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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 »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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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:

There is no safe harbor, there is no escape... L.A.'s worst fear has just become a reality. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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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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

South African Trade Minister David Motubu, a black man, could not have held any political office in South Africa during the apartheid era, which did not end until four years after the movie was made. See more »

Quotes

Kevin Conrad: [choking back sobs] The injuries are in the... hundreds of thousands! The deaths... The deaths... are in the... tens... this must be the worst national disaster since the Civil War. I'm sorry!
[he shakes his head and turns away as the screen goes to snow]
See more »

Alternate Versions

When the NBC-TV network premiered this film over two nights in November 1990, NBC News added earthquake safety tips and news information at the end of each night of the miniseries. The information was provided because of the potential for deadly quakes at other fault lines in the USA and in particular reference to the New Madrid Earthquake Zone in the central USA which was predicted to quake on December 3, 1990. See more »

Connections

Edited into Epicenter (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

A Seismologist's Viewpoint
6 June 2002 | by Teach-8See all my reviews

Unfortunately, there was never any such thing, scientifically speaking, as a "good" earthquake movie. Though located smack in the middle of Earthquake Country, Hollywood has reflected the unfortunate ignorance of millions of residents. Most of the monster quakes that devastate Los Angeles in the movies are on the San Andreas Fault, 50 miles from downtown at its closest approach--again, parrotting the common myth that this is where the next "Big One" will come from. "The Big One" is a refreshing departure from this illconcieved mold. Though by no means a great movie, it zeroes in on the fact that there are faults criss-crossing the Los Angeles Basin that could cause major damage without being a "monster." In many ways, it was an unintended preview of the Northridge earthquake in 1994--the movie's quake was centered on the Elysian Park fault, which is a blind thrust fault that runs under downtown Los Angeles, while Northridge was also on a blind thrust fault under the San Fernando Valley. Though the seismology "details" were typical movie fare--foreshocks, unexplained geologic occurrences, and a doomsday prediction by a scientist that everyone else tries to silence (or at least ignore), it does demonstrate that something like this could happen in a much more believable scenario. It is not a "great" earthquake movie, but it is certainly an improvement.


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