[Screen It]


(1997) (Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Moderate Minor Heavy Minor
Mild None Heavy None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor None Moderate Mild *Extreme

Action/Adventure: A volcano threatens a small town.
Dante's Peak is a peaceful small town community that's just been named as one of the best American cities to live in. It's also home to a dormant volcano that's drawn the interest of volcanologist Harry Dalton (PIERCE BROSNAN) of the U.S. Geological Survey. After some preliminary research, he tells town mayor and single mom, Rachel Nando (LINDA HAMILTON), that the town should begin preliminary evacuation plans. His boss, Dr. Paul Dreyfus (CHARLES HALLAHAN), however, is too cautious and doesn't want to spook investors away from the community. Nevertheless, Harry's seen this before and as more indicators point to a major eruption, he tries to convince Rachel that she, her kids, Graham (JEREMY FOLEY) and Lauren (JAMIE RENEE SMITH) and their grandmother Ruth (ELIZABETH HOFFMAN), are in danger. After an initial, small eruption, Harry and Rachel race to get themselves and the townspeople to safety before the big blast occurs.
If they're into special effects, disaster movies, or are fans of any of the cast, they will.
The MPAA reason was not available, but we'd guess it was for intense, frightening scenes.
  • PIERCE BROSNAN plays a geologist who's determined to save the people of Dante's Peak.
  • LINDA HAMILTON plays a single mom who's the mayor of the town.


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    Mixing the old story line of "Jaws" (a man's warnings about pending doom meet criticism based on the potential of lost income) and "Twister" (nature's destruction equals big box office dollars), this film doesn't match the fury or excitement of that tornado movie, but still proves to be an entertaining time at the theater. While the characters are a bit more fleshed out than in "Twister," this movie's "villain," the volcano, isn't as menacing as the mobile funnel clouds that seemed to take on a personality of their own. That land locks the movie and keeps the excitement potential to a degree lower than what the crowd's expecting. In addition, the film does take a bit too long to get to the volcano action (which is what we're waiting for), but once it gets rolling, the special effects are quite impressive. The performances by Brosnan and Hamilton, for the most part, feel realistic enough that you do care what happens to them. The film, however, is filled with many lapses of logic and common sense. For instance: Just because Harry is a geologist, does that make him know how to hot-wire a truck? And wouldn't he know (as a volcanologist) that you can't drive a truck through a steaming hot lava stream (evidently he doesn't). What are the odds that a family dog, missing for some time, just happens to be stranded on a rock right next to that lava stream? And at times the characters seem to forget the imminent danger of the big blast that may come at any moment. All of the fantastic special effects can't overcome the above problems and the fact that the movie is about as predictable as most other natural disaster films. Still, those looking for a mindless, fun time at the movies might just find this to their liking. We give it a 6 out of 10.
    It's good to have a film where there isn't a human villain (and in this film, the volcano is nowhere as animalistic as the funnel clouds are in "Twister"), but there are still a great many scenes that will scare very young kids. Older children, however, will probably find this to be a roller coaster ride that's fun to sit through. Other than the plentiful scary and/or suspenseful scenes and a few gross looking wounds, there's just a little drinking, a mild amount of profanity and violence that's limited to what the volcano causes. The kids do, however, have to watch their grandmother die in front of them. Since your kids will probably want to see this film, we suggest that you check out the scene listings before allowing them to do so.

  • A beer can and bottle are seen on Harry's table.
  • People drink beer in a bar and Paul orders whiskey.
  • Harry and Rachel drink wine on their "first date."
  • Harry drinks a beer, and Rachel a glass of wine, in a bar.
  • A woman dies from being hit by a burning rock that smashes through the roof of a truck and her head is rather bloody.
  • Two maggot covered dead squirrels are seen and they're a little gory looking.
  • Two bodies are seen floating in some hot springs and their bodies look as if they've been boiled (with welts and many red marks).
  • Ruth's legs are very burned, blistered, and bloody after hopping into an acid filled lake and other bloody marks are seen across her body.
  • Harry's arm gets broken and we see a bloody piece of bone sticking from it.
  • Harry, Rachel and the kids are all have their share of bloody scrapes by the end of the movie.
  • A helicopter pilot charges the Survey team more money as the danger increases and then charges unbelievable prices to airlift people from the town during the eruption.
  • Harry and a woman drive through a darkened, panic-filled street with burning rocks falling from the sky.
  • As a guy and girl skinny dip in some hot springs, scary music starts and they scream as burning rocks emerge at their feet.
  • Two bodies are seen floating in some hot springs and their bodies look as if they've been boiled (with welts and many red marks).
  • A technician gets trapped under a rock slide in the volcano.
  • An earthquake strikes and a mass panic sweeps over the townspeople who are crowded into an auditorium and they stampede out of the building. The destruction of town buildings and the collapse of bridges may also be a bit scary for little kids.
  • Harry and Rachel try to drive through the town as all sorts of building material, light poles, etc... fall at them or in their way.
  • Harry and Rachel drive through a river and the water keeps getting deeper and deeper until it begins filling the inside of the truck.
  • Lava pours into Ruth's cabin and the people have to get out quickly. Once outside, the sight of the forest engulfed in flames and the lava flowing nearby might be a bit much for younger kids.
  • Harry and Rachel's family travel in a boat across a lake that has become acidic and eats through the bottom of the boat. As they near the shore, Ruth hops out and screams in agony as her legs burn as she drags them to safety.
  • There's a massive flash flood that Paul gets caught in as he tries to drive his van across a bridge that's being swept away by the water.
  • Harry tries to drive through a lava stream that's covering the road and the truck gets stuck and catches on fire and the kids inside are very scared.
  • Harry, Rachel and her kids get stuck in a mine that begins to collapse on them and Harry gets pinned in his truck as the collapse continues.
  • A few soldiers are seen carrying rifles in the opening scene, but they are never used.
  • Graham (nowhere near old enough) drives his mother's truck as he and his sister go to save their grandmother.
  • Harry takes a short cut off the highway and drives through the river (and nearly doesn't make it across).
  • Phrases: "Screwing up," and "Piss me off."
  • None.
  • There is a heavy amount of suspenseful music mainly occurring in the second half of the picture.
  • None.
  • 5 "s" words, 8 hells, 5 damns, 2 "ass" words, 2 S.O.B.'s, 1 crap, and 6 uses of "Oh my God," 5 of "Oh God," 3 of "Jesus," 2 uses each of "God," "For God's sake," and "Oh dear God," and 1 use of "God damn" as exclamations.
  • A guy and a girl skinny dip in the hot springs and just the tops of her bare breasts are momentarily seen above the water.
  • None.
  • Rachel is divorced, but other than for one scene, this isn't discussed and there seems to be little or no impact on the kids.
  • Rachel worries about her kids who've gone to rescue their grandmother.
  • The kids watch as their grandmother dies.
  • Volcanoes.
  • The kids' grandmother dies in front of them.
  • None of the scenes listed below are caused by people.
  • A woman is killed by a burning rock that smashes through the roof of a truck.
  • There's a good deal of earthquake related destruction of buildings, vehicles and forests.
  • A helicopter crashes, killing several people on board.
  • A massive flash flood sweeps away a bridge and kills Paul.
  • The final big explosion levels the forest and destroys most of the town.

  • Reviewed February 7, 1997

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