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St. Helens (1981)

Dramatization of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The movie begins with the volcano's awakening on March 20 and ends with its eruption on May 18, 1980.


Ernest Pintoff


Michael T. Murphy (story) (as Michael Timothy Murphy), Larry Sturholm (story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Art Carney ... Harry Truman
David Huffman ... David Jackson
Cassie Yates ... Linda Steele
Albert Salmi ... Clyde Whittaker
Ron O'Neal ... Otis Kaylor
Tim Thomerson ... Sheriff Wayne Temple
Bill McKinney ... Kilpatrick
Redmond Gleeson Redmond Gleeson ... Hendricks
Nehemiah Persoff ... Mr. Ellison
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns ... David Crockett
Henry Darrow ... Lloyd Wagner
Danny Chambers ... Col. Arnholt (as Dan Chambers)
Biff Manard Biff Manard ... Dr. Romarantin
Joseph Benti Joseph Benti ... Newscaster
Clark Christiansen Clark Christiansen ... Reeder


Dramatization of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The movie begins with the volcano's awakening on March 20 and ends with its eruption on May 18, 1980. Written by Neal Harkner <neal@pooh.pageplus.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Movie... The Largest Explosion Ever! See more »


Adventure | Drama


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

St. Helens, Killer Volcano See more »

Filming Locations:

Bend, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Davis-Panzer Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


David Jackson is based on real-life scientist David Johnston. He died in the same way and uttering the same final words into his radio before the blast of Mt. St. Helens hit him, "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" See more »


There was no highway anywhere near Mount St. Helens numbered "607" as mentioned during a brief scene at the Mount St. Helens Lodge. There was, however, a major access road that led to Spirit Lake, called State Route 504. See more »


David Jackson: [talking into a CB radio right after St. Helens erupts] Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!
[the blast consumes him]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the cast list rolls during the end credits, then this can be seen: "Stunt Baby Beau Davis" See more »


Referenced in Alpha to Omega: Exposing 'The Osterman Weekend' (2004) See more »


The Climb Is Worth the Fall
Written and Performed by Corky Corson and "Buckboard"
See more »

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User Reviews

Art Carney steals the show
21 February 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

This is a superior made for TV movie about one of the worst natural disasters in the history of North America. The film centers on the crusty old mountain man Harry Truman played by the fine actor Art Carney who gives one of his best performances. Harry was a cracker barrel philosopher of sorts who loved all the attention given him my the media. Determined to stay put come hell or high water or a mountain blowing up in his face, Harry represents the stubborn American type who wants to hang on to cherished memories of his wife and daughter at any cost, choosing to die with his canine companion than to face an uncertain future elsewhere in a world he doesn't know. Art Cartney captures the spirit and essence of this eccentric oddity out of place in the present high-tech world he never made.

The weakest aspect of this film is the awful music. Who ever tried to write the country and western songs had absolutely no feel for the genre. (The Italian rock band Goblin is credited.) The lyrics are cold and lifeless, the melodies hackneyed and bland. Too bad they couldn't have got someone of the caliber of Merle Haggard or Dolly Parton to give the flick some real s**t-kicking hoedowns and barroom crying in your beer songs.

The cast other than Art Carney is adequate. David Huffman and Cassie Yates make a cute couple of opposites attracting, he a professional geologist, she an uneducated waitress with a failed marriage and a son. But they make the relationship believable and the ending probable. Of special note is the appearance of Bill McKinney as one of the loggers Kilpatrick. He is perhaps the most famous villain in screen history because of his work as the Mountain Man in "Deliverance." In "St. Helens" he gets the short end of the stick.

The on-location photography is an added attraction with actual shots of the Mt. St. Helens eruption inserted. The scene toward the end where Harry is fishing as the mountain spews forth its load is harrowing. The attentive viewer will come away from this picture with new questions concerning the meaning of life and its brevity.

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