The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

poseidon adventure poster 1972 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Holds up for the most part, goofy fun

Gets a bit ridiculous at points

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Poseidon Adventure

Studio:  20th Century Fox/Irwin Allen Productions/A Ronald Neame Film

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Drama

Release Date(s):  December 12, 1972 (Premiere)/December 13, 1972 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

poseidon adventure carol lynley roddy mcdowall red buttons ernest borgnine

Hey guys…I just want to tell you that whatever happens, there’s got to be a morning after

On New Year’s Eve, an underwater earthquake creates a massive wave that tips the top-heavy SS Poseidon.  Now, a group of survivors is fighting to reach the bottom of the ship in the hopes of beaching the hull and escaping.  Unfortunately, the ship is slowly flooding and time is running out.  They have to reach freedom before the Poseidon sinks.

Directed by Ronald Neame, The Poseidon Adventure is a disaster film.  The movie is based on the 1969 novel Paul Gallico.  It was a box office success and received an Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“The Morning After”) with nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Shelley Winters), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score (and a it received a special achievement award for Visual Effects).

poseidon aventure shelley winters swimming medal

See! I won a swimming medal!

The Poseidon Adventure was one of those childhood films that you didn’t have to even see to know about.  When you looked at a cruise ship, you could imagine the ship upside down…and it was kind of terrifying.  While the movie is a bit dated and goofy, it is a fun ride.

The movie is a basic survival film.  It does a good job separating the small group of survivors from the main group and keeps the pressure going with the flooding boat.  The characters are all different (painfully different) and they do a decent job getting their stories out in a short amount of time.  The movie does get a little over-the-top at the end when three characters die at the very end…with one random and another seemingly an almost unnecessary sacrifice (it feels like there are other options).

The cast is a slice of 1970s stars.  Gene Hackman had just been in The French Connection and was a rising star and Ernest Borgnine makes a good foil.  Shelley Winter was a fading star and has the great “I won a swimming medal!” character.  Jack Albertson, Red Buttons, and Roddy McDowall were also names and they mix young actors like Pamela Sue Martin, Eric Shea, and Carol Lynley.  The “pre-wreck” cast also includes Leslie Nielsen as the captain and Arthur O’Connell as the ship minister.

poseidon adventure gene hackman death

I was wrong guys…this actually spun kind of easy…we could have used a rope or a pole or something to turn it…I might have made a mistake

The special effects were cutting edge at the time.  The flipping of the boat was rather intense, but the movie has to deal with what it would be like to walk on the ceiling and make your way through a ship how it wasn’t designed.  It is an interesting aspect of the movie’s design.

The Poseidon Adventure is dated and quaint by big action thrillers today.  The movie still has some thrills and there is a tension of claustrophobia.  The story was also adapted as a TV movie in 2005 and again in 2006 by Wolfgang Petersen as Poseidon…but stick with the original.  The movie was followed by Beyond the Poseidon Adventure in 1977.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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