IMDb > Dead Calm (1989)
Dead Calm
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Dead Calm (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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Dead Calm -- This edge of your seat suspense thriller tells the story of an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill), whose private yacht cruise is violently interrupted by the mysterious lone survivor (Billy Zane) of a ship whose crew has perished.
Dead Calm -- A mass-murderer kidnaps and seduces a young woman after leaving her husband to die on the vessel whose crew he's just slaughtered.


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Up 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Terry Hayes (screenplay)
Charles Williams (novel)
View company contact information for Dead Calm on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 April 1989 (USA) See more »
A Voyage Into Fear. See more »
A mass-murderer kidnaps and seduces a young woman after leaving her husband to die on the vessel whose crew he's just slaughtered. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Stay calm and you may yet not end up dead. See more (135 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Phillip Noyce 
Writing credits
Terry Hayes (screenplay)

Charles Williams (novel)

Produced by
Terry Hayes .... producer
George Miller .... producer
Doug Mitchell .... producer
Original Music by
Graeme Revell 
Cinematography by
Dean Semler (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Richard Francis-Bruce 
Casting by
Liz Mullinar 
Wallis Nicita  (as Wally Nicita)
Production Design by
Graham 'Grace' Walker 
Art Direction by
Kim Hilder 
Costume Design by
Norma Moriceau 
Makeup Department
Noriko Watanabe .... head of makeup department (as Noriko Spencer)
Production Management
Narelle Barsby .... production manager
Marcus D'Arcy .... post-production supervisor
Barbara Gibbs .... production manager: opening sequence
Neville Mason .... unit manager
Claire O'Brien .... post-production supervisor
Phillip Roope .... unit manager: opening sequence
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ian Astridge .... second assistant director
Colin Fletcher .... first assistant director
Ian Freeman .... second assistant director
Stuart Freeman .... assistant director
Keith Heygate .... first assistant director: opening sequence
George Miller .... second unit director
Vincent Monton .... second unit director (as Vince Monton)
Murray Robertson .... first assistant director
Charles Rotherham .... first assistant director
John Titley .... second assistant director
Tony Wellington .... first assistant director
Art Department
Ian Allen .... props buyer (as Ian Allan)
Ian Allen .... set dresser (as Ian Allan)
Trevor Badger .... construction assistant
Terry Barton .... construction assistant
Rick Best .... set builder
Peta Black .... set finisher
Ty Bosco .... storyboard artist
Walter Bron .... set builder (as Wolter Bron)
Martin Bruveris .... set finisher
Michael Calvin .... construction assistant
Andrew Chauvel .... leading hand (as Andy Chauvel)
Leah Cocks .... art department coordinator
Matt Connors .... set finisher
Anthony Croft .... construction assistant
Don Croft .... construction assistant
Garth Croft .... set builder
Tom Davies .... construction assistant
Wayne Dawson .... construction assistant
Judy Ditter .... art department coordinator
Mont Fieguth .... additional set dresser (as Monty Fieguth)
David Field .... construction assistant
Jan Flint .... soft furnishings
Daniel Flowers .... set builder
Peter Forbes .... art department runner
Kevin Asher Green .... construction assistant (as Kevin Green)
Ken Hannan .... construction assistant
Peter Harrison .... construction assistant
Guido Helmstetter .... special propmaker (as Guido Helstetter)
Robert Higham .... construction assistant
Bill Howe .... construction manager
Steve Huxtable .... construction assistant
Grant Longley .... set builder
Billy Malcolm .... head scenic artist
Billy Malcolm .... sculptor
Gerald Marr .... construction assistant (as Jerry Marr)
Bob McCarron .... prosthetics artist
Karan Monkhouse .... stand-by props
Philip Murchie .... construction assistant
John Nornede .... construction assistant
Michael Ormorod .... construction assistant
Tom Overton .... construction assistant
Bronwyn Parry .... set builder
Ray Pedler .... scenic artist (as Ray Pedlar)
Simon Pooley .... construction assistant
John Rann .... construction manager
Tony Read .... construction assistant
Jane Richter .... art department runner
Clive Roberts .... construction assistant
Rob Robinson .... assistant designer
Larry Sandy .... set builder
Dennis Smith .... construction supervisor
Marcus Smith .... leading hand
Hugh Wade .... construction assistant
Nick Walker .... construction assistant
George Zammit .... stand-by props: opening sequence
Sound Department
Nick Breslin .... assistant sound editor (as Nicholas Breslin)
Steve Burgess .... foley editor
Lloyd Carrick .... additional sound recordist
Julius Chan .... multi-track engineer
Julius Chan .... sound effects editor
James D'Arcey .... multi-track engineer (as James D'Arcy)
Philip Dickson .... sound transferer (as Phil Dickson)
Philip Dickson .... transfer operator
Antony Gray .... assistant sound editor
Tim Jordan .... dialogue editor
Phil Judd .... sound mixer
Gerard Long .... foley editor (as Gerry Long)
Gerry Long .... foley editor
Jane Maguire .... assistant sound editor
Ian McLoughlin .... sound mixer
Susan Metcalfe .... dialogue editor
Gerry Nucifora .... boom operator
Ben Osmo .... sound recordist
Angus Robertson .... dialogue re-recordist
Roger Savage .... sound mixer
Annabelle Sheehan .... dialogue editor
Lee Smith .... sound designer
Joe Spinelli .... additional boom operator
Peter Townend .... sound effects editor
Noelleen Westcombe .... assistant adr editor
Noelleen Westcombe .... assistant sound editor
Special Effects by
Brian Cox .... special effects coordinator
David Hardie .... special effects technician
Chris Murray .... special effects technician
Reece Robinson .... rain effects: opening sequence
Wilson Starr .... special effects technician
David Young .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
Roger Cowland .... special visual effects & opticals
Glenn Boswell .... stunt coordinator (as Glen Boswell)
Richard Boué .... stunts
Tony Lynch .... stunts
Joe Pampanella .... stunt performer
Michael Read .... stunts (as Michaele Read)
Glenn Ruehland .... stunt coordinator (as Glen Ruehland)
Lyddy Van Gyen .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Grant Atkinson .... best boy: opening sequence
Bruce Barber .... key grip: opening sequence
Ross Berryman .... additional cinematographer
Brian J. Breheny .... additional focus puller (as Brian Breheny)
Dean Bryan .... additional electrician
Geoff Burton .... director of photography: opening sequence (as Geoff Burton)
Geoff Burton .... photography: second unit
Colin Deane .... focus puller
Alan Dunstan .... best boy
Lindsay Foote .... additional gaffer
Tex Foote .... generator operator
Tony Holtham .... additional gaffer
Kerry Jackson .... assistant grip
Ian Jones .... Steadicam operator
Ian Jones .... additional cinematographer
Ian Jones .... aerial camera operator
Ian Jones .... underwater camera operator
Darrin Keough .... first assistant camera: opening sequence
Kevan Lind .... additional camera operator
David Lindsay .... clapper loader
Danny Lockett .... assistant grip
Kyle T. MacDowell .... electrician
Ian McAlpine .... assistant grip
Sean McClory .... additional clapper loader
Sean McClory .... camera maintenance
Irvine G. McLaughlin .... key grip
John Morton .... gaffer
Paul Moyce .... additional electrician
Paul Moyes .... lighting technician
Ian Plummer .... gaffer: opening sequence
Trevor Ripper .... additional electrician
Gary Shearsmith .... assistant grip: opening sequence
Jim Sheldon .... still photographer
Craig Sykes .... additional electrician
David Thomas .... grip rigger
Ross Williams .... additional camera maintenance
Casting Department
Joanne Zaluski .... casting associate: USA
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jenny Campbell .... wardrobe supervisor
Jenny Campbell .... wardrobe supervisor: opening sequence (as Jennifer Campbell)
Suzy Carter .... additional stand-by wardrobe (as Suzie Carter)
Annie McCarthy .... seamstress
Susan Pullen .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
Sue Blainey .... first assistant editor
Sue Blainey .... first assistant editor: opening sequence
Arthur Cambridge .... color grader
Miriam Cortes .... negative matcher
Jenny Hicks .... assistant editor
Louise Innes .... associate editor
Other crew
Nick Alimede .... caterer
Janelle Ambrose .... caterer
Catherine Barber .... financial controller
Dixie Betts .... production coordinator: opening sequence
Lynda Collings .... additional personnel
Clair Crowther .... additional personnel (as Claire Crowther)
Wayne Dunstan .... laboratory liaison
Zev Eleftheriou .... safety supervisor
Alison Ely .... additional continuity
Janeen Faithfull .... production accountant
Karen Freeman .... additional personnel
Serena Gattuso .... additional production staff
Lynette Harding .... additional personnel
Bob Hicks .... safety officer: opening sequence
Alistair Jenkins .... additional personnel
Fiona King .... additional production staff
Fiona King .... production coordinator
Maggie Lake .... production secretary
Peter Lawless .... location manager: opening sequence
Solomon J. LeFlore .... production financing
David Lucas .... additional personnel
David Marshall .... caterer
Paul Martin .... additional production staff
John May .... accounting assistant
Laura McKinley .... dog wrangler
Stuart McNorton .... additional personnel
Pat Nash .... boat wrangler
Barbara Nolan .... liaison: Sydney
Jeff Powis .... double
Jenny Quigley .... script supervisor
Kate Quinn .... double
Jacquie Robertson .... unit nurse (as Jacqueline Robertson)
Stephen Saks .... location manager
Vicky Satterwhite .... additional personnel
Mark Taylor .... production runner
Julie Tulloch .... caterer
Cassie Vaile .... caterer
David Vaile .... caterer
Alfonso Valencia .... additional personnel
Owen Williams .... additional personnel
Denise Wolfson .... laboratory liaison
Christine Woodruff .... additional personnel
Mary Jane 'M.J.' Yates .... production coordinator (as Mary-Jane Yates)
Mickey Cottrell .... publicist (uncredited)
Jaime Fowler .... electronic press kit editor (uncredited)
John Lelko .... very special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dead Calm: A Voyage Into Fear" - USA (poster title)
See more »
96 min | Turkey:83 min (TV version)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Sam Neill met his wife, Noriko Watanabe, in the making of this film.See more »
Factual errors: In the scene where Rae is loading the shotgun, you can see the primers of the shotgun shells that have already been fired.See more »
[first lines]
sailor #1:Merry Christmas, Captain Ingram.
John Ingram:[returning salute] Merry Christmas, Eric.
sailor #2:Merry Christmas, sir...
See more »
Movie Connections:
No-MadSee more »


Is 'Dead Calm' based on a book?
Was Hughie's boat actually sinking?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Stay calm and you may yet not end up dead., 16 February 2012
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

Dead Calm is directed by Phillip Noyce and adapted to screenplay by Terry Hayes from the novel of the same name written by Charles Williams. It stars Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. Music is by Graeme Revell and cinematography by Dean Semler.

After losing their young son in a car accident, John (Neill) and Rae Ingram (Kidman) head out alone on their yacht for an ocean vacation. Whilst taking in some R&R, the couple spy a ship drifting in the distance, then a man in a dinghy hurriedly rows towards them. He boards their yacht, frantic and panicked, he tells them the ship is sinking and that all on board are dead, killed by food poisoning. His name is Hughie Warriner (Billy Zane), and the Ingram's are about to wish they had never met him...

The Saracen and The Orpheus.

It's so refreshing to find a thriller that works without tricks or elaborate plotting, where the narrative is stripped down to the bare bones and played out purely by three characters. Dead Calm, whilst not exactly the most credible of thrillers from the 80s, contains genuine suspense, a pot boiling heart and production value of some distinction. Director Noyce deals in psychological studies, primarily that of a lunatic and that of a woman beset with grief having to use her mental fortitude to hopefully save herself and her husband.

Noyce and his team get the maximum amount of edge of the seat thrills from a small isolated yacht in the middle of a vast ocean, with tight camera work and nifty editing, it's a film of quality that belies its pared back production. Even ace Aussie photographer Semler (previously Mad Max 2/Razorback, latterly Dances With Wolves/Waterworld) creates beauty out of such a sparse set up, where the blues and greens of the ocean warm the soul and the red sunsets please the eyes. They be glimpses of Mother Earth that give the Ingram's something tangible to fight for.

With the plot requiring Neill to be in his own isolated hell, he turns in a more measured performance, perfect in fact, but it's Zane and Kidman who steal the show. This would prove to be the launching point of Kidman's career, and it hints at the top actress she would become. She gives Rae Ingram a real strength through adversity, with energy in abundance, intelligence and a simmering sexuality, she's a lady character earning respect by film lovers because of Kidman's performance. Zane is suitably edgy, very much giving Hughie a man-child persona, he too exudes a dangerous sexuality, and when it inevitably kicks off, he is scary into the bargain.

A couple of daft character decisions within the story, and a WTF finale, stop it from being near the top of the thriller movie pantheon. But it's not far off from sitting with the best and it remains fresh and entertaining as the decades roll by. 8/10

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Dead Calm (1989)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Why have sex with Zane? queendarkjewel
George Miller returns with Mad Max: Fury Road (related to Dead Calm) BmanCrawler
'Cold and distant to her husband, yet willing to her captor' jackjokercostello
Rae *spoilers* Aly1984
Is this what her hair really looks like? mejoza
When was the movie actually made?. timmytoo2001-2
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