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Outbreak (1995)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  10 March 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 87,867 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 60 critic

Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?


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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimbo Scott
Dr. Benjamin Iwabi
Dr. Raswani
Susan Lee Hoffman ...
Dr. Lisa Aronson
Dr. Julio Ruiz
Dr. Mascelli
Leland Hayward III ...
Henry Seward
Daniel Chodos ...
Rudy Alvarez
Colonel Briggs


In July of 1967, In Motaba River Valley, Zaire, a virus with a 100% mortality rate starts infecting people. The virus becomes known as the Motaba virus, and it's so deadly that it causes severe bleeding and liquefies internal organs, killing within 3 days. The virus wipes out Motaba River Valley, and a devastatingly huge fire bomb is dropped onto Motaba River Valley in order to reduce the chances of further infection. The bomb was dropped on the orders of corrupt General Donald McClintock, even though an army surgeon, General Bill Ford, was against the idea. 27 years later, in 1994, there is another outbreak in Motaba River Valley. At the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), located at Fort Detrick in Maryland, Colonel Sam Daniels is doing research on the Motaba virus, and so is his ex-wife Roberta Keough, who works at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. A monkey carrying the Motaba virus stows away on a ... Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Try to remain calm. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

10 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Epidemia  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)


£4,343,040 (UK) (16 June 1995)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Donald Sutherland plays a general to Dale Dye's colonel. Four years earlier in JFK (1991), Dye played a general to Sutherland's colonel. See more »


The White House Chief of Staff refers to the fuel-air bomb as "the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in our arsenal." This has never been true. In 1995, when this film was made, the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal was the BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter," which is indeed the bomb shown in the film, but which is not a fuel-air bomb. (This weapon was retired in 2001 and replaced by the GBU-43 MOAB bomb, which is currently the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, and which isn't a fuel-air bomb, either.) See more »


Sam Daniels: Thank you, Mrs. - what was her name again?
Major Salt: Pananides!
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Days Of Wine And Roses
Written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini
Performed by Michael Lang
Courtesy of Varèse Sarabande Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

25 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I first saw this movie, I was ten, and even then I liked it. The script itself housed very funny one liners, particularly form Spacey's character. But I was amazed at how fast the film itself moved. In the first, you are following these scientists going to Africa to find a virus outbreak. Next thing you know, you're watching a helicopter go head on with a plane.

First comes the acting. Dustin Hoffman is stupendous as always, Rene Russo plays Robbie with realism, Kevin Spacey makes for a good humor man, Cuba Gooding Jr. pulls off the green man trying to earn respect, and being a bad-ass at the same time. As always, Morgan Freeman is wonderful. Any role I see him in is a role I remember. He's always different, too, neigh does he ever repeat in characterization. Sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's incredibly serious. Last but not least comes Donald Sutherland, one of my favorite actors to date. He can jump into the shoes of any character, including the general trying to protect a secret he knows he shouldn't. One actor whom I particularly enjoyed watching was J.T. Walsh. It's a great shame he died, I liked all his stuff from Breakdown to Pleasantville. He is only in Outbreak for about five minutes, but he has one of my favorite monologues in the history of film. He commands attention as he speaks.

Next comes the story itself. A very to-date story. A one all can relate to because it could very well happen. A virus from Africa makes its way here and begins infecting all, without a cure. I liked that there was a hero aspect in Sam Daniels. he was the tracker, the hunter, the curist. Coupled with the story comes the dialogue. Rich, under-appreciated, funny, and serious all wrapped into one. As I said before, the monologue for Walsh is brilliant. Many lines are etched into my mind, and are often used in conversation. Too bad no one knows what I'm saying.

I'm a bit surprised this film didn't bode too well with audiences. Mayhap they didn't want to see what could happen, who knows? My only complaint is character endings. You insinuate what happens to McClintock and Ford, also Sam and Robbie, but we don't ever see Casey again. I could infer that he dies, but he could very well have survived. I wish there was a way to know.

Finally comes Wolfgang Peterson's remarkable direction. I've been a huge fan of his movies since this movie, including Air Force One, Enemy Mine, not much for Perfect Storm, but his upcoming Ender's Game should be good.

At the end, I felt a certain sense of relief and wonderment. But I have to say the soundtrack is rather exquisite. I have always liked James Newton Howard, and though the cd is short in time, it's a time I cannot forget. Particularly the end theme when it's chopper vs. plane time. What a song, keeps me in suspense every time. I like songs that are taken for film trailers as well. It's still too bad not a lot of people know about this movie.

9 out of 10

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