Outbreak (1995)

Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey
Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?
  • Warner Home Video Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 10 Mar 1995 Released:
  • 27 Aug 1997 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Laurence Dworet, Robert Roy Pool Writer:
  • Wolfgang Petersen Director:
  • N/A Website:

Trailer:

Well Made Film7/10
Outbreak (1995, Dir. Wolfgang Peterson)

It's 1967 and there's a deadly outbreak of 100% mortality rate virus in Motaba River Valley, Zaire. The Valley is destroyed to prevent the virus from spreading, but 27 years later, the virus finds its way over to the USA aboard a monkey. This time though, the virus has evolved and is now airborne, as Col. Sam Daniels (Hoffman) races to not only prevent a virus epidemic but to prevent the destruction of Cedar Creek by the corrupt Maj. Gen. Donald McClintock (Sutherland).

Great acting from its talented cast and superb storytelling make a well made film which hooks you into waiting for the final outcome. Story doesn't focus on the effects of the virus, but rather the hunt for the cure, which makes a far better film.

You want a hotshot scope-jockey, fine, but, frankly, I'm hurt. – Maj. Casey Schuler (Kevin Spacey)
There always has to be a disease, doesn't there?7/10
"Outbreak" isn't any kind of masterpiece, but worth seeing nevertheless. Portraying the army trying to contain a deadly virus brought by a monkey smuggled into the country, the movie seems especially relevant, what with bird flu and all. A particularly disturbing scene takes place in a movie theater, when a person coughs and the camera follows the particles catching on everyone's lips as they laugh, unaware of the fate that awaits them.

The always dependable Dustin Hoffman plays as intense a role as ever as the colonel in charge of trying to control the virus. Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr. also play their roles very well. Donald Sutherland's menacing looks are perfect for the kind of character whom he plays. All in all, Wolfgang Petersen directs another good one here.
Terrific9/10

When I first saw this movie, I was ten, and even then I liked it. The script itself housed very funny one liners, particularly form Spacey's character. But I was amazed at how fast the film itself moved. In the first, you are following these scientists going to Africa to find a virus outbreak. Next thing you know, you're watching a helicopter go head on with a plane.


First comes the acting. Dustin Hoffman is stupendous as always, Rene Russo plays Robbie with realism, Kevin Spacey makes for a good humor man, Cuba Gooding Jr. pulls off the green man trying to earn respect, and being a bad-ass at the same time. As always, Morgan Freeman is wonderful. Any role I see him in is a role I remember. He's always different, too, neigh does he ever repeat in characterization. Sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's incredibly serious. Last but not least comes Donald Sutherland, one of my favorite actors to date. He can jump into the shoes of any character, including the general trying to protect a secret he knows he shouldn't. One actor whom I particularly enjoyed watching was J.T. Walsh. It's a great shame he died, I liked all his stuff from Breakdown to Pleasantville. He is only in Outbreak for about five minutes, but he has one of my favorite monologues in the history of film. He commands attention as he speaks.


Next comes the story itself. A very to-date story. A one all can relate to because it could very well happen. A virus from Africa makes its way here and begins infecting all, without a cure. I liked that there was a hero aspect in Sam Daniels. he was the tracker, the hunter, the curist. Coupled with the story comes the dialogue. Rich, under-appreciated, funny, and serious all wrapped into one. As I said before, the monologue for Walsh is brilliant. Many lines are etched into my mind, and are often used in conversation. Too bad no one knows what I'm saying.

I'm a bit surprised this film didn't bode too well with audiences. Mayhap they didn't want to see what could happen, who knows? My only complaint is character endings. You insinuate what happens to McClintock and Ford, also Sam and Robbie, but we don't ever see Casey again. I could infer that he dies, but he could very well have survived. I wish there was a way to know.

Finally comes Wolfgang Peterson's remarkable direction. I've been a huge fan of his movies since this movie, including Air Force One, Enemy Mine, not much for Perfect Storm, but his upcoming Ender's Game should be good.


At the end, I felt a certain sense of relief and wonderment. But I have to say the soundtrack is rather exquisite. I have always liked James Newton Howard, and though the cd is short in time, it's a time I cannot forget. Particularly the end theme when it's chopper vs. plane time. What a song, keeps me in suspense every time. I like songs that are taken for film trailers as well. It's still too bad not a lot of people know about this movie.

9 out of 10
imperfect, but entertaining5/10
Hoffman is a U.S. Army doctor who specializes in disease control, and is burdened with personal problems following a recent divorce. He and his research team have their work cut out for them when they're assigned to try and contain a new, terrifyingly deadly virus that's made its way from Africa and caused an unprecedented epidemic in a small U.S. coastal town. It's a race against time as they try and locate the host animal carrying the virus, as well as save the lives of the town inhabitants before his Army superiors can carry out their own agenda. Suspenseful, well-crafted thriller is not always surprising, but it is believable and acted with conviction by a dynamite cast. ***
With a cast this great, it HAS to be good...9/10

This film was everything that many action thrillers are not. For one, the action really was thrilling at times. The story was well written and directed, and for a film that wasn't really "over the top" by action movie standards, there were many tense moments to enjoy. But what struck me the most was the cast. I mean, this is about as good a list of actors that you will ever find in one movie, and they all deliver, just as you would expect from all this talent. It's truly one of the most exciting movies that I've seen in some time.