Twister (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Twister (1996)



Critic Consensus: A high-concept blockbuster that emphasizes special effects over three-dimensional characters, Twister's visceral thrills are often offset by the film's generic plot.

Movie Info

Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt and Carey Elwes may be billed as the stars of Twister, but the film's real attractions are the cyclones themselves. Best experienced in a theater, the nail-biting, blow-the-audience-out-of-their-seats computer generated graphics, cutting edge sound and other special effects are designed to take viewers straight into the roaring funnel of a gigantic tornado. In order to focus on special effects and action, the story is simple and the characters are drawn in broad strokes with little depth. Jo Harding (Hunt) became a storm chaser (a meteorologist who photographs and scientifically studies tornadoes in the field) after a large twister sucked her hapless daddy into oblivion when she was a girl. Bill (Paxton) was a storm chaser too, but left to become a successful weatherman. His change of profession ruined his marriage to Jo. Before separating, the Hardings invented DOROTHY, a gizmo designed to release thousands of tiny sensors when a tornado passes over it. The Hardings hope the information transmitted by the sensors will provide insight into the nature of the whirling windstorms. Backed by a large corporation, the villainous Dr. Jonas Miller (Elwes) has created a similar machine. Neither gadget has been field tested and both groups of storm chasers are anxious to find tornadoes. At the peak of the worst twister season in decades, Bill shows up at Jo's truck with his prissy fiancee Melissa (Jami Gertz) so Jo can sign divorce papers. Suddenly a twister is spotted. With little hesitation, Bill rejoins the mad rush to reach it in time to activate DOROTHY. Jonas and his team are right behind them. Throughout the day the storms become worse and the rivalrous race becomes more intense. As they continue facing incredible dangers together Jo and Bill find renewed love while poor Melissa finds only an intense desire to get away from these storm-obsessed lunatics. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for intense depiction of very bad weather)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Ann-Marie Martin, Michael Crichton, Anne-Marie Martin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 6, 2000
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


Helen Hunt
as Jo Harding
Bill Paxton
as Bill Harding
Cary Elwes
as Dr. Jonas Miller
Jami Gertz
as Melissa
Lois Smith
as Aunt Meg
Alan Ruck
as Rabbit
Sean Whalen
as Sanders
Scott Thomson
as Preacher
Todd Field
as Beltzer
Jeremy Davies
as Laurence
Patrick Fischler
as The Communicator
Ben Weber
as Stanley
Jake Busey
as Mobile Lab Technicia...
Dan Kelpine
as Diner Mechanic
Jennifer L. Hamilton
as Drive-In Girl
Alexa Vega
as Five Year Old Jo
Taylor Gilbert
as NSSL Scientist Bryce
Bruce Wright
as NSSL Scientist Murph...
Gary England
as TV Meteorologist No....
Jeff Lazalier
as TV Meteorologist No....
Rick Mitchell
as TV Meteorologist No....
Samantha McDonald
as Drive-In Girl
Anneke De Bont
as Farm Girl
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Twister

Critic Reviews for Twister

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (12)

You know a movie is in trouble when a cow provides its only moment of authentic human interest.

Full Review… | November 5, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Even more than with most of Michael Crichton's concoctions, this one conveys the overwhelming impression of a mechanical entertainment, a very high concept in which the characters and their problems seem like utterly arbitrary creations.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Effects apart, this is dire: predictable, clichéd, sloppily written, pitifully performed and surprisingly short of real shocks and suspense.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It looks real, and Director Jan De Bont keeps the action coming so fast there's no time to question it.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Holds up against the noisy, busy, idiotically-scripted movies of today for all sorts of reasons [but] that does not excuse it from being a noisy, busy, idiotically-scripted movie in its own right.

Full Review… | November 27, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Decent disaster movie for teens.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Twister

So it's impossible that any of these characters survive any of these close encounters with the twisters. That being said, the plot is ludicrous and dialogue is laughable (how many times can these characters point out the obvious?). If you can suspend reality and survive a crappy plot, then watching these cow-hurling tornadoes should provide with enough mindless entertainment for a couple of hours.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

One of my favourite movies in this genre! Its a suspenful drama! If you enjoy disaster movies and are intrigue with nature and twisters, and with a hint of a blossoming romance then you'll enjoy this movie, very muich worth the watch!!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Disaster movie made for teens.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Twister Quotes

Aunt Meg: Okay but im going to drive myself.
Rabbit: Honey, your car is in a tree a block away.
– Submitted by Tanner B (4 years ago)
Bill Harding: Jonas... son of a bitch.
Melissa: Who is that honey?
Bill Harding: Jonas Miller, he's a nightcrawler. We all started out in the same lab and Jonas got himself some corporate sponsors! He's in it for the money, not the science! He's got a lot of high tech gadgets... but he's got no instincts... and he doesn't have Dorothy!
– Submitted by Adrian G (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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