Dante's Peak

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German title Dante's Peak
Original title Dante's Peak
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1997
length 105 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 12
Director Roger Donaldson
script Leslie Bohem
production Gale Anne Hurd
Joseph M. Singer
music James Newton Howard
John Frizzell
camera Andrzej Bartkowiak
cut Conrad Buff
Tina Hirsch
Howard E. Smith

Dante's Peak is an American disaster film from 1997 about a volcanic eruption . Directed by Roger Donaldson . Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton can be seen in the leading roles .


In the event of a volcanic eruption in Colombia , the volcanologist Dr. Harry Dalton from the USGS narrowly escaped, but his colleague and partner Marianne is killed by a lump of lava falling into the car.

Four years later, Harry is met by his supervisor, Dr. Paul Dreyfus to the idyllic small town of Dante's Peak in the Cascade Range in Washington State . Seismic measurements indicate that the volcano of the same name , at the foot of which the city lies, is showing activity.

At Dante's Peak, Harry befriends Mayor Rachel Wando and their children Graham and Lauren. On their first inspection trip up the mountain, they found dead lovers at the popular Twonset hot water spring on the slope of the mountain - the water had suddenly started to boil due to a lava burst into the lake floor. Harry notices a very low pH level in the water as well as worrying changes in flora and fauna and alerts his team from the USGS, who arrive immediately. You set up a comprehensive measuring station in the hotel and carry out initial examinations on and in the crater. But since there are no other activities to be recorded, apart from minor tremors, nobody takes Harry's advice seriously to prepare the city for an evacuation. Dr. Dreyfus forbids any scare tactics and rebukes Harry: A hasty alarm would mean the economic end for the place, which he explains with an example from his past. An investor has just given the city the prospect of new jobs and several millions.

After a week with no further discoveries, Dr. Dreyfus to leave the next morning. Harry and Rachel have grown closer in the meantime. At the evening farewell meeting with Rachel, Harry discovers that the tap water is contaminated with sulphurous acid and other volcanic substances. In the water storage they find the reason: Brown liquid flows from numerous crevices in the source. For Harry, this is the still missing scientific proof that the volcano is about to erupt. He informs Dr. Dreyfus, who admits his misjudgment in view of the brown tap water.

In the evening, the citizens of the city hold a meeting in the gym, at which Rachel and Harry want to make it clear to the population that an evacuation of the city is inevitable. Meanwhile, strong tremors set in, which trigger a panic. The residents of the city are trying desperately to flee, clogging the city's only arterial road. Houses collapse, access roads and bridges collapse, toppling power poles cause fires. A gray ash shower covers the city and brings the only available helicopter to crash.

The team from the USGS and the National Guard , who have since arrived, manage to escape from the city just in time. However, the river, over which the only access road leads, has swelled into a torrent due to the sudden melting of snow on the mountain, carrying debris and debris with it. When Dr. Dreyfus wants to be the last to cross the bridge with his van , it collapses and the river pulls him with it.

Meanwhile, Rachel's children have gone to their grandmother Ruth, who lives at the foot of the mountain, on their own to save them. On the phone, she refused to leave her house. Harry and Rachel follow them through many difficulties. They meet at grandmother's house when a lava flow washes away the house with the vehicles. You get on a boat to cross the mountain lake in front of the house. But shortly before they reach the safe shore, the lake's water, which has been converted to sulfuric acid, has loosened the screw and eats holes in the metal ship's side. Despite Harry's warning, Ruth gets into the water and pulls the boat ashore, causing severe burns to which she soon succumbs.

In the abandoned ranger station, Harry short-circuits the car parked there and returns to the abandoned city with Rachel and the children. In the hotel, where the USGS team had to leave all measuring devices and computers behind, Harry sees that the measuring devices are registering a huge increase in pressure inside the volcano. This indicates an imminent eruption , the pyroclastic current of which can reach the city in a minute. Harry grabs the ELF tracking device , which the team was supposed to test for NASA , and runs back to the car. At that moment the mountain top explodes, the pyroclastic cloud rushes towards the city and destroys everything on its way. With the cloud at his back, Harry steers the car through the entrance of a disused mine , the only safe place from the glowing ashes, the hot poison gases and the lava and rocks flying around, which are destroying the entire city behind them.

The four climb out of the wrecked car and flee to the rear of the mine, where Graham and friends have set up a secret hiding place. Since Harry forgot the rescue tracking device in the car, he returns when suddenly boulders fall down and he breaks his left forearm. Despite the injury, he climbs into the interior of the car. He can just activate the transmitter, when the rock ceiling collapses, presses on the roof and traps Harry in the car.

The USGS team has meanwhile set up in an emergency shelter and set up new measuring devices. They receive the ELF signal and can locate Harry. The National Guard approaches the rescue with heavy equipment and rescues Harry, Rachel and the two children including Ruth's dog from the mine. Harry renews the promise he made to the kids at the mine: after his recovery, he will take his new family on an extended fishing vacation in Florida .


“A disaster film garnished with the usual emotional additions. Its formulaic process is, however, enhanced by the excellent camera work. "

"[... There] a lot of clichés flow down the mountain streams - from the steadfast admonishing scientist Dalton, who is haunted by a personal trauma, to the consistent ignoring of his warning calls because the city council fears that tourism could collapse - 'the great white shark' lets go to greet. [...] Overall, superficial, but thoroughly pleasing entertainment cinema that offers great viewing values ​​and flat figures. "

- filmstarts.de

Cinema magazine wrote that director Roger Donaldson placed “emphasis on authenticity”, which sets Dante's Peak apart from the film Volcano . The conclusion of the magazine was: “Fireworks boiling over”.


Jeremy Foley and Jamie Renée Smith won the Young Artist Award in 1998 .

Linda Hamilton won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award in 1998 .

James Newton Howard and John Frizzell won the 1998 Film and Television Music Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers .

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating particularly valuable.


The plot of the film is also dedicated to the 57 victims of the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Age rating for Dante's Peak . Youth Media Commission .
  2. Dante's Peak. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  4. Cinema, accessed August 24, 2007