Critics 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.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 894,053
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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, Rovi

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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 Technician
Dan Kelpine
as Diner Mechanic
Jennifer L. Hamilton
as Drive-In Girl
Alexa PenaVega
as Five Year Old Jo
Taylor Gilbert
as NSSL Scientist Bryce
Bruce Wright
as NSSL Scientist Murphy
Gary England
as TV Meteorologist No. 1
Jeff Lazalier
as TV Meteorologist No. 2
Rick Mitchell
as TV Meteorologist No. 3
Samantha McDonald
as Drive-In Girl
Anneke De Bont
as Farm Girl
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News & Interviews for Twister

Critic Reviews for Twister

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (13)

  • While the special effects are clearly the star of this masterwork, the storyline itself, although predictable, is crisp and full of heart.

    May 10, 2018 | Full Review…
  • You know a movie is in trouble when a cow provides its only moment of authentic human interest.

    Nov 5, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 18, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

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

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    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.

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • An expert in making audiences squirm and twist, at making us feel the rush of experience right along with the actors, De Bont choreographs action and suspense so beautifully he makes it seem like a snap.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Twister

  • Dec 23, 2015
    Better than Into the Storm obviously, but it ended up being what other disaster movies ended up being.
    EpicLadySponge t Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2012
    Very oblivious, I forgot what I watched as soon as the movie ended. The acting is pretty good and characterisation ain't too bad, but I just feel like they brought it upon themselves. Music was touching, story progression is quite slow however; lots of unecessary dramas were happening once in a while. The film lack of pace, it was improved it could have been much more enjoyable.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    Twister is not a good movie, but if was fun to watch. The plot was really boring and dumb, but so are most summer blockbusters like this. The cast was okay, i had no complaibnts really, but I guess they did okay. The effects were really cheesy and bad, but if some people liked them thats up to them. This movie was fun to watch if your in to these movies, but overall it bored the hell outta me.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2011
    Disaster movie made for teens.
    Eric A Super Reviewer

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