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The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990)

The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (original title)
After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will ... See full summary »

Director:

Larry Elikann

Writers:

William Bast (story), Paul Huson (story) | 5 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanna Kerns ... Dr. Clare Winslow
Dan Lauria ... Steve Winslow
Bonnie Bartlett ... Anita Parker
Lindsay Frost ... Laurie Parker
Alan Autry ... Matt
Joe Spano ... Chad Spaulding
Holly Fields ... Heather Winslow
Brock Peters ... David Motubu
Stephen Elliott Stephen Elliott ... Dr. Owen Parker
Robert Ginty ... Wendell Cates
Clarence Gilyard Jr. ... Roy Bryant
Silvana Gallardo Silvana Gallardo ... Sonia
Michael T. Weiss ... Larry, the Mayor's City Official Aide
Charles Siebert ... Mayor Frank Baldwin
Richard Herd ... Ray Goodrich
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Storyline

After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will strike southern California. With this information, she must battle city officials to release this information to the general public. Also, she hopes that her family is out of harms way when the quake strikes. Subplots show how other families and people cope with the the tremors that strike before the impending "Big One." Written by John R. Price <jprice@olemiss.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is not a true story... yet. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Following the final scene, a list of US cities threatened by earthquakes is shown. "According to the US Geological Survey, at least 39 states other than California are expected to experience major earthquakes in the future" Some of the cities that will be hardest hit include: Anchorage 9.2 Boston 6.5 Charleston 8.0 Memphis 8.0 New York City 6.5 Portland 9.0 Reno 7.0 St Louis 8.0 Salt Lake City 7.0 Seattle 9.0 "No city is currently as prepared as the city of Los Angeles." See more »

Goofs

After the "Big One" hits, Clare Winslow is determined to get from Los Angeles City Hall to her daughter at her house in Pasadena. The distance between those two places is roughly ten miles. Under the best of circumstances that trip would take roughly 3 and 1/2 hours by foot. Clare begins her trip roughly before nightfall around 5 PM. At the end of the movie it's roughly 9:30 PM which is indicated by a character's wristwatch. It's highly unlikely in the heavily damaged and fire ravaged city that Clare could make the trip so fast. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Clare Winslow: Do you think I like predicting the end of the world for hundreds, maybe thousands, of people?
Steve Winslow: Yes, I do.
Dr. Clare Winslow: No!
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC also aired a 3 hour condensed version in late 1991. See more »

Connections

Edited into Epicenter (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Can
Lyrics by Jeff Barry
Music by Fred Karlin
Performed by Lindsey Frost
See more »

User Reviews

 
Spectacular Visuals
27 October 2017 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Describing what could happen in the future, the film combines formulaic character subplots with terrific visuals in the second half to convey a fictional but realistic story of people caught up in their own private dramas before and during a devastating earthquake.

There are a couple of problems here. The first relates to the subplots; there are too many, resulting in an unnecessarily long run-time of about three hours. The assassination subplot seemed a bit hokey. At least 30 minutes probably could have been cut out without affecting the quality of the overall story. Because of so many speaking parts, I lost track of how some characters connected to other characters.

Also, the sound quality in the copy I watched was not very good. At times I could not understand the dialogue; it seemed muffled.

But of course viewers aren't really watching the film for the melodrama. They're watching for the disaster that's about to befall the characters. And the visuals during and after the earthquake are spectacular, every bit as good as in the 1974 film "Earthquake", if not better. Attention to detail is terrific. A lot of time and effort went into the visuals of this film, and it shows.

Casting of main parts is fine; the cast of extras is enormous. Overall acting is average, though I thought Joanna Kerns, as the lead character, gave an especially credible performance. Production design was far higher here than we would expect for a TV movie.

And I think it is indeed the "TV movie" label that brings down the cumulative rating for this film. Actually, "The Big One" is closer to a blockbuster theatrical release than it is to the stereotyped image of made-for-TV movie that viewers have come to expect. Unnecessarily lengthy subplots notwithstanding, if the viewer can watch the film for what it is, sans TV label, the viewer will enjoy it all the more.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Los Angeles Earthquake See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video) | (original) | (3 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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