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Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  9 March 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 26,330 users  
Reviews: 193 user | 34 critic

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

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Title: Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
DeDe / Angelica / Patricia
Dr. Ellison
Chief of the Waponis
Mr. Waturi
Barry McGovern ...
Luggage Salesman
Jayne Haynes ...
David Burton ...
Jon Conrad Pochron ...
Tony (as Jon Pochran)
Fred - Guard
Antoni Gatti ...
Italian Tailor
Darrell Zwerling ...
Underwear Salesman


Joe versus the Volcano is a fable which opens with somewhat surrealistic scenes of the dehumanization of Joe Bank's job and work environment (at a company whose product rather literally screws people) with imagery that seems to have been inspired by the classic film Metropolis. Joe is diagnosed with an incurable disease, quits his dehumanizing job, and accepts an offer to briefly "live like a king, die like a man" - but to fulfill his agreement he must willingly jump into a live volcano on the island of Waponi Woo in order to appease the volcano god. En route to the island, Joe meets a series of interesting characters in NYC and LA, then boards a yacht, captained by Patricia Graynamore. During the voyage Joe and Patricia survive disaster, fall in love, and finally arrive at the island where they face their destiny. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | volcano | love | tropical | yacht | See All (28) »


A story of love, lava and burning desire. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joe contra el volcán  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


$39,404,261 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The lamp that Joe brings into his office displays the future events in the movie, including the yacht, a volcano (with the same twisting road), a large full moon, and plays the film's theme song, "Marooned Without You". See more »


When Joe is golfing on the raft, the wind blows his putting green up and over. Patricia can be seen lifting her hand ostensibly to protect herself. However, she is supposed to be unconscious. See more »


[Joe and Marshall are both wearing Armani tuxedos]
Joe Banks: Feel like I'm getting married.
Marshall: I feel like I'm giving you away.
See more »


Referenced in Within (2009) See more »


Good Lovin
Written by Arthur Resnick and Rudy Clark
Performed by The Rascals
used while fishing on the yacht
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most overlooked movies ever
29 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

In complete seriousness, I can say "Joe Versus The Volcano" is one of the best movies ever to come out of Hollywood. Sadly, it's also one of the most overlooked movies ever made. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan both are absolutely fantastic in this movie that really is an allegory about life. The movie has a fantastic script, is directed beautifully and stands up to the test of time. Hanks is at his comedic best as the soul-sick Joe, and Ryan is fantastic in her three roles. Why this movie didn't do better (despite a lack of promotion) is beyond me. It is one seems like one of those word-of-mouth movies that just keep getting bigger. I saw it three times in the theater, watched it numerous times on video and purchased the DVD the day it came out. But it's OK, I know a hidden gem when I see it.

75 of 90 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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