The Swarm (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Swarm (1978)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Killer bees migrate to the United States from Africa via South America in this disaster film produced and directed by the genre's chief architect, Irwin Allen, and written by Stirling Silliphant, scribe of The Poseidon Adventure. Haughty entomologist Brad Crane (Michael Caine) shows up at a secret military base full of dead soldiers, shocking the attendant General Slater (Richard Widmark). Crane announces that the soldiers are the victims of killer bees with amazingly potent venom; he's been tracking huge swarms of the things and fears they'll kill millions before they're through. Eventually, the president asks Crane to lead the battle against the killer insects and he assembles a team of crack scientists. Meanwhile, the bees overpower a family picnic in nearby Marysville; only the son, Paul (Christian Juttner), escapes with his life. Crane and military physician Helena Anderson (Katherine Ross) head to Marysville to warn the populace about the impending danger. Among the citizens in the direct path of the bees are schoolmarm Maureen Schuster (Olivia de Havilland) and her competing suitors, Felix (Ben Johnson) and Clarence (Fred MacMurray). Eventually, the bees stage a massacre in Marysville and then set their sights on Houston. Neither pesticides, firebombing, nor the heroic sacrifice of scientist Dr. Krim (Henry Fonda) seems to offer a solution for the impending disaster. Universally reviled by critics, The Swarm failed to continue Allen's winning streak at the box office. Caine would re-team with his director the following year for Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.

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Michael Caine
as Brad Crane
Richard Widmark
as Gen. Slater
Olivia de Havilland
as Maureen Schuster
Lee Grant
as Anne MacGregor
José Ferrer
as Dr. Andrews
Patty Duke
as Rita Bard
Slim Pickens
as Jud Hawkins
Bradford Dillman
as Maj. Baker
Henry Fonda
as Dr. Krim
Cameron Mitchell
as Gen. Thompson
Christian Juttner
as Paul Durant
Morgan Paull
as Dr. Newman
Alejandro Rey
as Dr. Martinez
Don 'Red' Barry
as Pete Harris
Doria Cook
as Mrs. Durant
Robert Varney
as Mr. Durant
Pat Culliton
as Sheriff Morrison
Steve Powers
as Radarmen
Arthur Space
as Engineer
John Williams (II)
as Launching Officer
Mara Cook
as Secretary
Elizabeth Rogers
as Woman Scientist
Steven Marlo
as Pilot #1
Ernie F. Orsatti
as Duty Officer
John Furlong
as Cameraman
Joey Eisnach
as Bee Boy
Bill Snider
as Radarman #2
Chris Capen
as Lieutenant
Tony Haig
as Officer #2
Arell Blanton
as Sergeant
Trent Dolan
as Radio Sergeant
Michael Sheehan
as Airman #1
Howard Culver
as Airman #2
Art Ballinger
as Radio Announcer
Frank Blair
as Himself
Chuck Hayward
as Standby Engineer
Glenn Charles Lewis
as Chemical Warfare Guard
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Critic Reviews for The Swarm

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (3)

Killer bees periodically interrupt the arch writing, stilted direction and ludicrous acting in Irwin Allen's disappointing and tired non-thriller.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

A number of journalists, rolling in the aisles with laughter, were ejected from the press screening.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Mr. Allen might just as well have devoted his talents to man-eating goldfish, poodles on the rampage or carniverous canaries.

May 9, 2005

The Swarm does impart a couple of lasting lessons. Putting your trust in science is a big one, but so is the nagging idea that -as stupidly entertaining as The Swarm can be-maybe every disaster doesn't need its own disaster movie.

May 12, 2020 | Full Review…

The end result is indifference and boredom. [Full Review in Spanish]

August 1, 2019 | Full Review…

As an adult, I recognize that The Swarm is, well, not good, but I can now enjoy it as a so-bad-it's-brilliant endeavor.

April 22, 2019 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Swarm

"...and on top of everything else you've got to worry about, now there's deadly killer bees, too!" Not to worry, bunkie, 'cause Irwin Allen's got your back with this stress relievin' answer to that particular worrisome concern. The actors (and there's a crapload of them, like a landfill of old actors particularly) shout their lines, lines that're hackneyed and shallow, in an attempt to convince you that they care about this crisis, that they care about this movie, but it's a laugh. Like sad laughter. Allen seems the big screen version of teevee schlockmeister Aaron Spelling, and this film, at best, an auto accident on the freeway - stop looking and just keep moving, please. Please. Okay, okay, it could be considered a fun guilty pleasure. That's a possibility.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

The Swarm is a mindless and amusing nature gone wild, horror disaster film with killer bees. With an all star cast that deliver some good performances, but nothing ever too serious due to its plot, it plays out as low budget B movie fair that you simply can't take seriously. The cast are quite good in their parts, but this was made at the height of disaster movies, as they were very popular in the 70's. This one has more of a horror flavor to it, and I would say it does posses some comedic tones as well. If you love these types of films, definitely check this one out. Other viewers may not enjoy this, and I would recommend this one purely for midnight film buffs who enjoy tongue in cheek films. Nature Gone Wild films are always fun and entertaining for their concepts and plots. The Swarm is pretty far-fetched; nonetheless if you're in the mood, you'll surely enjoy this flick. Just don't take it seriously whatsoever. The Swarm is entertaining for what it is, and though it's ridiculous, it's worth seeing if you enjoy these films. The cast are good in their performances, and each of them brings something that makes this film so engaging. The film has had its Fir share of flack, with good reason, but it's nowhere near as bad as what many reviews have said about it. Go into this one expecting an amusing thrill ride that is well acted and a tongue in cheek storyline, and you might like it. The Swarm is a memorable addition to the nature gone wild genre of horror films, even if it's not the best, it's still entertaining.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


This movie is full of stars, but thin on plot. What is interesting about it, though, is that it is a combination of a disaster movie and one of the batch of 70s movies that emulated the style of the 50s sci-fi/horror movies. Although the mixing of the two genres is interesting, the characters and story aren't as interesting and it doesn't end well.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Swarm Quotes

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