Hurricane (1979 film)

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Theatrical movie poster.
Directed by Jan Troell
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (executive producer)
Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Starring Jason Robards
Mia Farrow
Max Von Sydow
Trevor Howard
Timothy Bottoms
James Keach
Dayton Ka'ne
Music by Nino Rota
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
April 12, 1979
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]

Hurricane is a 1979 romance and adventure film featuring Mia Farrow, Jason Robards and impressive special effects, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Lorenzo Semple, Jr., and directed by Jan Troell. It is loosely based on the 1937 film of the same name.


Set in the 1920s in Pago Pago, Eastern Samoa, Charlotte, an American painter, arrives from Boston on the island of Alaya to visit her father, U. S. Navy Captain Bruckner, whom she hasn't seen in quite some time. Bruckner is the U.S. Congress-sanctioned Governor of the island, and he rules it with a stern, patrician, and thoroughly patronizing attitude towards the natives. Charlotte is somewhat taken aback by her father's rigid adherence to the law, particularly when she tries to intervene on behalf of Bruckner's charge/houseboy Matangi, who has involved Charlotte in a scheme to get Bruckner to toss out a harsh penalty issued to a native man who stole a boat "for love." Bruckner refuses, pish-poshing all this talk of love over the law, and severely reprimands Matangi, much to Charlotte's dismay.

Bruckner comes to regret that intractability because Matangi is soon anointed the High Chief of his island, Alava. Matangi isn't as willing to whole-heartedly accept the edicts of the U.S. forces, particularly if they go against the well-being of his own people. His stubbornness quietly enrages Bruckner. After a public showdown between Matangi and Bruckner at Matangi's coronation comes a suggestive dance by Matangi and his intended, Siva.

Charlotte wants to stay for a month on the island, chaperoned by Dr. Danielsson and Father Malone, missionaries who both reside on Alava. Despite Captain Bruckner’s jealousy over his daughter’s attraction to Matangi, he agrees to the stay and sails off for a month. Bruckner’s absence is just what the doctor ordered for Matangi and Charlotte, who quickly become lovers. When this is discovered by her father, he has Matangi arrested on a trumped-up charge. He escapes, with Charlotte's help.

The lovers' fate soon rests with nature, not Captain Bruckner. Just as tensions are beginning to boil, disaster strikes in the form of a giant hurricane, bringing inevitable destruction and death with it. When the winds die down, how many lives will be shaken up?


The film is based on a 1937 film of the same name, directed by John Ford. Filming was entirely on location on the remote South Seas island of Bora Bora, Sven Nykvist's brilliant cinematography showcases both the beautiful island splendor and the catastrophic destruction of Hurricane. The special effects for the hurricane were done by a team led by Glen Robinson, who also did special effects for the 1937 film.[2]

Roman Polanski was originally hired to direct by producer Dino de Laurentiis, not long after Polanski's infamous arrest in 1977. While his case worked its way through the courts over many months, Polanski developed the script with writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and supervised pre-production, including the selection of Bora Bora as a location and the construction of sets there. When Polanski was sent to prison for a brief period and his future became uncertain, De Laurentiis had to replace him with Jan Troell, as the film was ready and waiting to shoot. The budget was $20 million.[3]

The film was the final score of composer Nino Rota, who died two days before its premiere.



It received mixed reviews from critics and a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]


The film was aired on television as Forbidden Paradise.[5] Legend Films, via their partnership with Paramount Home Entertainment, released the film on DVD on July 1, 2008.


  1. ^ 'The Hurricane' Builds--in Cost By ALJEAN HARMETZ. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 01 June 1978: C15.
  2. ^ "Review: ‘Hurricane'". Variety. 31 December 1978. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  3. ^ De Laurentiis Remaking 1937 John Ford Film: 'Hurricane's' Blustery Stay in Bora Bora Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 July 1978: p1.
  4. ^ "Hurricane (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Hurricane (1979)". AllMovie. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 

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