Dante's Peak (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Old Smokey develops a bad temper in this volcanic disaster spectacle. Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) is a volcano expert whose interest became more than academic after he lost the woman he loved in a volcanic emergency. When he is sent to investigate unusual seismic activity in the quiet Pacific Northwest community of Dante's Peak, he discovers people boiled to death in the local hot spring and plant and animal life dying or displaying unusual illnesses near the city's supposedly dormant volcano. … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Leslie Bohem
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 20, 1998
Universal Pictures


as Harry Dalton

as Rachel Wando

as Paul Dreyfus

as Lauren Wando

as Graham Wando

as Terry Furlong

as Stan

as Stan

as Les Worrell

as Dr. Jane Fox

as Sheriff Turner

as Mary Kelly

as Norman Gates

as Jack Collins

as Elliot Blair

as Marianne

as Warren Cluster

as Karen Narlington

as Hot Springs Man

as Hot Springs Woman

as National Guardsman

as News Stringer

as Man at Helicopter

as Town Meeting Woman

as Paramedic

as Road Block Newsperso...

as Road Block Newsperso...

as Babysitter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dante's Peak

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Critic Reviews for Dante's Peak

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (16)

A $100 million piece of piffle.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dante's Peak

There seemed to be a few disaster films in the 90's, there also seemed to be a trend for making identical films, this was the first for the double dose of volcanoes.

Now lets be honest here, there is a standard setup for disaster films which is usually always followed and somehow keeps on working. In this case we have Brosnan being the science boff who no one believes when he fears a volcano may erupt next to the sleepy mountain town of Dante's Peak.

From the very start its a waiting game, waiting for the fun to start when the mountain blows. The easy plot builds up many characters so we get to know them plus links to other folk so when it all kicks off we feel the emotion run deep. Its simple building block film making basically and this film actually does it well with likeable characters all the way through. I must admit Brosnan is pretty good here, never really liked him before but his calm heroic demeanor is very soothing amidst all the terror and tension, I really wanted him to survive with the woman and kids.

The other things that impress about this film is how realistic it actually is and how well they handle all the effects and action. At no point was I ever thinking how shoddy the film looked or how cheesy it was. All the acting was really very good with some genuinely tear jerking moments of emotion and pretty much all the volcano eruption special effects were excellent. In fact during almost every sequence of rock spurting action I was impressed by the effects which also included some good model work and good matte paintings of the mountain.

Most definitely a more realistic route for this particular slice of volcano drama, pretty accurate with volcano facts offering a good education really. The whole thing builds well and gives plenty of time for everything to come to a climax nicely, no rush and no fuss with obvious care and attention to all areas. A highly recommended natural disaster that has it all including the obligatory dog to really heighten your angst and wetten your hankie when the lava flows.

(This film also includes the infamous 'Wilhelm scream' which is a kooky hokey scream sound effect used hundreds of times in various films. Google it and you will see what I mean and recognise I'm sure.)

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer


Harry Dalton: I've always been better at feeling out volcanoes than people and politics. 

"Whatever you do, don't look back."

If you watch Dante's Peak, you'll be struck by lackluster acting, terribly written characters, and poor dialogue. But it's a disaster movie, so you can't judge it on just those weaknesses. Movies like this don't get made for their cinematic value; they get made for big special effects and big action sequences. The movie may be stupid, and it is; maybe even more so then the average disaster movie, but it excels in cool action sequences and large destruction. So all in all, it isn't nearly as bad as everyone says and it actually is a decent amount of fun.

Harry Dalton arrives in Dante's Peak(number two on the list of most desirable places to live, population under 20,000) to look at a volcano that might be waking up. He immediately thinks it is going to blow soon, but his boss doesn't want to start a panic, so they wait and run tests. Well soon it's too late to evacuate properly and a bunch of earthquakes start devouring the town. Sufficient time is given to both the setup and the disaster. About half and half respectably. 

While I still think the movie is a somewhat fun time, there's also a lot of annoyances that are hard to get over. I hated the Ruth character. I hated Linda Hamilton. I hated when the people would talk to each other. Other than that I liked it though. I can't rate this movie on the normal scale because it isn't a normal movie. I expect different things from different types of films and with Dante's Peak, I expected these annoyances. 

Odds are, you will likely dislike this movie to some degree. I like it more than a lot of people, but still Roger Donaldson and company gives me enough to dislike also. If you like disaster movies, you might as well give this one a look; it's not like there's a bunch of great ones to watch instead. If you hate the genre, this film will only give you more ammo to use against it. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

One of two volcano flicks of this summer. This one was the good one. I liked the characters although they are very cookie cutter in how they are written and performed. I didn't mind that though as the film is not meant to be taken too seriously. It's a fun movie and a product of it's time.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

Dante's Peak Quotes

– Submitted by Adrian G (3 years ago)

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