Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston’s nonfiction book The Hot Zone. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland, and co-stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey and Patrick Dempsey. Related: Contagion movie.
- Starring : Dustin Hoffman / Rene Russo
- Genre : Action / Drama / Thriller
- Country : United States
- Language : English / Korean / French
- Director : Wolfgang Petersen
- Production : Warner Bros. / Arnold Kopelson Productions / Punch Productions / Kopelson Entertainment
- Distributor : Warner Bros. / Elliniki Kinimatografiki Enosi (ELKE) / Argentina Video Home / Warner Home Video / Audio Visual Enterprises / National Broadcasting Company (NBC) / Varus Video / Warner Home Vídeo
Outbreak release date
- March 6, 1995 : USA (Westwood, California) (premiere)
- March 10, 1995 : USA
- March 30, 1995 : Germany
- April 6, 1995 : Australia
- April 7, 1995 : Spain
- April 7, 1995 : Sweden
- April 12, 1995 : France
- April 21, 1995 : Ireland
- April 26, 1995 : Philippines
- April 28, 1995 : UK
- April 29, 1995 : Japan
- May 19, 1998 : Canada (video premiere)
- Dustin Hoffman as Sam Daniels
- Rene Russo as Robby Keough
- Morgan Freeman as General Billy Ford
- Kevin Spacey as Casey Schuler
- Cuba Gooding Jr. as Major Salt
- Donald Sutherland as General Donald McClintock
- Patrick Dempsey as Jimbo Scott
- Zakes Mokae as Dr. Benjamin Iwabi
- Malick Bowens as Dr. Raswani
- Susan Lee Hoffman as Dr. Lisa Aronson
- Benito Martinez as Dr. Julio Ruiz
- Bruce Jarchow as Dr. Mascelli
- Leland Hayward III as Henry Seward
- Daniel Chodos as Rudy Alvarez
- Dale Dye as Colonel Briggs
The Outbreak movie focuses on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus, Motaba, in Zaire and later in a small town in the United States. It is primarily set in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. Outbreak’s plot speculates how far military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly, contagious disease.
Outbreak, released on March 10, 1995, was a box-office success and Spacey won two awards for his performance. A real-life outbreak of the Ebola virus was occurring in Zaire when the film was released.
In 1967, during the Kisangani Mutinies a virus called Motaba, which causes a deadly fever, is discovered in the African jungle. To keep the virus a secret, U.S. Army officers Donald McClintock and Billy Ford destroy the camp where soldiers were infected. Twenty-eight years later, Colonel Sam Daniels, a USAMRIID virologist, is sent to investigate an outbreak in Zaire. He and his crew—Lieutenant Colonel Casey Schuler and new recruit Major Salt—gather information and return to the United States. Ford, now a brigadier general and Daniels’ superior officer, dismisses the latter’s fears that the virus will spread.
Betsy, a white-headed capuchin monkey that is host to the virus, is smuggled into the country. James “Jimbo” Scott, a worker at an animal testing laboratory, is infected when he steals Betsy to sell on the black market. Jimbo fails to sell Betsy to Rudy Alvarez (who also becomes infected), a pet-store owner in the coastal-California village of Cedar Creek. After releasing the monkey in the woods outside of the nearby community of Palisades, he develops symptoms on a flight to Boston and infects his girlfriend, Alice. Their illness is investigated by Dr. Roberta Keough, a CDC scientist and Daniels’ ex-wife. Jimbo, Alice, and Rudy die, but Keough determines that no one else in Boston was infected.
A hospital technician in Cedar Creek is infected when he accidentally breaks the vial of Rudy’s blood. The virus quickly mutates into a strain capable of spreading like influenza, becoming airborne and causing a number of people to be infected in a movie theater. Daniels flies to Cedar Creek against Ford’s orders, joining Keough’s team with Schuler and Salt. As they begin a search for the monkey, the Army quarantines the town and imposes martial law. Schuler is infected when his suit tears, and Keough accidentally sticks herself with a contaminated needle while treating him.
When Ford provides an experimental serum which cures the original strain, Daniels realizes that he was aware of the virus before the outbreak. Daniels learns about Operation Clean Sweep, a plan for the military to contain the virus by bombing Cedar Creek, incinerating the town and its residents, ostensibly to prevent Motaba’s expansion to pandemic proportions. However, McClintock, now a major general, plans to use the operation to conceal the virus’s existence so it can be preserved for use as a biological weapon.
To prevent Daniels from finding a cure, McClintock orders him arrested for carrying the virus. Daniels escapes, and he and Salt fly a helicopter to the ship at sea which carried Betsy. Daniels obtains a picture of Betsy and releases it to the media; a Palisades resident, Mrs. Jeffries, realizes that her daughter Kate has been playing with Betsy in their yard and calls the CDC. Daniels and Salt arrive at the Jeffries’ house, and Salt tranquilizes Betsy after Kate coaxes her out of hiding in the woods nearby. When he learns from Daniels about Betsy’s capture, Ford delays the bombing.
On their return flight, Daniels and Salt are chased by McClintock in another helicopter, and Salt fires two rockets into the trees to deceive him into thinking that they crashed. Once back in Cedar Creek, Salt mixes Betsy’s antibodies with Ford’s serum to create an antiserum; although Schuler has died, they save Keough. McClintock returns to base and resumes Operation Clean Sweep, refusing to listen to Ford. Daniels and Salt fly their helicopter directly into the path of the bomber’s approach to its target. With Ford’s help, Daniels persuades the bomber’s flight crew to detonate the bomb over water and spare the town. Before McClintock can order another bombing, Ford relieves him of command and orders his arrest. Daniels and Keough reconcile, and Cedar Creek’s residents are cured.
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