Alert! ( Outbreak ) ( The Epidemic in Quebec ) is an American disaster film of 1995 , directed by Wolfgang Petersen . The film tells the story of an epidemic of deadly virus accidentally introduced in the small town of Cedar Creek (population 2,500, imaginary city) in California ( United States ).


A deadly haemorrhagic virus, the Motaba virus, is introduced to California by a monkey imported from Zaire , spreads at lightning speed in the city of Cedar Creek, threatening the American continent. First to anticipate the terrible danger, Colonel Sam Daniels struggles to prevent this virus annihilate the entire population, while the army prepares to shave the small town.

The monkey carrying the disease, which developed resistance, is captured shortly before the destruction of the city. An antiserum is quickly developed which helps to save people.

The fictional virus Motaba was inspired by the Ebola virus . The film was all the more resounding as in 1995, there was a new Ebola outbreak in Kikwit , Democratic Republic of Congo .

Detailed Summary

In July 1967, fighting raged around a mercenary camp in Zaire . Billy Ford and McClintock – members of the United States Army – arrive in a helicopter in a dry suit. A medical staff at the camp describes them with a lightning illness. They perform a blood test on a patient, bed with many other fighters with all traces of a disease. They leave very quickly. A little later, a plane drops a bomb over the camp, which is totally destroyed.

In 1995, two scientists worked for USAMRIID  ( United States Army Research Institute for Biological Weapons ): Colonel Sam Daniels and Casey Schuler. They are sent by their superior – General Billy Ford – to Zaire. They arrive in a village where almost everyone died because of a communicable disease. They learn that the disease is not transmitted by air, and that it is the water from the village well that has been the vector of transmission. They report samples.

They come back to the United States, and produce an alarming report. Despite this report, General Billy Ford refuses to raise an alert. They begin to study the virus , and discover that it is unknown and extremely virulent : it takes five hours to commit as much damage as the Ebola virus in several days. Despite his wish to continue working on the new virus, Sam is assigned by Billy to another mission in New Mexico, where a hantavirus has been detected.

Meanwhile, a monkey carrying the virus but resistant, is captured in Africa. He travels in a boat to San Jose, California. He is recovered by Jimbo, who tries to sell it to Rudy, a friend. The transaction does not finally take place, but the African monkey transmits the virus to another monkey already owned by Rudy, then Rudy. Jimbo is also contaminated.

Having failed to sell the monkey, Jimbo releases him in a forest and then flees to Boston, where he meets his friend. Arrived at the airport, it collapses. For his part, Rudy also manifests the symptoms of the disease. His blood is analyzed, and an accident occurring Henry – a member of the medical staff – is contaminated in turn. Very worried, he is reassured by a colleague. In the evening, he goes to a cinema in Cedar Creek. The symptoms appear during the session, and it contaminates people by air.

Later that night, the hospital was quickly overwhelmed by the influx of sick people. Learning this, Sam disobeys, and goes to Cedar Creek rather than New Mexico. The army, under the orders of Generals Billy Ford and Donald McClintock, puts the city in quarantine by encircling the city: deployment of barrier, installation of barbed wire, checkpoints on the access roads …

On the spot, Sam quickly discovers that the disease is able to spread through the air, and that there are two strains of the virus. He tries with his team to rebuild the driveshaft. By studying the facts, they deduce that there is an animal that bears both strains.

The inhabitants are registered at home, those who try to leave the city are shot by the military. Patients are gathered in a school, corpses are burned in a barn.

On the other side of the United States, at the White House, USAMRIID presents its projections to members of the government: spread of the virus throughout the United States in 48 hours. The group recommends that the US president destroy Cedar Creek with a thermobaric bomb to stop the epidemic.

Sam discovers that there is an antiserum for a strain of the virus. As this antiserum comes from the army, he understands that his superiors already knew the existence of this virus. He follows the trail of the animal, and ends up discovering that it is a monkey that has transmitted the disease. His superiors try to stop him to protect their secret. He eventually finds the monkey, which allows him to make an antiserum. The order to destroy the city is not canceled, however, General Donald McClintock, the main person responsible for the disaster, wishing to cover his mistakes. Sam still manages to convince the pilots of the plane to drop the bomb to disobey orders. Finally, McClintock is arrested.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Outbreak
  • French title: Alerte!
  • Quebec title: The Epidemic
  • Director: Wolfgang Petersen , assisted by Buddy Van Horn and Duncan Henderson
  • Scenario: Laurence Dworet  (in) , Robert Roy Pool  (en)
  • Editing: William Hoy
  • Music: James Newton Howard
  • Production: Arnold Kopelson , Wolfgang Petersen
  • Genre: disaster movie
  • Duration: 127 minutes
  • Output: the in France


  • Dustin Hoffman (VF: Mario Santini ) (VQ: Jean-Marie Moncelet ) : Colonel Sam Daniels
  • Rene Russo (VF: Véronique Augereau ) (VQ: Hélène Mondoux ) : Robby Keough
  • Morgan Freeman (VF: Benoît Allemane ) (VQ: Yvon Thiboutot ) : General Billy Ford
  • Kevin Spacey (VF: Robert Guilmard ) (VQ: Jean-Luc Montminy ) : Casey Schuler
  • Donald Sutherland (VF: Leon Dony ) (VQ: Ronald France ) : General Donald McClintock
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. (VF: Pierre Tessier ) (VQ: Gilbert Lachance ) : Major Salt
  • Gina Menza (VF: Françoise Cadol ) : Mrs. Jeffries
  • JT Walsh (VF: Michel Derain ) (VQ: Yves Massicotte ) : Secretary of State for the White House
  • Dale Dye (VF: Marc Cassot ) : Lieutenant-Colonel Briggs
  • Zakes Mokae : Dr. Benjamin Iwabi
  • Patrick Dempsey (VQ: Antoine Durand ) : Jimbo Scott
  • Malick Bowens : Dr. Raswani
  • Susan Lee Hoffman : Dr. Lisa Aronson
  • Benito Martinez : Dr. Julio Ruiz
  • Bruce Jarchow : Dr. Mascelli
  • Leland Hayward III (VF: Eric Missoffe ) : Henry Seward
  • Daniel Chodos : Rudy Alvarez

Sources and legends : French version (VF) on AlloDoublage 1 , Quebec version (VQ) on Doublage Québec 2

Notes and references

  1. ↑ “French dubbing sheet of the film”  [ archive ] , accessed on January 20, 2015
  2. ↑ “Sheet of dubbing Quebec film”  [ archive ] , accessed January 20, 2015

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