Deep Impact (1998)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Mimi Leder (The Peacemaker) directed this science-fiction disaster drama about the possible extinction of human life after a comet is discovered headed toward Earth with the collision only one year away. Ambitious MSNBC reporter Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) stumbles onto the story, prompting a White House press conference. United States President Beck (Morgan Freeman) announces the government's solution: a team of astronauts will travel to the comet and destroy it. The team leader aboard the … More

Rating: PG-13 (For intense disaster related elements and brief language)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Bruce Joel Rubin, Michael Tolkin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 15, 1998
Paramount Pictures


as Spurgeon Tanner

as Jenny Lerner

as Leo Biederman

as Robin Lerner

as Jason Lerner

as Sarah Hotchner

as President Beck

as Alan Rittenhouse

as Andrea Baker

as Mark Simon

as Eric Vennekor

as Oren Monash

as Mikhail Tulchinsky

as Gus Partenza

as Comet Expert

as Beth Stanley

as Stuart Caley

as Ellen Biederman

as Don Biederman

as Chuck Hotchner

as Morton Entrekin

as Caitlin Stanley

as Caitlin Stanley

as Ira Moskatel

as Marianne Duclos

as Tim Urbanska

as Theo Van Sertema

as Jeff Worth

as Jenny's Assistant

as Bobby Rhue

as Jane Biederman

as Vicky Hotchner

as Harold

as Student

as Holly Rittenhouse

as Ivan Bronsky

as Sheila Bradley

as Wendy Mogel

as Grey Man

as General Scott

as Stofsky

as Patricia Ruiz

as Mike Perry

as Otis Hefter

as NASA Official

as David Baker

as Mariette Monash

as Dwight Tanner

as Steve Tanner

as Pretty Woman

as Little Boy

as Brittany Baker

as Young Lieutenant

as Section Leader

as Bus Sergeant
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Deep Impact

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Critic Reviews for Deep Impact

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (13)

...a modern classic within the disaster-film genre.

Full Review… | March 23, 2015
Reel Film Reviews

a little too melodramatic

April 24, 2008

Disaster movies are trim and exciting or they're nothing, and Deep Impact isn't trim or exciting.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007

The joy of any catastrophe flick is watching the world that annoys you so much get its due.

| September 11, 2005
Entertainment Asylum

Malignant and insensate, it's already too far gone for treatment.

Full Review… | January 19, 2005
Film Freak Central

Sin intención artística, el guión logra su objetivo.

Full Review… | June 6, 2004

Audience Reviews for Deep Impact


Back in 1998 we got the first of two movies revolving around the possible cataclysmic events of a gigantic comet hitting the Earth. This did happen a few times back in the 90's with the two volcano flicks...'Dante's Peak' and errr 'Volcano', 'Bug's Life' and 'Antz', 'Tombstone' and 'Wyatt Earp' etc... For some reason Hollywood bigwigs seemed to think we needed two virtually identical movies coming out in the same year.

Where as 'Armageddon' was a more bombastic explosion filled action adventure where characters had cool nicknames, this movie was a much deeper emotional rollercoaster with a sensible angle. I've always seen or compared these two films to videogames...this film being more like a realistic simulator and 'Armageddon' being more like a balls to the wall arcade cabinet game. Clearly there is no need to go over the plot in much detail as it speaks for itself, but both films required astronauts to drill deep into the vast looming comet and plant nukes to blow it up. In one film it works, in the other it doesn't.

What I liked about this film was the well portrayed characters and their development, although the casting wasn't all that good truth be told. We meet a rounded selection of average people, and of course Mr President and some officials, as the clock ticks down to judgement day. Each character has their own individual issues that intertwine with other characters throughout, its basically a slice of life for each person in the lead up to the disaster. In the mean time we also follow some astronauts and their mission to plant the nukes which naturally also includes more heart pounding problems to solve. On the whole every story line is very emotional as the tension builds...people die, people must make choices, sacrifices, redemption, reconciliation, love...its all here in buckets loads and what's more it works.

I will be quite honest here and say this movie gets me every time with the old waterworks, I can't help it. Leder uses all the tricks in the book to make you reach for the tissues, every predictable cliche is present and correct from making up with a loved one, giving up a life saving seat on a helicopter for a mother and the astronauts making the ultimate sacrifice. There are some scenes which really wrench at your heartstrings (I think), when Leoni and Schell hold each other on the beach before being engulfed by the tsunami, the shuttle crew saying their goodbyes before blowing themselves up inside a comet fissure, when the newsroom team must draw straws for helicopter placings. That scene also annoyed me, a young mother and child draw the short straw and must stay behind and no one offers their place to them! surely a mother and baby would get a place regardless sheesh!

On the flip side the destruction porn, or disaster porn should I say is handled well with solid CGI. The ruination of poor old New York is well rendered and still holds up today, watching the megatsunami sweep through the city toppling skyscrapers is actually quite scary. The tsunami itself looks good against the city but elsewhere it does look a tad obvious, there are the odd shots that stick out a bit these days but that's expected. In general it all looks very good and with minimal use of big set pieces really, not until the finale that is, its mainly dialog and space sequences. The space sequences are quite impressive I might add, nicely done, realistic in appearance no all looked accurate to me, as though it could really happen. The comet sequences were probably the best in the film, it all looked like a set sure but very well created, cold and intimidating visually, great space suits for the astronauts and some slick looking machinery and gear which all looked like it would actually do the job for real.

It always amused me how the US decides to save one million people, 300,000 of which already have places, people like scientists teachers doctors...artists? No one over 50...bit of a bummer huh, oh unless you're the President or any of his aides that is. I've also always wondered about the US military in this film, did they get automatic places in the caves? seeing as they are serving their country, did their families get automatic places too? if not why would any soldier follow orders and do what they do...act like emotionless heartless robots.

I also found it hilarious that as Elijah Wood and his family are about to enter the caves his folks actually let him run off to find his little girlfriend! As if any parent would allow their child to do that in that situation, I'm pretty sure any normal parent would have dragged the child in with them no questions asked. The whole sub plot is ridiculous too seeing as Wood would have died for nothing, he didn't know the bigass comet would get destroyed and he never made it back to the caves, so both him and his girlfriend would have been killed ordinarily. When Wood does find his girlfriend her folks tell them to get to higher ground...but again why bother when they all knew the bigass comet would wipe everything out. Surely being together in the last few minutes would have been a better option for the kids. So technically Wood goes off on a suicide mission and his folks let him.

So even with a simple plot like this there are still (I think) some flaws that don't really reflect reality that well. I also thought the main casting was a bit all over the place with Leoni coming across kinda weak in my opinion. She just looks confused all the time and her newscaster sequences were terrible, even before she announces the bad news she's stuttering through it annoyingly. Schell adds some old fashioned class and sheen but the relationship/connection between him and Leoni never really feels right even though it isn't suppose to. Even at the very end I just didn't feel it between them which is a shame because they are one of the main focus points in the plot (still a sad moment).

On the other hand the drama kicking off in space is managed expertly by Duvall, him and his team really do come across as a proper group of astronauts. This was one aspect I've always like about the movie and that's the combination of the Earth based drama and space set drama, both of which are solid and gel perfectly. I was also impressed how the story is handled, it never crosses your mind that the space shuttle crew might not make it back, sure you know there's always gonna be redshirt character in there but you always assume they will be the heroes and get home. I guess this is what makes their sacrifice so powerful towards the finale, it surprises you, hits you hard, and in that brief moment you connect with the small team one human to another.

I'm sure there are probably some scientific bits that aren't overly accurate too but in general this movie feels very realistic, looks very realistic and manages to cover the stark reality of humanity having to face extinction exceptionally well in the countdown to the end of the world.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

I'll never forget when the topic of conversation was "Which do you like better? Deep Impact or Armageddon?" Seems like "Armageddon" won....I'll take both, but between the two, I always preferred "Deep Impact."

Jason Owens

Super Reviewer


Released just two months before Armageddon, this film was made to make money. They took a common and popular idea and ran the cheesiest story possible but lacked any drama and empathy. A sham for Morgan Freeman.

Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Deep Impact Quotes

– Submitted by Kent E (4 years ago)

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