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The Swarm (1978)

PG | | Horror, Thriller | 14 July 1978 (USA)
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2:13 | Trailer

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A huge swarm of deadly African bees spreads terror over American cities by killing thousands of people.

Director:

Irwin Allen

Writers:

Arthur Herzog III (novel) (as Arthur Herzog), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Brad Crane
Katharine Ross ... Captain Helena Anderson
Richard Widmark ... General Slater
Richard Chamberlain ... Dr. Hubbard
Olivia de Havilland ... Maureen Schuester
Ben Johnson ... Felix
Lee Grant ... Anne MacGregor
José Ferrer ... Dr. Andrews (as Jose Ferrer)
Patty Duke ... Rita (as Patty Duke Astin)
Slim Pickens ... Jud Hawkins
Bradford Dillman ... Major Baker
Fred MacMurray ... Mayor Clarence
Henry Fonda ... Dr. Walter Krim
Cameron Mitchell ... General Thompson
Christian Juttner ... Paul Durant
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Storyline

Killer bees from South America have been breeding with the gentler bees of more northern climes, slowly extending their territory northward decade after decade. Entomologist Brad Crane has discovered that something is making them come together in huge, killer swarms. He wants to keep the General Slater from using military tactics from further upsetting the balance of nature as they join to try to stop the swarms from approaching Houston. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It is more than speculation... it is a prediction! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 July 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der tödliche Schwarm See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$21,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Felix is bringing flowers to Maureen, he passes by a movie theatre playing The Towering Inferno (1974), which was also produced by Irwin Allen. See more »

Goofs

As the flamethrower team sets a car on fire, you can briefly glimpse a film crew rushing up with water to put it out. See more »

Quotes

[Watching Crane pray after Helena suffers toxic shock from a bee sting]
Major Baker: Can we really count on a scientist who prays?
General Slater: I wouldn't count on one who doesn't.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Disclaimer in closing credits: The African killer bee portrayed in this film bears absolutely no relationship to the industrious hard-working American honey bee to which we are indebted for pollinating vital crops that feed our nation. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK "12" certificate video release is the 155m version of this film (also shown on US TV) which was released in cinemas at 116m (with a "PG" certificate). Some of the additional footage is as follows:
  • more of the 3 way courtship between DeHavilland, Johnson & MacMurray
  • a hilarious scene in which the military inspect the attacked picnic site and Michael Caine comments on the bees' biting abilities
  • several additional scenes of Caine and Katharine Ross driving back and forth between the military bunker and the town and chatting about developments as they do
  • the death scene of the little boy whose parents were killed and who subsequently firebombed the swarm - in the short version he is in hospital and you assume he's survived although he's not seen again. he has a relapse and dies in the long version.
  • various extra footage of Caine and Ross going to the HQ in Houston
  • when Henry Fonda is killed there is an additional shot of a huge superimposed bee which he sees at the moment of death
  • an additional subplot near the end of the film in which Ross has a relapse and nearly dies from her earlier bee sting. This is why she's lying in a bed when Caine rescues her from the burning building. This sub-plot has several short scenes including one when Bradford Dillman and Richard Widmark see Caine praying by her bed - once he sees that Caine believes in God Widmark knows he's a good chap and instructs Dillman to "Close that dossier" (the dossier has been constantly referred to by Widmark but was left as an unresolved plot hole in the theatrical cut).
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tremors: The Sounds of Silence (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I never thought it would be the bees. They've always been our friends.
25 January 2003 | by disgruntellaSee all my reviews

Michael Caine should have got his Oscar for uttering that line.

I was actually scared by this movie on TV when I was young because of the scene of the children being "swarmed" at recess. Yet a quarter of a century later, I had to get the DVD because this is one movie guaranteed to cheer me up. It's all been said in other comments - cheese, camp, so bad it's good. Ed Wood would be proud.

The scenes between Caine's scientist and Widmark's general are all classics. The icing on the cake is the two scenes with Slim Pickens. And the debate between Caine and Chamberlain over whether the bees should be called African or Brazilian. By the way, why does Richard Chamberlain look like he's on a break from a touring company of Victor/Victoria?

One plus of the DVD version is a half hour behind the scenes feature: "Inside the Swarm". You get to see several of the actors talk with utmost sincerity (and straight faces!) about the "real" dangers of killer bees.

The folks who wrote "Airplane!" couldn't even make a parody of this -- it's already hysterical.


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