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Johnstown Flood narrated by Richard Dreyfuss
Johnstown Flood narrated by Richard Dreyfuss
Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Patrick Jordan, Jennifer Lee Dake, Charles King (VIII), Matt Hutchinson (III)
Director: Mark Bussler
Genres: Educational, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     2003     1hr 24min

Narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, "Johnstown Flood" tells a true story of heartbreak, heroism and the courage to survive. On a stormy day in May of 1889, the South Fork Dam explodes, unleashing a 40-foot wall of water. Fierce...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Patrick Jordan, Jennifer Lee Dake, Charles King (VIII), Matt Hutchinson (III)
Director: Mark Bussler
Genres: Educational, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Educational, Biography, History, Crime & Conspiracy, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Inecom Entertainment Company
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/26/2003
Original Release Date: 08/26/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 08/26/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Susan S. from SAINT LOUIS, MO
Reviewed on 12/15/2009...
This documentary is revisited with actors playing the roles of townspeople and voiceover narration by Richard Dreyfus. It's an ejoyable reenactment of the Johnstown flood. Gave it three stars because it's told in a minute-by-minute account of the cause and effect of the flooding. Enjoyable documentary.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Johnstown Flood
Ellorysgirl | Iowa City, Iowa USA | 06/17/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This rendition of the tragedy of the Johnstown Flood in 1889 cannot be favorably compared with the first offering from The American Experience on PBS. The 2003 Dreyfuss-narrated version does not use the quantity of archival material available; it barely hints at the social and political pressures, especially by members of the social club situated at the top of the dam, which contributed to the breaking of the dam and the tragedy that followed. Richard Dreyfuss is overly dramatic, seeming to revel in the details of the tragedy in his delivery, and is not at all equal to the terrific David McCullough as a narrator. The use of real actors to repeat quotes from survivors and act out portions of the aftermath is just ludicrous, and none of them show any talent for this portrayal at all. It was very distracting to have these people plopped into the narrative willy-nilly. I was extremely disappointed in the 2003 DVD, and cannot recommend it."
Shallow by comparison
John Vavrek | Seattle, WA USA | 04/05/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I grew up in Johnstown. I have seen the films at both of the Flood Museums. The film at the downtown museum (the former Carnegie Free Library) is the Guggenheim film that won the academy award. It is an excellent film that far outstrips the one here reviewed. However, the film presented at the damsite is even superior to the Guggenheim film. Unfortunately, it can only be seen at the museum. I found the film narrated by Richard Dreyfuss to be a very "watery" story with some awful cinematography and effects. The dramatizations were terrible: actors with modern accents and mannerisms in Victorian costumes...! I thought this was a very shallow representation of a terrible disaster."
Revels in gore
J. E Hoffman | San Francisco, CA | 02/24/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This documentary feels like it was made by an undegrad film student. Some of the recreations of the flood on what is obviously a limited budget are a noble effort. The panning and scanning over pictures is ok, but doing the same with drawings gets a little tedious and is distracting. The film misses a crucial element of the story: the culpiblility of the wealthy patrons of the hunting club that built the dam and failed to maintain it properly. Actors (acting students from a local college?) look too young for their roles and are overly dramatic. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, went to school for a while in Johnstown. I have yet to see any actor capture the mood and tone of people of Western PA... and I wish someone would.

What bothered me most were the repeated details about the gore of the incident. The documentary takes pleasure and spends far too much time describing the carnage. For example, it devotes about 10 minutes recounting a story, most likely fictional, about a guy who gets caught robbing corpses.

Read the David McCullough book."