Dante's Peak is a 1997 American disaster thriller film, directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Dr. Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan), a volcanologist of the United States Geological Survey, and his partner Marianne (Walker Brandt), are studying volcanic activity in Colombia when the volcano erupts. Marianne is killed by a volcanic bomb, leaving Harry remorseful about her death, believing it could have been prevented by evacuating sooner.

Four years later, Harry is assigned by his boss Dr. Paul Dreyfus (Charles Hallahan) to investigate seismic activity at Dante's Peak, Washington, a small town situated near a dormant stratovolcano in the Cascades.

Harry arrives as the town is celebrating its founding, and meets the town's mayor, Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton) and her two children Graham (Jeremy Foley) & Lauren (Jamie Renée Smith). Rachel offers to take Harry up the mountain to take readings while also visiting her former mother in-law Ruth (Elizabeth Hoffman).

While near a hot springs, Harry stops the children when he sees dead wildlife near it, and they discover two dead bathers in the springs, boiled alive. Believing the excessive heat is a result of volcanic activity, Harry asks Paul to bring a team to study the mountain further.

The team arrives with additional equipment, but they do not corroborate Harry's fears and suggest there is little concern. Regardless, Harry tries to convince Rachel to prepare the town for something drastic, while falling into a budding relationship with her.

A week passes without any signs of volcanic activity and Paul orders the team to pack up. While having a final dinner with Rachel, Harry discovers her water to be contaminated with volcanic residue and shortly discovers the town's water supply similarly contaminated. Paul and Harry agree this is a sign of a pending eruption, and they begin to evacuate the town.

The volcano erupts during their preparation, sending the townspeople into a panic. As Paul and the rest of the team contact the National Guard for help and try to maintain an orderly evacuation, Harry goes to help Rachel get her children, finding they have left to get Ruth.

Harry and Rachel reach Ruth's cabin just as the lava flow reaches it, and they are forced to abandon their vehicles and cross a nearby lake via a motorboat.

Close to the shore of the lake, the boat's engine fails and they realize the lake's waters have become acidic as a result of sulphur-rich gases dissolving in the water, with the resultant sulphuric acid eating away at the boat. Ruth willingly gets out of the boat to push it to the dock, leaving her with severe chemical burns from which she later dies.

Meanwhile Paul and the National Guard manage to evacuate the town and start leaving, but the glaciers on the volcano have melted and flows into the river picking up trees and boulders now becoming a lahar.

The lahar soon hits the nearby dam where the weight of the mud and water is too much and the dam collapses. Soon the lahar reaches the town. The team manages to get across the bridge, but Paul is washed away in the flood. Harry and the family find a nearby ranger station and take a pickup truck to drive down the mountain. They come across a lava field and attempt to drive across it but they get stuck halfway.

Harry tries to back up but the tires are melting and, to their horror, fresh lava is starting to flow down the hill. They finally get free and rescue Ruth's dog Ruffy as fresh lava flows across the road.

Harry, Rachel and the children re-enter the town where Harry retrieves a distress radiobeacon. The volcano erupts again and produces a pyroclastic flow which quickly begins destroying the town. The family manages to escape by driving into an abandoned mine. Harry activates the beacon after they become trapped when the mine collapses.

Days later, after the eruption has ended, Harry's team notices the activated distress beacon and dispatch rescue crews. Harry, Rachel, and the children are freed and flown out by helicopter At Dante's Peak Was Destroyed Everything The song during At The End Credits Of All Of My Life By Barbra Streisand.


  • Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Harry Dalton
  • Linda Hamilton as Mayor Rachel Wando
  • Charles Hallahan as Dr. Paul Dreyfus
  • Elizabeth Hoffman as Grandma Ruth
  • Jamie Renée Smith as Lauren Wando
  • Jeremy Foley as Graham Wando
  • Grant Heslov as Greg
  • Arabella Field as Nancy
  • Tzi Ma as Stan
  • Bill Bolender as Sheriff Turner
  • Peter Jason as Norman Gates
  • Jeffrey L. Ward as Jack Collins
  • Kirk Trutner as Terry Furlong
  • Brian Reddy as Lester "Les" Worrell
  • Susie Spear as Karen Narlington
  • Walker Brandt as Marianne


The filming dates for "Dante's Peak" took place from May 6th to August 31, 1996.

It was shot on location in Wallace, Idaho with a large hill just southeast of the town digitally altered to look like a volcano.

Many of the scenes involving townspeople, including the initial award ceremony, the pioneer days festival, and the gymnasium scene were shot using the actual citizens of Wallace as extras.

Many of the disaster evacuation scenes that didn't involve stunts and other dangerous moments also featured the citizens of Wallace. The dangerous stunts were filmed using Hollywood extras.

Mount St. Helens also makes an appearance at the very end of the movie; during the start of the closing credit crawl, the scene shows an image of a destroyed Dante's Peak community with the camera shot moving out to show a wider scene of disaster, and then showing what remains of the volcano itself.

The volcano that remains is actually an image of Mount St. Helens taken from news footage just after the May 18, 1980, eruption.

The exterior shots of the Point Dume Post Office (located at 29160 Heathercliff Road in Malibu, California) were used as the USGS's David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory headquarters in Vancouver, Washington.

The facility was named in honor of David A. Johnston (a young scientist who had precisely predicted the volatility of the May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens eruption) who died during the event.

A brief scene was actually shot inside the crater of Washington State's Mount St. Helens.

It is the scene where a scientist gets caught in a rock slide and breaks his leg while climbing down inside the crater to repair a malfunctioning piece of scientific equipment.

The giveaway of this shot is a brief appearance by Mount Adams, a dormant 12,776-foot (3,894 m)-high peak 35 miles (56 km) east of Mount St. Helens, above the crater rim as the view focuses on the scientists.

The scene was actually filmed on the tarmac of Van Nuys Airport while the Mount Adams image was green screened.

Extensive special effects surrounding certain aspects of the film such as the lava and pyroclastic flows, were created by Digital Domain, Banned from the Ranch Entertainment and CIS Hollywood.

The computer-generated imagery was mostly coordinated and supervised by Patrick McClung, Roy Arbogast, Lori J. Nelson, Richard Stutsman and Dean Miller.

Although the film uses considerable amounts of CGI, the volcanic ash in the film was created using cellulose insulation manufactured by Regal Industries.

Between the visuals, miniatures, and animation, over 300 technicians were directly involved in the production aspects of the special effects.

The dam that the Lahar mudflow spills over took about four months to build.

While filming the scene when the volcanic lava begins to destroy the mountain cabin & everyone runs to get onto a small boat, the boat sank & Jamie Renee Smith couldn't swim, so Pierce Brosnan held her until a crew member pulled her from the water.


Box OfficeEdit

"Dante's Peak" debuted at #2 at the box office, grossing $18,479,435 during its opening weekend.

Domestically, the film made $67,127,760, $11,000,000 in the foreign market and $178,127,760 worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was given a 27% rating based on 26 reviews.

Roger Ebert gave it a rating of three in a half stars, saying that it "follows the disaster formula so faithfully that if you walk in while the movie is in progress, you can estimate how long the story has to run. That it is skillful is a tribute to the filmmakers".

The San Francisco Examiner said the film "expands the concept of badness in movies".


1998 ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films: James Newton Howard & John Frizzell (won)
  • Best Song Performance in a Feature Film- All Of My Life: Barbra Streisand (win)

1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Favorite Actress- Action\Adventure: Linda Hamilton (won)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Feature Film- Young Actress Age Ten or Under: Jamie Renee Smith (won)
  • Best Performance in a Feature Film- Supporting Young Actor: Jeremy Foley (won)

Theatrical TrailerEdit

Dante's Peak Trailer-0

Dante's Peak Trailer-0

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