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The Swarm (1978)

Michael Caine , Katharine Ross , Irwin Allen  |  PG |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Price: $20.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland
  • Directors: Irwin Allen
  • Writers: Arthur Herzog III, Stirling Silliphant
  • Producers: Irwin Allen
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2002
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FP4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,744 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Swarm" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes documentary
  • All new digital transfer
  • Genre notes on big bug movies

Editorial Reviews

Irwin Allen's doomsday epic pits an all-star cast against a North American invasion of killer bees!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Will history blame me or the bees?" October 2, 2006
There's delusion on an epic scale on display in Irwin Allen's infamous The Swarm. It's not the worst of his oeuvre by a long way - Beyond the Poseidon Adventure and When Time Ran Out are both much, much worse - but it's become the poster child for all the absurdities of the disaster genre at it's hokeyest. But then capsized ships with atom bombs aboard or volcanoes threatening hotel complexes can't compare to killer bees destroying nuclear power plants and causing train wrecks on the Richter Scale of movie absurdity. And it's a curiously second- and third-hand construction too - structurally Stirling Silliphant's script is surprisingly similar to his script for In the Heat of the Night. Okay, there weren't any bees in that one, but from the beginning where big city cop Sidney Poitier is discovered at a murder scene and immediately treated as a suspect by hard-case racist cop Rod Steiger until he gradually learns to respect his expertise, it's being used as a template, with sunflower seed munching entomologist Michael Caine discovered in a missile silo full of dead bodies by hard-case xenophobic general Richard Widmark, who immediately suspects him of their deaths until he gradually learns to respect his expertise (how can you not love a film where Bradford Dillman asks "Can we count on a scientist who prays?" only for Widmark to respond "I wouldn't count on one that didn't"?).

But this isn't a film about trust or even narrative, it's about miscast and affordable stars getting stung to death in slow-motion by what look like bits of oatmeal painted black and fired at them by air-cannons. It's a film about hallucinating patients being menaced by imaginary giant bees. It's a film about military complexes with lots of flashing lights.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO CHEESY IT'S A BLAST! January 4, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
For sheer audacity, this is another classic howler from Irwin Allen`s epic disaster back catalogue! Michael Caine and Katharine Ross get all the unintentionally hilarious lines(CAINE: I never dreamed it would turn out to be the bees. They've always been our friends.) And these bees begin the movie by showing who really rules the skies by invading a nuclear missile silo and attacking the launch crew. They proceed to cause helicopter crashes(yes, that is in the plot!), attack a picnicking all-American family(yeeaahhh) and invade a town during its annual flower festival, causing many victims to run around like penguins trying to fly and fall all over the place looking utter idiots. As the military and scientists' attempts to wipe out the bees are miserable failures, the deadly swarm cause a spectacular train crash(special effects by the local model train shop), and much more mayhem. Then they head for (gulp!) HOUSTON! Can the all-star cast save the day??? We know the outcome, but if you would like an absolute laugh riot(I want to see the extended version myself!) and like to watch well-known names try to deadpan their way through some of the most unintentionally hilarious dialogue ever written for the screen, then this is the cheesy 1970s classic for you! The novel, by Arthur Herzog, incidentally, is much better.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It always gives me a buzz. October 23, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
THE SWARM is a legendary flop from Irwin Allen, the kind that destroys careers. Hyped from here to the moon, and called "the most terrifying movie ever made" by Allen himself, prior to its release, scientists everywhere were worried that it would cause a mass panic about bees. Not quite. THE SWARM turned out to be a bad movie. Drop your jaw bad. A movie that makes you ask again and again "What made them think this would work!?" A movie so bad that it is capable of giving the bad movie lover a buzz akin to those given by other substances.
When the always inept military finds a whole bunch of people dead at a nuclear missile base they think Chemical Warfare. Wrong. Turns out it was a huge swarm of mutated African Killer Bees from Brazil (The Bees from Brazil?) that has illegally immigrated to Texas and now threatens The World (or at least Houston, same thing).
Stirling Silliphant's script is so incredibly bad that some b-movie fans put forth that THE SWARM is really a snide parody of 50s mutant bug flicks instead of a serious thriller (check out Ken Begg's 50s schlock check list in his review of the movie at Either way it does a real disservice to Arthur Herzog's fine novel, which succeeds in being frightening. The direction by Irwin Allen is lethargic, too often the movie just sits there when it should be moving at a mile a minute, but then again that allows the bad movie lover to sit there and savor each rancid morsel of dialog for all its cheesy glory. On the plus side Jerry Goldsmith contributes yet another fine score for a bad movie. Highly recommended and, believe it or not, this is an essential flick for bad movie lovers everywhere.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irwin Allen's Underrated Film June 16, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Sometimes I feel sad that "The Swarm" didn't do well at the box office back in 1978 since it was produced and directed by 'master of disaster' Irwin Allen. I think it's an interesting movie with an incredible cast. Not "The Towering Inferno", but it's watchable.
I became an admirer of Michael Caine after watching his portrayal as Dr. Brad Crane, a man on a quest to wipe out killer African Bees. Richard Widmark is superb as General Slater, and Henry Fonda gives a touch of class as Dr. Krim -Dr. Crane's colleague and mentor. The supporting cast give their own performances certain class, especially Olivia De Havilland, Ben Johnson, and Fred MacMurray playing a 'menàge a trois? -maybe that's cheesy, but it's entertaining.
Jerry Goldsmith's powerful score is excellent, and the visual effects are average. However, some of the extra scenes are unnecessary, and the fact that the people stung by the bees watch giant bees almost all the time is annoying, not to mention out of place. But I think Irwin Allen's take on this movie was a nice work. I am looking forward to a widescreen edition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
I like the people in it and the little bit of mystery to it. I also like the fact that it could be happening
Published 12 days ago by Lynda Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars 70's bees
Perfect just as described I don't know what else to say but thanks I couldn't be more happy thanks a lot
Published 1 month ago by Scott Ray Pierson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Swarm
I gave The Swarm a 4-star rating because it is very good b-movie. I remember seeing it back in the 70's and had to purchase it to add to my collection of animal attacks man movies... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Charles H. Bland Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Styrofoam has never looked so scary
Lets be honest here. I like this movie for all the reasons that make it so cheessy. The bees are styrofoam painted black and appear to be hand thrown at the actors. Read more
Published 7 months ago by moviepal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Disaster Film
In the 1970's disaster films were big business in Hollywood and most sttars did at least one. The Swarm admittedly a B-Film was made toward the end of the cycle. Read more
Published 8 months ago by K. Nolting
5.0 out of 5 stars Bees Attack
I absolutely loved this film as I am a fan of the Irwin Allen disaster films of the 1970's. The cast is packed with great actors and the special effects and story are great. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Chris Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
This is awesome, simply because it is filled with A-List actors, several Oscar winners, in one of the cheesiest and most awesomely-horrible movies ever made! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Tick
5.0 out of 5 stars Fear of a Black Planet
Spoiler warning! Spoiler warning! Spoiler warning!

Why do people call "The Swarm" a disaster? I mean, it *is* a disaster movie, right? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ashtar Command
4.0 out of 5 stars Revisted memories!
I rated this dvd 4 stars for many reasons. I first saw this movie when in high school, It is still one of my vavorites. Read more
Published 11 months ago by terry wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Swarm
I watched the Swarm on tv years ago. I would love to add it to my movie collection but have not ordered it yet.
Published 11 months ago by Douglas Murphy
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