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The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990)

The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (original title)
After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will ... See full summary »

Director:

Larry Elikann

Writers:

William Bast (story), Paul Huson (story) | 5 more credits »
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On Disc

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanna Kerns ... Dr. Clare Winslow
Dan Lauria ... Steve Winslow
Bonnie Bartlett ... Anita Parker
Lindsay Frost ... Laurie Parker
Alan Autry ... Matt
Joe Spano ... Chad Spaulding
Holly Fields ... Heather Winslow
Brock Peters ... David Motubu
Stephen Elliott Stephen Elliott ... Dr. Owen Parker
Robert Ginty ... Wendell Cates
Clarence Gilyard Jr. ... Roy Bryant
Silvana Gallardo Silvana Gallardo ... Sonia
Michael T. Weiss ... Larry, the Mayor's City Official Aide
Charles Siebert ... Mayor Frank Baldwin
Richard Herd ... Ray Goodrich
Edit

Storyline

After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will strike southern California. With this information, she must battle city officials to release this information to the general public. Also, she hopes that her family is out of harms way when the quake strikes. Subplots show how other families and people cope with the the tremors that strike before the impending "Big One." Written by John R. Price <jprice@olemiss.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There is no safe harbor, there is no escape... L.A.'s worst fear has just become a reality. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Los Angeles Earthquake See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video) | (original) | (3 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The montage showing emergency services getting ready includes Squad 51 and Engine 51 from Emergency! (1972) backing in the station. See more »

Goofs

South African Trade Minister David Motubu, a black man, could not have held any political office in South Africa during the apartheid era, which did not end until four years after the movie was made. See more »

Quotes

Kevin Conrad: [choking back sobs] The injuries are in the... hundreds of thousands! The deaths... The deaths... are in the... tens... this must be the worst national disaster since the Civil War. I'm sorry!
[he shakes his head and turns away as the screen goes to snow]
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the NBC-TV network premiered this film over two nights in November 1990, NBC News added earthquake safety tips and news information at the end of each night of the miniseries. The information was provided because of the potential for deadly quakes at other fault lines in the USA and in particular reference to the New Madrid Earthquake Zone in the central USA which was predicted to quake on December 3, 1990. See more »

Connections

Edited into Epicenter (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
8.3 quake, 7.0 IMDB rating
10 August 2001 | by virek213See all my reviews

Forget for a second that the acting and the dialogue are not exactly first-rate; this isn't Shakespeare or Spielberg. This 1990 made-for-TV film does focus on an all-too-plausible disaster for those of us, like myself, who live in Southern California--a cataclysmic earthquake tearing the region apart.

Irritating subplots aside (Robert Ginty's greedy developer engaging in what I'd call "Quakegate"; Joe Spano's emergency management chief torn between Ginty and Kerns; Richard Masur's Geraldo-like tabloid TV reporter), THE BIG ONE is just too effective in its depiction of destruction on a scale not seen in a long time. Kerns' performance as seismologist Claire Winslow is clearly modeled off of CalTech scientists Lucy Jones and Kate Hutton. The film's science is also pretty straight-on, especially when one realizes that the quakes that have shook up Southern California since the 1971 Sylmar event have not occurred along the dreaded San Andreas Fault but on faults of which little or nothing is known about.

So whatever plot pratfalls it has, THE BIG ONE still works as an ultimate science fiction/disaster movie, at least from the science angle.


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