When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Joe
Meg Ryan ... DeDe / Angelica / Patricia
Lloyd Bridges ... Graynamore
Robert Stack ... Dr. Ellison
Abe Vigoda ... Chief of the Waponis
Dan Hedaya ... Mr. Waturi
Barry McGovern Barry McGovern ... Luggage Salesman
Amanda Plummer ... Dagmar
Ossie Davis ... Marshall
Jayne Haynes Jayne Haynes ... Nurse
David Burton David Burton ... Mike
Jon Conrad Pochron Jon Conrad Pochron ... Tony (as Jon Pochran)
Jim Hudson ... Fred - Guard
Antoni Gatti Antoni Gatti ... Italian Tailor
Darrell Zwerling ... Underwear Salesman
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Storyline

Joe versus the Volcano is a fable which opens with somewhat surrealistic scenes of the dehumanization of Joe Bank's job and work environment (at a company whose product rather literally screws people) with imagery that seems to have been inspired by the classic film Metropolis. Joe is diagnosed with an incurable disease, quits his dehumanizing job, and accepts an offer to briefly "live like a king, die like a man" - but to fulfill his agreement he must willingly jump into a live volcano on the island of Waponi Woo in order to appease the volcano god. En route to the island, Joe meets a series of interesting characters in NYC and LA, then boards a yacht, captained by Patricia Graynamore. During the voyage Joe and Patricia survive disaster, fall in love, and finally arrive at the island where they face their destiny. Written by <talford@mitre.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of love, lava and burning desire. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Joe and Angelica are overlooking Los Angeles in her convertible, her license plate on the rear reads "BAAD GIRL". When she is dropping him back at the hotel in the next scene, the front plate reads "GOOD GIRL". See more »

Goofs

When Joe catches the hammerhead shark it is clearly a stuffed mock up. One can see the folds in the fabric. See more »

Quotes

Joe Banks: I've never been to L.A. before.
Angelica: What do you think?
Joe Banks: It looks fake. I like it!
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Alternate Versions

The movie was re-shot to change the ending, which was unpopular with test audiences. In the original ending, after Joe and Patricia are expelled by the volcano, they are rescued by the Tweedle Dum (the sister of the yacht that was sunk, the Tweedle Dee.) On board are the rescued crew of the Dee, as well as Graynamore and "Dr. Ellison", who turns out to be Graynamore's tax accountant (and hatchet man) by the name of Kenneth Hindmick. Graynamore reveals he had Hindmick pose as a doctor to make Joe think he had a fatal disease. Hindmick pulls a gun on Joe to protect Graynamore from Joe's anger, and to allow Graynamore to keep the yacht. Joe, having stared into the mouth of a volcano, calmly swipes the gun from Hindmick, then announces to Graynamore that he and Patricia had gotten married by the Chief. They both banish Graynamore and Hindmick to the boat's dinghy in the middle of the ocean. Graynamore tells Hindmick that he likes Joe, and admits being banished in a small dinghy in the middle of the ocean is his price for being too greedy, and tells Hindmick to help him row home. Back at the Tweedle Dum, Joe and Patricia see the four steamer trunks popping to the surface, with the Chief riding the last one, brandishing his Tobi, happily telling them he didn't lose his soul after all. Joe replies he didn't lose his either. The only remnant from the original ending is that in the end credits, you see an artist's rendition of the Tweedle Dum sailing off into the distance. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Diminishing Returns: Super Mario Bros. (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Moon
Written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers
Performed by Elvis Presley
Courtesy of RCA Records
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User Reviews

An Under-appreciated Delight
22 June 1999 | by Mr. E-2See all my reviews

For many people, the fact that I love this movie will throw the integrity of everything else I write about into doubt. "Joe" has unfairly become an industry joke, shorthand for the depths to which Tom Hanks sank before redeeming himself with Academy Awards. This fate is horribly undeserved. "Joe" is an imaginative and gloriously life-affirming movie, a hysterically funny fantasy nearly on a par with the best of Terry Gilliam with a "carpe diem" moral that comes across with a lot more honesty and a lot less preachiness than some other movies I could mention. Every Tom Hanks performance is virtually flawless and this one ranks near the top. Meg Ryan's performances are warm and hilarious. Usually it's men who play more than one role in a movie and then it's more often for ego's sake than art's. Ryan pulls off her multiple characters with remarkable grace. More amazingly, it makes perfect sense for her to play three characters. For the sake of argument, I am willing to concede that there are those who just aren't going to enjoy this movie's unique mixture of whimsy and genuine emotion. But for me, it's a classic, easily one of my favorite movies of the decade.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joe Versus the Volcano See more »

Filming Locations:

Hawaii, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,252,232, 11 March 1990

Gross USA:

$39,404,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,404,261
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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