Earthquake movie

Theatrical release poster

Earthquake is a 1974 disaster film with an ensemble cast including the late Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, the late George Kennedy, Genevieve Bujold, the late Lorne Greene and Richard Roundtree. The film was directed by Mark Robson.


Los Angeles is rocked by a 9 point plus scale earthquake.

Why It Rocks

  1. Interesting storyline.
  2. Well done practical effects.
  3. The filmmakers made a model of the city.
  4. Good performances.
  5. The opening score by John Williams is suspenesful and adrenaline pumping music.
  6. When the film was released theatrically, it was released in Sensurround and the audience could actually simulate what it would be like in a real earthquake.

Bad Qualities

  1. Certain scenes are distracting to the story (e.g. when an L.A. County sherrif is ticketed for crashing into the side of a bush while going after a criminal, despite it being an accident)
  2. Plot holes.
  3. Certain distracting characters (e.g. a boy and his mother in the suburb scene)
  4. The film is slow at certain points.


Earthquake currently holds a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's critic consensus says "The destruction of Los Angeles is always a welcome sight, but Earthquake offers little besides big actors slumming through crumbling sets." Variety Staff at Variety described the film as "an excellent dramatic exploitation extravaganza, combining brilliant special effects with a multi-character plot line which is surprisingly above average for this type of film."


  • In the 1980s, Universal Studios Hollywood installed an attraction loosely based on the film. Universal Studios Orlando would have one as well.

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