before descending on Houston, destroying everything in their path.

Contrary to popular opinion, THE SWARM is not the worst movie ever made, and anyone who says otherwise clearly hasn't seen the collected works of Jesùs Franco, Andy Milligan or Woody Allen (just kidding!). Representing the last gasp of the disaster cycle inaugurated by Ross Hunter's big-time adaptation of Arthur Hailey's AIRPORT (1969) and further popularized by the likes of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) - the latter a bona fide Hollywood classic

  • THE SWARM encapsulates director Irwin Allen's basic commercial ethos:


Big stars, big set-pieces, and big drama.

Taking its cue from previous small-scale entries like THE DEADLY BEES (1966) and TERROR OUT OF THE SKY (1978), Allen's old-fashioned monster movie revels in the destruction of towns, trains, nuclear power plants and the reputations of numerous high-profile actors. However, Stirling Silliphant's script is so hokey, it's difficult to believe he wasn't poking inglorious fun at the entire project: Michael Caine is so obviously miscast (as a 'brilliant' entomologist), and so clearly contemptuous of the material, his expression never changes throughout the entire film, though co-star Richard Widmark gives it everything he's got as a gruff military type who's eager to quell the threat by bombing everything in sight. Henry Fonda rises above the fray as a dedicated immunologist, and Slim Pickens is quietly dignified as a bereaved father, while Olivia De Havilland forms the centerpiece of a gentle romantic subplot (she's courted by Fred MacMurray and Ben Johnson). Richard Chamberlain, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Bradford Dillman and Patty Duke Astin are featured in supporting roles alongside leading lady Katharine Ross, who seems particularly embarrassed by her ridiculous dialogue (get a load of her hysterical reaction to the death of a sympathetic younger character - if you lean forward, you can almost *smell* the ham!).

The film exists in two separate versions: The 116 minute theatrical print, and an expanded 'director's cut' running 155 minutes which pads the narrative with pointless dialogue exchanges, turning a tightly constructed disaster thriller into an endless yak-fest. Stick with the original.


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Funniest scene or line ryannaughton1138-1
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