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The Quiet Earth (1985)

Bruno Lawrence , Alison Routledge , Geoff Murphy  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, Pete Smith (III), Anzac Wallace, Norman Fletcher
  • Directors: Geoff Murphy
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EZ908Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Quiet Earth" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary with Producer Sam Pillsbury
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Eight-Page Collectible Booklet

Editorial Reviews

The "last man on Earth" sci-fi sub-genre is reasonably well represented by director Geoff Murphy's The Quiet Earth, a 1985 film from New Zealand that earned plenty of Kiwi kudos in its day but still fails to measure up to the great expectations engendered by its premise. Bruno Lawrence is Zac Hobson, a techie who's involved in "Project Flashlight," a vast energy grid that allows war planes to circle the planet without ever refueling (leave it to "the Americans," who are blamed for the whole ensuing mess, to come up with such a diabolical idea). When what Zac drolly describes as "a malfunction" (thereafter known as "the Effect") occurs early one morning, he awakens to discover that he's apparently the only survivor, human or otherwise, of a catastrophe that has altered the very fabric of the universe. Lawrence is terrific in these early scenes, which find him gradually losing his marbles as the gravity of his situation sets in; wearing nothing but a woman's slip, he stands on a balcony and grandly addresses an "audience" of cardboard standups (from Queen Elizabeth and Hitler to Bob Marley and Alfred Hitchcock), declaring himself "president of this quiet Earth." But effectively sustaining such weirdness is tough, and although Murphy, to his credit, doesn't over-rely on special effects and scientific gobbledygook, the film isn't up to it. Turns out Zac isn't the only survivor, and when first a pretty young woman (Alison Routledge) and then a Maori man (Peter Smith) appear, the director tries to balance the human dynamics with the sci-fi elements (seems the Effect may not be over after all) to awkward and unsatisfying effect, and the film loses most of its momentum. As for the ending, well, safe to say that it will leave some viewers perplexed, others feeling that they've been bamboozled, and still others thinking that its mystery and lack of explicable closure are perfect. --Sam Graham

Product Description

At exactly 6:12 am, government research scientist Zac Hobson (a powerhouse performance by Bruno Lawrence of SMASH PALACE and UTU) awakens to discover that he may be the last man on earth: homes, highways and entire cities are deserted. Empty planes have fallen from the sky. Every living thing has disappeared. But for Hobson, the ultimate shock is still to come months later when he finds that he is not alone. With the addition of a beautiful young woman (Alison Routledge) and a Maori trucker (Pete Smith), the apocalypse suddenly becomes very personal. What has happened to everyone else on the planet? Why has Zac himself survived? Will sexual tension lead to sudden violence? And what is the ultimate responsibility for a man of science when the end of the world may be just the beginning?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A startling film... June 24, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Although I do wish I could get a copy on DVD here in the states (hint, hint) I wanted to share my thoughts with those having a look here.
A vivid look into one man's nightmare and awakening, but also a haunting commentary on the dangers of science without a conscience. Masterfully blended in a raw and unadorned style which makes the characters seem more alive, more real, for the lack of Hollywood glitz and glamor. No "B" movie here. Truly a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. And a film that will have you scratching your head and wondering about a great many things for years to come. After roughly 15 years I still consider this movie on a regular basis.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Great DVD September 2, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For fans of apocalyptic sci-fi The Quiet Earth is a must see. This is the story of a suicidal scientist waking up to an empty world and then finding out why this happened. The ending is atypical for movies and has you thinking long after the movie. I've traveled to New Zealand and watching the end of the world scenes in 80s Auckland was eerie.

The DVD transfer is surprisingly good considering the age of the movie. Full 16x9 widescreen with good color. The sound quality is a little off. The DVD box is really well made. The box is solid and has interesting artwork. This DVD will make an excellent collector's item.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Persons' Sci-Fi January 30, 2008
I saw this movie several years ago and it still haunts me. No matter how many times I watch it, I'm left with questions, wonder and a "whoa!" feeling....I also own the soundtrack as the music is really gorgeous but it, too, reminds me of my feelings re: the movie. The acting is superb and the story line goes way beyond other last-man-on-earth stories like Omega Man (which I also like watching). What sets this one apart from the others is the relationships among the 3 main characters, the self-sacrifice and what that will cost all three of them...and then there's the ending.....Unbelievably amazing stuff. I can't even say this could happen in reality (whereas Omega could, in my opinion) but it leaves you thinking, thinking, thinking....stays with you long after the final credits.
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44 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "God blinked...and the whole world disappeared." April 26, 2004
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
4.5 stars. Australian Science Fiction has never been widely distributed nor marketed widely in America. With the occasional, rare exception, such as "Pitch Black," most people think all Australian films are invariable linked to "Crocodile Dundee." This story starts off with a man waking up to find all the people in the world are gone. While he is alone there are some unnerving and even blasphemous scenes showing his mental disintegration through isolation. I recently had a collegue mention that Man is a social creature, and that if any one man was all alone in the world he would eventually crack-up. This discussion reminded me of this under-appreciated film that, for some reason, is not available on DVD in the United States. Bruno Lawrence is excellent as the main character, showing both mania and depression with equal intensity; but eventually he embraces his future, albeit with a somber countenance, only to discover that he is not alone and for very macabre reasons. The first time I saw this movie I absolutely loved the ending, which is both fantastic and reasonable. All in all, this is must-see, intelligent Sci-fi. Thank you. EDIT: Apparently, this film is from New Zealand. (picky-picky, people) Also, it is now currently available on DVD. Yeah!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fate worse than death April 12, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I thought "On The Beach" was the most chilling end-of-humanity film ever made until I saw "The Quiet Earth." It wasn't promoted much after it was released; all I remembered was the movie poster. I rented it one night and have been haunted ever since. Being the last human on earth would truly be more terrifying and maddening than dying among millions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Sci-Fi Films ever made November 29, 2005
OK, 4.5 stars, only because the special effects haven't aged well. This is a stunning film. It's about a man who awakes to discover that he is alone. Completely alone. There are no birds, no animals, no humans. Or are there? Is he truly the last man alive? What caused this catastrophe? How did he escape it? Watch this movie to find out. Unfortunately, in the US, it is impossible to find this on DVD. Lucky for me, I happened to find it on tape at a garage sale. I have "forced" nearly all my friends to watch it. The start off by scoffing, but end up amazed.

Update 6-4-06: They are releasing this on DVD! Buy this as soon as you can and watch it. I plan to.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Experience January 9, 2007
By Tiger
Format:VHS Tape
This is the classic mind blower, along with the musical score, a very haunting and extremely profound look into "What If!"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Partway a great film. December 26, 2006
By jblyn
The first 50 or so minutes of this film are terrific. The late Bruno Lawrence plays Zac Hobson, a scientist in New Zealand who wakes up one morning to find that everyone except him seems to have vanished from the face of the earth. We see him trying to cope with this state of affairs, going crazy and then slowly regaining his sanity while the world is silent around him. In these scenes, Lawrence gives a bravura performance which manages to stop short of hamming it up and really gets you caring about Zac's frail psyche. His descent and renewal are as gripping as any great moviemaking could be, done with only a few words, a few poignant gestures and deft editing and camerawork.

Zac then finds out that he's not alone after all: first, a young woman named Joanne and then a burly Maori lorry-driver named Api find him and the three of them try to puzzle out why they're still on Earth and everyone else has vanished. It's at this point that the movie gets pretty soggy. There's a rather flimsy plotline about how an experiment funded by the big, bad USA somehow brought about this catastrophe, a love triangle that comes about just when you're hoping a love triangle WON'T come about, and an ending that smacks of the story petering out, as opposed to leaving you with tantalizing unanswered questions. So that's disappointing. But the first 50 minutes of THE QUIET EARTH are right up there with the first hour of THE BLACK STALLION, where the director uses all of the cinematic tools at his disposal to help you experience Zac Hobson's despair fully and completely. That's worth the viewing in and of itself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good movie. its well done and makes you think
Published 1 month ago by michael
5.0 out of 5 stars I like the way the describe it as 'the effect' as ...
A missed classic, not too many I find know about this one, a bit of a twist on the 'end of the world' scenario. I like the way the describe it as 'the effect' as to the plot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bruce P. Reinhard
4.0 out of 5 stars Region-free
This is labeled as region-B, but its not. Its actually region-free. This is the German BD release.
Published 2 months ago by R. D. Grimes
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd And Enjoyable End-Of-The-World film
Made in New Zealand! I saw this film many years ago. I'm waiting for my new dvd copy to arrive from Amazon as we speak. Read more
Published 4 months ago by david666
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic
We saw this flick in a little tiny theater sitting in the front row. We were four feet from the screen. We were blown away by the opening scene being that close. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert G. Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quiet Earth
A New Zealand film with an interesting story plot. The plot has been done before but the ending was new to me and wonderful for debating just what exactly happened. Read more
Published 7 months ago by reader and movie watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent end-of-the-world scenario..
Intriguing story line and excellent cast interaction in this movie. Had this movie on vcr tape but long since misplaced it and got rid of the vcr player. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robin
1.0 out of 5 stars Does not play in DVD player
Listing said nothing about the fact that the DVD will not work in USA players, should have made it more clear???????????
Published 8 months ago by Dr. R
4.0 out of 5 stars very good sci fi
i first saw this film when it came out in 1985 at a film festival. bruno lawrence, its star, quickly became the only "movie star" from new zealand to americans and we watched him... Read more
Published 9 months ago by carol irvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Trippy!
Great movie, an interesting take on the post-apocalypse plot. Glad I own it, a real treasure for my video library.
Published 10 months ago by Auntie MMMM
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