PG | | Action, Drama, Thriller
Various interconnected people struggle to survive when an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude hits Los Angeles, California.
George Fox, a magazine writer, was hired to pen the screenplay based on Mario Puzo's draft. As he had never written a screenplay before, Director Mark Robson helped him work on it. All in all, eleven drafts were submitted before the screenplay was approved.
Chief Inspector, L.A. Dept. of Water & Power:
Diver at Hollywood Reservoir: All OK as far as I can tell! I'll check again!
Chief Inspector, L.A. Dept. of Water & Power: I guess we won't find anything until after the shaft is pumped out, but everything looks fine.
Max, Assistant Dam Caretaker: Right. People drown in elevators every damn day of the week!
When Denise picks up Corry in the spillway, there is a shiny metallic patch on Corry's back.
For the initial network television showing broadcast on NBC in September 1976, additional footage was shot to lengthen the film in order to show it over two nights. The most extensive segment of new footage is a subplot of a newlywed couple (Debralee Scott and Sam Chew Jr.) on a flight to Los Angleles so the husband can interview for a job with Stuart Graff (Charlton Heston). The plane tries to land as the earthquake hits, but the pilots are able to regain control and fly away before the runway breaks up. Other significant segments are new scenes with Jody (Marjoe Gortner) and Rosa (Victoria Principal), which establish Jody's obsession with Rosa, as well as one short scene in a pawn shop with Buck (Jesse Vint) and Hank (Michael Richardson), who play Marjoe's roommates in the theatrical version. Contrary to popular belief, these additional scenes were *not* "leftover" footage from the original 1974 theatrical release. Rather, the footage was filmed almost two years later by NBC to expand the film. These additional scenes were shot without the original director Mark Robson, who opted out, (in fact, he loathed the additional scenes), but they were shot with Universal's approval. In addition, two deleted scenes originally shot for the theatrical release were re-inserted into the television version, including a narrative opening about the San Andreas Fault, as well as a scene of Rosa brushing off a guy (Reb Brown) trying to give her a ride on his motorcycle. Incidentally, the version frequently running on the American cable channel "American Movie Classics" is the television version, and not the original theatrical version.