4.5/10
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139 user 77 critic

The Swarm (1978)

PG | | Horror, Thriller | 14 July 1978 (USA)
Trailer
2:15 | Trailer
A huge swarm of deadly African bees spreads terror over American cities by killing thousands of people.

Director:

Irwin Allen

Writers:

Arthur Herzog III (novel) (as Arthur Herzog), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Brad Crane
Katharine Ross ... Capt. Helena Anderson
Richard Widmark ... Gen. Slater
Richard Chamberlain ... Dr. Hubbard
Olivia de Havilland ... Maureen Schuester
Ben Johnson ... Felix
Lee Grant ... Anne MacGregor
José Ferrer ... Dr. Andrews (as Jose Ferrer)
Patty Duke ... Rita (as Patty Duke Astin)
Slim Pickens ... Jud Hawkins
Bradford Dillman ... Maj. Baker
Fred MacMurray ... Mayor Clarence
Henry Fonda ... Dr. Walter Krim
Cameron Mitchell ... Gen. Thompson
Christian Juttner ... Paul Durant
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Storyline

Killer bees from South America have been breeding with the gentler bees of more northern climates, slowly extending their territory northward decade after decade. Entomologist Brad Crane has discovered that something is making them come together in huge, killer swarms. He wants to keep General Slater from using military tactics from further upsetting the balance of nature as they join to try to stop the swarms from approaching Houston, Texas. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Monsters by the millions - and they're all for real! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Felix is bringing flowers to Maureen, he passes a movie theater playing The Towering Inferno (1974), which was also produced by Irwin Allen. See more »

Goofs

Distance between Paul and the bees during the gasoline scene varies wildly depending on the POV of Paul or the bees. See more »

Quotes

[Crane has found something at the ravaged picnic site]
Brad Crane: [holding it up] Plastic. It's a piece of a plastic cup. There are pieces all around here.
[he starts pointing out the other fragments]
Brad Crane: Look. Look, there. There. There.
General Slater: What's so significant about that?
Brad Crane: I'm afraid to speculate. But, I think, the bees, did this.
Major Baker: Are you saying these bees eat plastic?
Brad Crane: No, no. But I'm wondering. Your American Honeybee has a weak mouth, that couldn't even break the skin, of a grape. But it looks like this species, is ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Disclaimer in closing credits: The African killer bee portrayed in this film bears absolutely no relationship to the industrious, hard-working American honey bee to which we are indebted for pollinating vital crops that feed our nation. See more »

Alternate Versions

The home video and DVD releases are extended by 40 minutes, making the film's running time 156 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: Meteor (2009) See more »

User Reviews

 
Great fun, depending on which version you see...
25 March 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

THE SWARM

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound format: 4-track magnetic stereo

A swarm of African killer bees rampage across America's south-west before descending on Houston, destroying everything in their path.

Contrary to popular opinion, THE SWARM is not the worst movie ever made, and anyone who says otherwise clearly hasn't seen the collected works of Jesùs Franco, Andy Milligan or Woody Allen (just kidding!). Representing the last gasp of the disaster cycle inaugurated by Ross Hunter's big-time adaptation of Arthur Hailey's AIRPORT (1969) and further popularized by the likes of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) - the latter a bona fide Hollywood classic - THE SWARM encapsulates director Irwin Allen's basic commercial ethos: Big stars, big set-pieces, and big drama.

Taking its cue from previous small-scale entries like THE DEADLY BEES (1966) and TERROR OUT OF THE SKY (1978), Allen's old-fashioned monster movie revels in the destruction of towns, trains, nuclear power plants and the reputations of numerous high-profile actors. However, Stirling Silliphant's script is so hokey, it's difficult to believe he wasn't poking inglorious fun at the entire project: Michael Caine is so obviously miscast (as a 'brilliant' entomologist), and so clearly contemptuous of the material, his expression never changes throughout the entire film, though co-star Richard Widmark gives it everything he's got as a gruff military type who's eager to quell the threat by bombing everything in sight. Henry Fonda rises above the fray as a dedicated immunologist, and Slim Pickens is quietly dignified as a bereaved father, while Olivia De Havilland forms the centerpiece of a gentle romantic subplot (she's courted by Fred MacMurray and Ben Johnson). Richard Chamberlain, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Bradford Dillman and Patty Duke Astin are featured in supporting roles alongside leading lady Katharine Ross, who seems particularly embarrassed by her ridiculous dialogue (get a load of her hysterical reaction to the death of a sympathetic younger character - if you lean forward, you can almost *smell* the ham!).

The film exists in two separate versions: The 116 minute theatrical print, and an expanded 'director's cut' running 155 minutes which pads the narrative with pointless dialogue exchanges, turning a tightly constructed disaster thriller into an endless yak-fest. Stick with the original.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 July 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Swarm See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$21,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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