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Earthquake (1974)

1:03 | Trailer
Various interconnected people struggle to survive when an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude hits Los Angeles, California.


Mark Robson
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston ... Graff
Ava Gardner ... Remy
George Kennedy ... Slade
Lorne Greene ... Royce
Geneviève Bujold ... Denise (as Genevieve Bujold)
Richard Roundtree ... Miles
Marjoe Gortner ... Jody
Barry Sullivan ... Stockle
Lloyd Nolan ... Dr. Vance
Victoria Principal ... Rosa
Walter Matthau ... Drunk (as Walter Matuschanskayasky)
Monica Lewis ... Barbara
Gabriel Dell ... Sal
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Chavez (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Lloyd Gough ... Cameron


Construction Engineer Stuart Graff is estranged from his jealously possessive wife, Remy, and has an affair with Denise Marshall, the widow of a co-worker. Meanwhile, Remy tries to persuade her father, Sam Royce, who is Stuart's employer, to use his influence to stop Stuart from seeing Denise. Rogue policeman Lew Slade is suspended from the L.A.P.D. for having punched an obtuse officer from another jurisdiction. Embittered, Slade contemplates quitting the police force. Jody, a perverted grocery store manager, lusts after Rosa Amici, sister of Sal, the assistant to Miles Quade, an aspiring daredevil motor cyclist. The lives of all these people are devastated when a major earthquake rips through Los Angeles and reduces the city to ruins. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When the big one finally hits L.A. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The "Hollywood Dam" featured in the film is actually the Mulholland Dam, named after famed engineer William Mulholland. The nearly identical St. Francis Dam, near Valencia, California, collapsed due to a geological fault on March 12, 1928, and the resulting flood killed over 450 people. It remains California's second-deadliest natural disaster, behind the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. See more »


During the aftershock sequence at Wilson Plaza, a long pillar falls on top of a kneeling person. Instead of crushing him, the pillar "bounces" off him and falls behind. This is because the pillar was made of styrofoam and was painted to look like bricks. See more »


Loudspeaker Voice: This is a precautionary evacuation. We repeat. There is no present danger of the dam collapsing. Move to high ground west of Highland Avenue and north of Franklin. It is a precautionary evacuation. We repeat. This is a precautionary evacuation.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the initial network television showing broadcast on NBC in September 1976, additional footage was shot to lengthen the film in order to show it over two nights. The most extensive segment of new footage is a subplot of a newlywed couple (Debralee Scott and Sam Chew Jr.) on a flight to Los Angleles so the husband can interview for a job with Stuart Graff (Charlton Heston). The plane tries to land as the earthquake hits, but the pilots are able to regain control and fly away before the runway breaks up. Other significant segments are new scenes with Jody (Marjoe Gortner) and Rosa (Victoria Principal), which establish Jody's obsession with Rosa, as well as one short scene in a pawn shop with Buck (Jesse Vint) and Hank (Michael Richardson), who play Marjoe's roommates in the theatrical version. Contrary to popular belief, these additional scenes were *not* "leftover" footage from the original 1974 theatrical release. Rather, the footage was filmed almost two years later by NBC to expand the film. These additional scenes were shot without the original director Mark Robson, who opted out, (in fact, he loathed the additional scenes), but they were shot with Universal's approval. In addition, two deleted scenes originally shot for the theatrical release were re-inserted into the television version, including a narrative opening about the San Andreas Fault, as well as a scene of Rosa brushing off a guy (Reb Brown) trying to give her a ride on his motorcycle. Incidentally, the version frequently running on the American cable channel "American Movie Classics" is the television version, and not the original theatrical version. See more »


Edited from Hawaii Five-O (1968) See more »


C'est si bon
Music by Henri Betti
Played by a guitarist
See more »

User Reviews

Classy disaster of the 70s with big name cast and decent special effects
25 May 2019 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Ordinary catastrophe movie in soap opera and vintage style with all star cast dealing with a huge earthquake outbursts at a noisy city. It has a long prologue presenting Charlton Heston, his drunk wife, Ava Gardner, and his lover, Genevieve Bujold. As well as other characters as a spectacle motorcycle rider, Richard Roundtree, a drunken man, Walter Matthaw, an avenger military, Marjoe Gortner, a besieged beautiful girl, Victoria Principal, and several others. As an earthquake causing death, destruction and wreak havoc. This impressive quake has an awesome and destructive power enhanced by the sensorround sound.

Acceptable disaster movie paced in fits and starts with a great cast, though a little wasted. The impressive cast cannot save this passable film , at all. It lacks deep characterization , displaying some boring moments and a tiring script that was presumibly well paid . This was a successful catastrophe movie that belongs to disaster movie genre of the 70s and 80s such as Towering inferno, Poseidon, Beyond Poseidon, The swarm, Avalanche, The Russian rollercoaster, Avalanche express , Airport I, II, III.. and whose main representative was producer Irwin Allen. It packs primitive and traditional special effects by LB Abbott , with no computer generator effects . It contains an atmospheric and adequate cinematography by Philip H. Lahtrop. And a sensitive and enjoyable musical score by the always great and incombustible John Williams. Main cast is pretty well, giving understanding interpretations as Charlton Heston, Genevieve Bujold, Ava Gardner and Lorne Greene. Support cast is frankly excellent such as Lloyd Nolan, Victoria Principal, Barry Sullivan, Pedro Armendariz Jr, John Randolph, Scott Hylands, Donald Moffat, brothers Jesse, Alan Vint, Walter Matthaw, George Murdock and usual in catastrophe movies, George Kennedy, among others.

The motion picture financed by Jennings Lang who produced Airport series was professionally directed by Mark Robson. He was a classical director. Robson had a prolific career, delivering classic movies, as well as hits and flops. He directed some classy terror movies as Ghost ship, Bedlam, The seventh victim ,Isle of dead, all of them produced by Val Lewton. Subsequently, he directed all kinds of genres in films as Peyton Place, The harder they fall, Edge of doom, Champion, Bright victory, Trial , Bridges at Toko-Ri, Return to Paradise, The inn of the sixth happiness, Valley of dolls, Von Ryan express, Last command , The prize, From the terrace, among others. Rating 6/10. Acceptable, passable and decent disaster movie.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

15 November 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Earthquake See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (extended TV cut)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)| Sensurround (70 mm and 35 mm magnetic prints)| Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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