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Outbreak (1995)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Thriller  |  10 March 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 87,871 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


This animal carries a deadly virus... and the greatest medical crisis in the world is about to happen. 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?


Dustin Hoffman and Maya Angelou did uncredited work on the script but most of their work went unused. 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: Just don't get negative on me.
Major Salt: Affirmative.
See more »


Referenced in Bug Buster (1998) See more »


Days Of Wine And Roses
Written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini
Performed by Michael Lang
Courtesy of Varèse Sarabande Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

If the story had been more believable, this would have been a very good movie
7 July 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

Next to big volcano's erupting, hurricanes and other twisters, diseases are an excellent source of inspiration for the creators of disaster movies. Why? The answer is quite simple. We all know that diseases like Ebola and AIDS haven't always been among us, but that they were present somewhere on this planet. We don't know how it suddenly finds us, but it does. And since most of us are very scared of the unknown and we can be pretty sure that not everything has been discovered yet, movies based on this subject can be quite believable and scary.

When a new deadly disease is discovered in Africa, Colonel Sam Daniels of the U.S. Army is sent to investigate it. As soon as he returns he warns his boss, General Ford, that they should put out an alert on this virus, even though it is far away from the USA and not airborne. General Ford refuses, since it is contained and unlikely to show up. But what both men don't know is that a monkey, carrying the deadly virus with him, has been captured and is being shipped to the USA, where a man who works at the customs house takes it and tries to sell it to a pet store. But when the sale isn't closed, the man doesn't know what to do with the monkey and releases it in the woods near a small town in California. A few days later the man collapses and dies in Baltimore and at the same time a new outbreak is starting in that little Californian town. Colonel Daniels, his team and his ex-wife will do anything possible to find a cure so they can save the population from being bombed by the military, but what they don't know is that there may have been a cure all along...

Overall the story of this movie certainly isn't bad, but sometimes I started to find it all a bit too much. A new disease that mutates, that's possible. The army that wants to know more about it, there is nothing new about that. But than talking about military conspiracies, a president who wants to bomb his own people... that one I really didn't buy. And that's too bad, because I'm convinced that this could be a very powerful movie, if only they should have left out a couple of elements. Still, that's about the worst thing that I have to say about this movie. The acting for instance is OK. With people like Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland,... they have found themselves a very nice cast, which may well be the best reason why you should watch this movie, even when you aren't a fan of disaster movies (like me).

But not only the acting looks OK, so does the direction. With a man like Wolfgang Petersen, I immediately have some high expectations of course. He's the man that gave the world the ultimate submarine movie "Das Boot" and that always makes me hope for the best. Even though this movie never reaches to that extremely high level, it sure is better than average. The man still knows how to create the necessary tension and how to keep you interested. So, if it hadn't been for the not always so effective story, this movie would have scored very high on my list. Now I give it a 6.5/10 (which certainly isn't bad).

30 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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