Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Joe Versus the Volcano Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

When hypochondriac Joe (Tom Hanks) discovers he has just six months to live, he jumps at a millionaire's offer of unlimited wealth--contingent on Joe's willingness to leap into an active volcano at the end of his life.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language)
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Patrick Shanley
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 2, 2002
Warner Home Video


Tom Hanks
as Joe Banks
Meg Ryan
as DeDe/Angelica/Patric...
Lloyd Bridges
as Graynamore
Robert Stack
as Dr. Ellison
Abe Vigoda
as Chief of the Waponis
Dan Hedaya
as Waturi
Ossie Davis
as Marshall
Barry McGovern
as Luggage Salesman
Carol Kane
as Hairdresser
Jim Hudson
as Fred (Guard)
Nathan Lane
as Ben, the Waponi Adva...
Jim Ryan
as Bellman
Tony Salome
as Clerk (at The Rectal...
Lala Sloatman
as Waitress
Jennifer Stewart
as Statue of Liberty
Paul Thorpe
as The (Waponi) God Woo
Darrell Zwerling
as Underwear Salesman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Joe Versus the Volcano

Critic Reviews for Joe Versus the Volcano

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9)

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Cult classic with smoking, kissing, stereotypes.

Full Review… | September 19, 2012
Common Sense Media

An overlooked gem.

Full Review… | June 29, 2010
Three Movie Buffs

A more fascinating mess you'll never find.

October 31, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The unredeemable result of Hollywood's total capitulation to the Spielberg/Lucas aesthetic of the 80s.

March 10, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Audience Reviews for Joe Versus the Volcano


Ahhh, the days of sweet youth! Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan look like high school kids in this little comedic trinket that waxes slightly philosophical. Starting out pretty good, reminiscent of Gilliam's "Brazil", it unfortunately degenerates into a misguided and wayward snicker about all those Hollywood movies dreaming about the good life on some tropical isle somewhere. In between there's a message about appreciating life no matter what, and having good luggage. Hanks plays the affable man/boy that made him popular while Ryan has 3 roles, playing herself as the third. You might want to like it more than you actually do.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

An Average Joe. An Adventurous Comedy.

Not so bad as it's said to be. The movie is probably too allegorical for most tastes, but this is a good tale about a character afraid of life, afraid of that next step, who finds his courage and puts his foot forward again.

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.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks prove once again that they have incredible movie chemistry. Meg Ryan plays 3 astonishingly different women, Dee dee, the shy women, who works with Joe Banks (Hanks), Angelica, the messed up woman living off of daddy's money and the independent and confidant, Patricia. Tom Hanks plays Joe, a man you fears everything in life. This is one of those movies that you'll want to watch again and again for many years to come (:

Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Joe Versus the Volcano Quotes

– Submitted by Brent W (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Brent W (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Gary E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Patrick C (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Joe Versus the Volcano on our Movie forum!