Twister (1996 film)

Twister (1996 film)

Infobox Film
name = Twister

caption = "Twister" theatrical poster
director = Jan de Bont
producer = Ian Bryce
Michael Crichton
Kathleen Kennedy
writer = Michael Crichton
Anne-Marie Martin
starring = Helen Hunt
Bill Paxton
Jami Gertz
Cary Elwes
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Alan Ruck
Zach Grenier
music = Van Halen
The Goo Goo Dolls
Mark Mancina
Anthony Kiedis (uncredited)
Dave Navarro (uncredited)
Chad Smith (uncredited)
Gioacchino Rossini
Ennio Morricone
Shania Twain
cinematography = Jack N. Green
editing = Michael Kahn
production_company = Warner Bros. Pictures
Universal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
Constant c Productions
distributor = Warner Bros.
Universal Pictures
released = May 10, 1996
runtime = 113 minutes
country = United States
awards = []
language = English
budget = US$92,000,000 (estimated)
gross = $494,471,524
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:135936
imdb_id = 0117998

"Twister" is a 1996 disaster film starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as storm chasers researching tornadoes. It was directed by Jan de Bont. The film was based upon a script by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin.

In the movie, a team of "storm chasers" try to perfect a data-gathering instrument, designed to be released into the funnel of a tornado, while competing with another better-funded team with a similar device during a tornado outbreak across Oklahoma.

"Twister" is notable for being the first movie to be released on the DVD format [ [ Twister (1996) - Trivia ] ] and the last to be released on HD-DVD [ [ HD DVD Disc Release Dates | High Def Digest ] ] . "Twister" has since been released in high definition on Blu-ray disc.

Main characters

Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt): The leader of her storm-chasing research team. Vehicle: AMC Jeep J10

Bill Harding (Bill Paxton): Jo's estranged husband and former fellow storm-chaser. Vehicle: Dodge Ram

Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz): Bill's new fiancee.

Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes): The leader of a rival storm-chasing team.

Eddie (Zach Grenier): Jonas' reluctant assistant.

Aunt Meg Greene (Lois Smith): Jo's aunt and mother-figure to the storm team.

Dustin 'Dusty' Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman): An extroverted, wise-cracking member of Jo's chase team.

Robert 'Rabbit' Nurick (Alan Ruck): The navigator for Jo's chase team.

Laurence: (Jeremy Davies): A quiet member of the team, in charge of photographing and capturing a tornado on film.

Joey: (Joey Slotnick): In charge of taking measurements of wind and taking care of their doppler radar.

Alan Sanders (Sean Whalen), Tim 'Beltzer' Lewis (Todd Field):, Haynes (Wendle Josepher): and Jason 'Preacher' Rowe: (Scott Thompson): other members of Jo's team.


The film begins with a prologue set in 1969 on a rural Oklahoma farm, as severe weather looms. A family (including five-year old Jo) seeks shelter in a storm cellar as a tornado strikes; Jo's father is caught up in the storm and killed, as young Jo struggles to catch a glimpse of the powerful storm.

The main story begins with the reunion between Dr. Jo Harding, now an adult, and her estranged husband Bill Harding. Bill is a former weather researcher and storm chaser who has taken a job as a weather reporter. He is planning to marry his new girlfriend, Dr. Melissa Reeves and has arrived seeking Jo’s signature for the final divorce papers.

When they meet, Bill discovers that Jo has built DOROTHY, a research device that Bill designed to release hundreds of sensors into the center of a tornado to study its structure. He also meets up with Dr. Jonas Miller, a smug and unscrupulous (but well-funded) fellow meteorologist and storm chaser. When Bill discovers that Jonas has "invented" a device almost identical to DOROTHY, he vows to help Jo deploy DOROTHY before Miller can claim credit for his idea. Bill and Melissa join Jo and her eccentric team of storm chasers.

Tensions rise between Jo and Bill when they have several close calls with dangerous tornadoes as they try unsuccessfully to deploy the new device. One tornado hits Wakita, Oklahoma head on, destroying the home of Jo's aunt Meg. Melissa, frightened by the dangers of storm chasing and recognizing the unresolved feelings between Jo and Bill, leaves.

The team then attacks their goal with even more fervor, chasing an increasingly-intense storm in an attempt to deploy DOROTHY. The rival team's hubris and lack of instinct proves fatal as their lead truck is caught up in a tornado due to overzealous chasing, despite Bill's warnings.

Eventually Jo and Bill set out on their own and, in a risky maneuver, are able to successfully deploy DOROTHY, surviving a direct contact with a huge tornado and re-sealing their personal bond in the process.


The film was a joint production between Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures. (This fact is reflected in the movies comprising a double-bill advertised on the marquee of the drive-in theater featured in the film: "The Shining", a Warner Bros. release, and "Psycho" a Universal owned production).

Several actual television meteorologists from Oklahoma are featured throughout the movie, including Former KFOR-4 Oklahoma City (and later KJRH-2 Tulsa) meteorologist Jeff Lazalier, Rick Mitchell, Chief Meteorologist at KOCO-5 Oklahoma City, and Mike Morgan, also of KFOR. Gary England of KWTV-9 Oklahoma City can be seen on a small television in actual footage from the early 1970s. England also served as a technical advisor on the film.

Although the movie takes place in Oklahoma, nearly half of the movie was filmed in Iowa.


The DOROTHY instrument in the film is loosely based on a real-life experiment that NOAA attempted in the 1980s with an instrument called the TOtable Tornado Observatory, or TOTO. Similarly to TOTO, The DOROTHY device in the film is named after Dorothy Gale, the protagonist of the "Oz" books and films.

The sound of the tornado was produced by recording a camel's moan and slowing it down. [ [ Twister (Widescreen): Jan de Bont, Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Lois Smith, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Sean Whalen, Scott Thomson, Todd ... ] ]

A tanker truck involved in the final tornado bears the words "Benthic Petroleum". The company is the fictitious oil corporation from James Cameron's film The Abyss.

In one tornado scene the storm chasers witness cows being lifted into the air; this scene has been heavily parodied.


"Twister" featured both a traditional orchestral film score (by Mark Mancina) and several rock music songs, including an instrumental theme song composed and performed for the film by Van Halen. Both the rock soundtrack and the orchestral score were released on compact disc; the orchestral score is considered a collector's item and is very difficult to find.Fact|date=May 2008 At least one piece of music used in the movie is not on the score. This music begins at the end of the first scene with Aunt Meg. It continues as she kisses everyone goodbye and the camera swoops over the Wakita water tower. It ends (changes to the Van Halen "Humans' Being" song) as the storm chasing team drives through the country.

Several songs used in the film were not included on the soundtrack including "Motherless Child" by Eric Clapton (Dusty played the music video in his RV at the beginning of the film) and "Child in Time" by Deep Purple (played by Dusty when the team went to chase their second tornado in the film).


Working titles for the film were "Catch The Wind" and "Wind Devils".Fact|date=February 2007 The original tagline for the movie was "It Sucks", but the producers ultimately decided to go in a different direction, thinking that this tagline would provide critics with ammunition if they didn't like the movie. The tagline that was eventually agreed upon was "The Dark Side of Nature".Fact|date=February 2007

Sega Pinball released a pinball machine based on the movie. [ [] ]

Weather impact

On May 21st, 1996, a tornado destroyed a drive-in theater in St. Catharine's, Ontario, which was scheduled to show the movie "Twister", in a real-life parallel to a scene in the film in which a tornado destroys a drive-in during a showing of the film "The Shining". [ [ "TORNADO DESTROYS 'TWISTER" THEATER'] Boston Globe May 22nd, 1996. ] The facts of this incident were exaggerated into an urban legend that the theater was actually playing "Twister" during the tornado. Comedian Bob Saget claims he was on his way to see the movie at this St. Catharine's drive-in when the real thing hit. [ [ "Twister"] -]

Theme park attraction

The film was used as the basis for the attraction "Twister...Ride It Out" at Universal Studios Florida, which features filmed introductions by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.


*Helen Hunt ... Dr. Jo Harding
*Bill Paxton ... Bill Harding
*Jami Gertz ... Dr. Melissa Reeves
*Cary Elwes ... Dr. Jonas Miller
*Lois Smith ... Aunt Meg Greene
*Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Dustin 'Dusty' Davis
*Alan Ruck ... Robert 'Rabbit' Nurick
*Sean Whalen ... Allan Sanders
*Scott Thomson ... Jason 'Preacher' Rowe
*Todd Field ... Tim "Beltzer" Lewis
*Joey Slotnick ... Joey
*Wendle Josepher ... Haynes
*Jeremy Davies ... Laurence
*Zach Grenier ... Eddie
*Gregory Sporleder .... Willie
*Patrick Fischler .... The Communicator
*Nicholas Sadler .... Kubrick
*Ben Weber .... Stanley
*Anthony Rapp .... Tony
*Eric LaRay Harvey .... Eric
*Abraham Benrubi .... Bubba
*Jake Busey .... Mobile lab technician
*Melanie Hoopes .... Patty
*J. Dean Lindsay .... Dean
*Dean Kelpine .... Diner mechanic
*Sharonlyn Morrow .... Waitress
*Richard Lineback .... Father
*Rusty Schwimmer .... Mother
*Alexa Vega .... Jo Harding – 5 years old
*Taylor Gilbert .... NSSL scientist – Bryce
*Bruce Wright .... NSSL scientist – Murphy
*Gary England, Jeff Lazalier, Rick Mitchell .... TV meteorologists
*John Thomas Rhyne .... Paramedic
*Paul Douglas .... Bodger
*Samantha McDonald, Jennifer F. Hamilton .... Drive-in girls
*Anneke de Bont .... Farm girl


"Twister: The official soundtrack"

#Van Halen - Humans Being
#Rusted Root - Virtual Reality
#Tori Amos - Talula(BT's Tornado Mix)
#Union Station Feat. Alison Krauss - Moments like this
#Mark Knopfler - Darling Pretty
#Soul Asylum - Miss this
#Belly - Broken
#K.D. Lang - Love affair
#Nine Stories Feat. Lisa Loeb - How
#Red Hot Chili Peppers - Melancholy Mechanics
#Goo Goo Dolls - Long way down
#Shania Twain - No one needs to know
#Stevie Nicks Feat. Lindsey Buckingham - Twisted
#Edward Van Halen Feat. Alex Van Halen - Respect the Wind


External links

* [ Official site for the film]
* [ Twister Museum] Wakita, Oklahoma
* [ Hear the theme song]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.