The Poseidon Adventure (movie)

The Poseidon Adventure ( The Poseidon Adventure ) is a disaster film American directed by Ronald Neame , released in 1972 . It is the adaptation of the novel of the same name of Paul Gallico written in 1969 .

This is one of the first disaster movies . A sequel came out in 1979: Irwin Allen ‘s Poseidon ‘ s Last Secret with Michael Caine , Sally Field and Telly Savalas . Two remakes were made almost at the same time: a TV movie (2005) and a movie (2006). The TV movie has the same characters but the disaster is caused by terrorists. The movie film takes the edge but the characters are new.


The Poseidon , an ocean liner cruise, returned to sea by a giant tidal wave . Inside, ten survivors led by an energetic and determined pastor are trying to make their way through the wreck of the overturned ship and back to the hull , the only possible way out.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: The Poseidon Adventure
  • French title: L’Aventure du Poseidon
  • Director: Ronald Neame
  • Scenario: Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes , based on Paul Gallico’s eponymous novel
  • Sets: William Creber  (en)
  • Costumes: Paul Zastupnevich  (en)
  • Photography: Harold E. Stine  (de)
  • Editing: Harold F. Kress
  • Music: John Williams
  • Production: Irwin Allen
  • Production Company: Kent Productions
  • Distribution Company: 20th Century Fox
  • Budget: 4.7 million of USD 1
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Original language: English
  • Format: color – 2.35: 1 – 35 mm – Stereo
  • Genre: disaster
  • Duration: 117 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  United States :
      • (world premiere in New York )
      • (first in Los Angeles )
      •  (national release)
    •  United Kingdom :
    •  France :


  • Gene Hackman (VF: Claude Joseph ) : Reverend Frank Scott, hard neighborhood pastor
  • Ernest Borgnine (VF: Henry Djanik ) : Sgt. Mike Rogo, policeman of the socialite
  • Red Buttons (VF: Guy Piérauld ) : James Martin, blouse
  • Carol Lynley (VF: Claude Chantal ) : Singer Nonnie Parry
  • Roddy McDowall (VF: Jean-Pierre Leroux ) : Acres (Alan en VF), liner’s server
  • Stella Stevens (VF: Michelle Bardollet ) : Linda Rogo, former prostitute, Mike’s wife
  • Shelley Winters (VF: Paule Emanuele ) : Beautiful Rosen, retired
  • Jack Albertson (VF: Philippe Dumat ) : Manny Rosen, retired hardware store, husband of Belle
  • Pamela Sue Martin (FF: Jeanine Forney ) : Susan Shelby, young vacationer
  • Arthur O’Connell (VF: Jean-Henri Chambois ) : Chaplain John, pastor, mentor of Frank
  • Eric Shea  ( VF: Arlette Thomas ) : Robin Shelby, young vacationer, brother of Susan
  • Leslie Nielsen (VF: Jean-Claude Michel ) : Commander Harrison, Captain of the liner
  • Fred Sadoff  ( VF: Serge Lhorca ) : Mr. Linarcos, owner of Poseidon
  • Sheila Mathews : Nelly, the nurse
  • January Arvan (VF: Henri Labussière )r . Caravello, doctor on board
  • Byron Webster (VF: William Sabatier ) : the steward
  • John Crawford (VF: Marc de Georgi ) : Joe, the chief mechanic
  • Bob Hastings (VF: Pierre Hatet ) : The Master of Ceremonies
  • Erik L. Nelson (VF: Pierre Hatet ) : Mr. Tinkham, NCO
  • Charles Bateman  ( VF: Daniel Gall ) : First Lieutenant Larsen
  • Maurice Marsac : the French officer of the Naval Aviation (uncredited)


viewThis section does not provide enough sources (August 2010) .


Paul Gallico , who wrote the novel, was inspired by a trip he had made on the Queen Mary . While he was having breakfast in the dining room, a huge wave sent people and furniture to the other side of the ship. It was also inspired by another event on the Queen Mary during the Second World War when a huge wave hit the ship in the North Atlantic while carrying US troops to Europe. It was then that he would only capsize like Poseidon .

In the original script, it was Reverend Scott who saved Belle Rosen during the underwater expedition in the holds of the ship. It was Gene Hackman who persuaded director Ronald Neame that it was rather Mrs. Rosen who saved the Reverend Scott because he found this scene more realistic.


  • Petula Clark was approached for the role of Nonnie Parry, who was finally given to Carol Lynley .
  • The actress Shelley Winters , who in the film takes the role of a former swimming champion, had to take sixteen kilos to play the role of Belle Rosen, and was trained by an Olympic swimming coach to make his scenes of swim more realistic.
  • The role of James Martin was first offered to Gene Wilder who refused because he had signed a contract for another film. The role went to Red Buttons , although the latter and Carol Lynley , whose characters are very close in the film, did not really like each other. Their relations were reduced to filming sequences.
  • Susan Shelby’s little brother is Eric Shea, a child actor famous at the time in the United States. French television viewers were able to find out in the television series Anna and the King (with Yul Brynner ) in which he plays Louis Owens, the son of the teacher ( Samantha Eggar ). It is dubbed in French by the actress Arlette Thomas .
  • One hundred and twenty-five stuntmen worked on the film.


The scenes before the capsize were filmed aboard the Queen Mary , including the opening sequence showing the storm. The first tour was the one where Nonnie, played by Carol Lynley , rehearsed The Morning after with her band. Filming had to be delayed twice due to lack of funds.

The plateau where the end of year party was held was designed so that very few objects are moved from the ground to the ceiling when capsizing. The columns along the walls were identical at the top and bottom, and the wall decorations were removable. Part of the plateau was built on a hydraulic system that allowed to place it in a 45 ° angle .

The actors did their own stunts except the most dangerous ones. All major actors have complained about the difficulties of filming.


  • Oscar of the 1973 cinema : Oscar of the best original song ; nominations in the Best Supporting Actress categories, best sound, best music.
  • BAFTA 1973 : Best Actor (Gene Hackman)
  • Golden Globe 1973 : Best Supporting Actor (Shelley Winters)



  • 2005 : The Poseidon Adventure , TV movie directed by John Putch .
  • 2006 : Simpsons , in episode 18 of season 17 Water Stories , the third of the mini-stories contained in the episode is a parody mixing the screenplay of the 1972 and 2006 movies.
  • An episode of Pokémon takes up this story. Sacha and his friends find themselves stuck in a ship that has turned around and use their Pokémon to escape.


  • 2006 : Poseidon , directed by Wolfgang Petersen .
  • The filmmaker and author Joss Whedon was inspired by the unfolding of the film for the writing of the Alien script , the resurrection , the fourth opus of the Alien saga directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in 1997.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ (in) Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History , Rowman & Littlefield,, 256 p. ( read online  [ archive ] )

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