close [×]

Dear Flixster Community,

After seven fabulous years with you all, we are sorry to let you know that we're going to be retiring the Flixster Community site on September 30, 2014. Please note that you can still access your ratings, reviews, and quizzes on Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes using your same login. We have had so much fun building this community with you.

Thanks for all the memories,

Get movie widget Recommend it Add to Favorites

Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, Don Cheadle, Keith David ... see more see more... , Jacqueline Kim , John Carroll Lynch , Michael Rispoli , Ken Kerman , John Corbett

Disaster visits jaded L.A. in the form of an underground volcano, not the big earthquake all the citizens expect. Shot on the largest set ever constructed in the U.S., in nearby Torrance, California, ... read more read more...Volcano is a big-budget, special-effects-laden disaster movie with a standard plot. Tommy Lee Jones plays Mike Roark, a by-the-book emergency management director who is spending the weekend with his daughter, Kelly (Gaby Hoffmann), when the previously-unknown volcano blows. Sassy, brainy scientist Dr. Amy Barnes (Ann Heche) is the first to warn of the threat, which begins by sucking one of her co-workers into a steaming fissure. As the lava starts to spurt in red-hot fireballs, Kelly is injured, and Mike sends her to the hospital in order to attend to his duties, rescue citizens, and run the city's emergency response. Eventually, Roark and Barnes team up to battle the eruption while sparks of romantic attraction fly. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Flixster Users

31% liked it

180,087 ratings


44% liked it

39 critics

DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001

Stats: 4,901 reviews

Your Rating

clear rating

Flixster Reviews (4,901)

  • September 14, 2012
    The second volcano disaster film released in 97 and clearly a different tone, didn't do as well as 'Dante's Peak' and its easy to see why.

    First off the plot, like most all disaster films, is completely identical to that other volcano film. This film kicks off almost straight aw... read moreay with the action and pending volcano but overall its all the same. Simply replace Brosnan with Jones and the fact no one believes him until it just darn too late.

    From there on the film becomes a ludicrously silly action/thriller which really should be titled 'Lava' as that's all its about, you only see the small volcano for a few shots. You can look at this film as more of a blockbuster 'arcade' type as its not very realistic and overly flashy. Sure its got everything you would expect in a disaster film including the heroic sacrifice, obligatory dog, a few people being melted away in lava (had to have that!) but it also has so much cheese. The forced racism sub plot between a white cop and black youth who at the end make up and help each other seemingly vanquishing the hatred? OK its a good sentiment but holy crap its lame.

    The film progresses ever predictably towards its ever so obvious happy ending as downtown LA melts n bubbles away. You just move from one catastrophic setup to the next, some with your typical heroic bookend and some with your typical emotional bookend. The effects are pretty good in places yes, gotta give the film that, the lava does look pretty hot and you do get a good sense of sweltering sheer heat from the action.

    The final finale is an utter ridiculous joke that simply doesn't help the film a tall. The way they solve the problem in the time they have is just plain comicbook stuff, add to that the over the top end sequence for Jones which is laughable. Luckily the solid Tommy Lee saves the film from utter B-movie obscurity with his craggy features.

    Nowhere near as good as 'Dante's Peak' and nowhere near as accurate with the facts. Not a total problem as we know off the bat this ain't no serious flick. Unfortunately you can't help but compare it to the superior earlier volcano flick which ticks all the right boxes including realism and thrills.

    End of the day this just feels like some Hollywood suit thought how cool it would be to see how much destruction and mayhem there would be if you moved a volcano from way out in the wilderness to a major city. Yeah we can cause lots of shit to blow up and melt in a city!.
  • October 27, 2011
    Volcano is a decent disaster film with a good cast. Continuing the trend of epic disaster films, Volcano though engaging and somewhat entertaining and fun. However the film could have been much better than this and the film relies on clichés from the genre to establish its story.... read more Volcano is entertaining, and is a decent disaster film; however it fails to do anything new or exciting with the genre. I mean the film is basically Dante's Peak in Los Angeles. There's a good cast here, and they manage to keep Volcano from being a total dud. I enjoyed the film, but the film could have been much better and the film does lack a bit, and leaves a lot to be improved on. Volcano can be viewed as a popcorn flick and nothing more. There's enough thrills here to be entertained, but the film could have been done much better. There are some cool special effects, but the film does lack in substance and effective story buildup. Some disaster films work well, but other scrape by, and this is one that almost becomes a dud. However there are enough good elements to make the film watchable and it's a decent action/disaster film for what it is. However if you want the better volcano disaster film, watch Dante's Peak instead. Volcano is a decent, entertaining film, but it could have been a much better film as well. I think that the plot was good, but needed to be a bit more developed; luckily the cast saves it from a total mess. A decent film to watch, but nothing ever great.
  • July 26, 2010
    The idea of volcano destroying the city was great. But representing the idea wasn't that great. Some of the scenes seemed a bit weird to me:
    Why was Kelly Roark (Gaby Hoffmann) was still standing when the lava was coming straight towards her? I mean any person who have common sen... read morese would try to run away from it, right? Okay I do get it that the story line tells us that she will have to be in that place where the lava will attack in the end. But they should have think of some other ideas to get her injured instead of that.
    Another scene that caught my eyes was:
    How could Dr. Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) saw Mike Roark (Tommy Lee) from being so far? No matter how serious it seemed, I laughed at that part. It's like her eyes were working as binocular.
    I think this movie was okay. Watchable.
  • February 23, 2010
    Pretty forgettable.
  • February 19, 2010
    Retarded. Sexy Lava.
  • September 22, 2009
    I love it in the underground scene when a guy is standing in the lava and he throws a person to safety just before he melts. Brilliant. This film review is in memory of him! God bless you melting man!
  • August 3, 2008
    For the type of a disaster movie, this movie was pretty good... The lava effects thing was definitely great, that one looks like it really happen.. Just felt like Los Angeles really roasted by the lava from a volcano... But I must admit that this great effects not well supported ... read moreby a good story.. The story wasn't bad, but just felt like a little weird to me.. Even they have Tommy Lee Jones as the hero of this disaster movie, but they let too many characters in this movie... So the movie didn't focus on one character... Too 'typical' for a type of disaster movie... Just great in effects, but not a bad choice to watch...
  • March 29, 2008
    loved it i love this sort of films it action packed and gr8 volcanoes bits
  • August 5, 2007
    Excellent disaster movie about a volanco eruption. Great cast and perfromances by Tommy.
  • July 24, 2007
    A rather dull disaster film about a Volcano erupting under the earth of Los Angeles. I'm not a big Tommy Lee Jones fan (apart from Batman Forever). Anne Heche is cool, but not enough to keep this movie sizzling. The scene with the Subway driver rescuing people and then perishing ... read morein hot lava I found very upsetting. Finally, I found it a weak contender against "Dante's Peak", which was released the same year.

Critic Reviews

Todd McCarthy
March 26, 2009
Todd McCarthy, Variety

Never generates a head of true excitement, partly because the characters remain constructs designed to perform defined functions, and partly due to the time-worn hokiness of the whole disaster-film fo... Full Review

January 26, 2006
Time Out

Jones and Heche work hard to dig up an emotional rapport from next to nothing, while the slow but inexorable progress of the lava makes for more suspense than the usual slam bang firework display. Full Review

Mick LaSalle
June 18, 2002
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

A host of characters is introduced in the opening scenes, but Volcano doesn't know what to do with them. It can't make us care. Full Review

Kenneth Turan
February 14, 2001
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

The coast may be toast, but it's the lava, covering everything like a malevolent tide of melted butter, that makes this a disaster picture that's tastier than usual. Full Review

Janet Maslin
January 1, 2000
Janet Maslin, New York Times

Like the substantially better Twister, this film insists on a thunderous, exhausting pace that inevitably becomes deflating. Full Review

Gary Kamiya
January 1, 2000
Gary Kamiya,

A flatulent blast of superheated air from the seething bowels of Hollywood... Full Review

Mike Clark
January 1, 2000
Mike Clark, USA Today

Hundreds of screen technicians obviously slaved on the effects -- and for what? A dopey subplot about a bogus arrest. Soap opera involving Jones' injured daughter.

Roger Ebert
January 1, 2000
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Volcano is an absolutely standard, assembly-line undertaking; no wonder one of the extras is reading a paperback titled "Screenwriting Made Easy." Full Review

James Berardinelli
January 1, 2000
James Berardinelli, ReelViews

This is one of the best pure disaster movies ever made (not that it has much competition). Congratulations to director Mick Jackson for a job well done. Full Review

Rob Nelson
September 5, 2009
Rob Nelson, Boston Phoenix

Pre-millennium tension is still the best explanation for the recent tidal wave of disaster movies--which hasn't made it any less boring. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by

Fresh (60% or more critics rated the movie positively)

Rotten (59% or fewer critics rated the movie positively)

More Like This

Click a thumb to vote on that suggestion, or add your own suggestions.

  • Twister
    Twister (84%)
  • Deep Impact
    Deep Impact (78%)
  • Dante's Peak
    Dante's Peak (85%)
  • Skyline
    Skyline (31%)


    • Mike Roark: I can't leave you here after an earthquake.
    • Kelly Roark: Dad, I'm 13 years old, I know what to do.
    • Mike Roark: Ok, What do you do?
    • Kelly Roark: Get into a doorframe, stick your head between your knees & kiss your ass goodbye.
  • L.A. Erupts in 1997
  • It's Hotter than Hell!
  • There are 1,500 active volcanoes that we know about...and one that we don't.
  • The Coast Is Toast

Volcano : Watch Free on TV

Volcano Trivia

  • What movie is about a hypochondriac who learns that he is dying, and accepts an offer to throw himself into a volcano?  Answer »
  • In which three movies did Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan work together?  Answer »
  • how does gollum die in lord of the rings?  Answer »
  • Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks have done 3 movies together....which was their first?  Answer »

Movie Quizzes

Video Clips

No video clips yet. Want to upload one?

Recent News

No recent headlines. Got one?

Recent Lists

Most Popular Skin

No skins yet. Interested in creating one?