tv movie


Director: Noel Nosseck

Year: 1996

Plot: An accountant sent to produce an evaluation of a tornado research project, and the scientist running the project pursue tornadoes and each other.
Original Title: Tornado!
Director: Noel Nosseck
Writer: John Logan
Producer: Ted Babcock , Artie Mandelberg , Stacy Mandelberg , Robert M. Sertner , Randy Sutter , David C. Thomas , Frank von Zerneck
Type: tv movie
Year: 1996
Genres: Action, Drama
Cast: Amy Maner , Brian Zwiener , Bruce Campbell , Shannon Sturges , Ernie Hudson , L.Q. Jones , Bo Eason , Charles Homet , Carrie Boren , Aaron Izbicki , John Mansfield , Jeannie Fitzsimmons , Juli Erickson , Steve Flanagin , Mona Lee Fultz , Carmen Nogales , Shannon Woodward , David Stokey , Jode Leigh Edwards , Erica Wylie , Randy Stripling , Grant James
Runtimes: 89
Countries: United States
Languages: English
Color Info: Color
Aspect Ratio: 1.33 : 1
Sound Mix: Stereo
Original Air Date: 07 May 1996 (USA)
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 1125
Year: 1996
Akas: Chasseurs de tornades (France) , Hurakan (France) , Projet Tornado (France) , Tornado (Spain) , Tornade (Canada, French title)
Production Companies: Hallmark Entertainment , Von Zerneck-Sertner Films
Distributors: Alpha Filmes , Evergreen Entertainment , Fox Network , Image Entertainment , Mill Creek Entertainment
Synopsis: 10 miles north of Adrian, Texas, Tornado Alley. A young woman is washing dishes while her two daughters are playing a game when a news flash comes on over the radio indicating a tornado warning for two nearby counties. Not thinking anything of it because the warned area is nowhere near their home, the woman continues washing dishes. A storm suddenly hits and the woman looks out the window as it begins to rain. Seeing an unseen thing, she realizes that a tornado is heading their way, so she grabs her daughters and takes them down into the basement as the windows around the house shatter inward and the front door is blown open. The trio huddles in fear as they listen to the unseen tornado roaring above them. A little later, they emerge from their basement to find their house almost totally destroyed.Day 1: Bryon Municipal Airport, 10:28 a.m. A small plane arrives carrying a certain Samantha Callen (Shannon Sturges), an auditor from the N.A.O. Samantha is met by Dr. Branson (Ernie Hudson), the head of the local storm chasers group, and his assistant, Jake Thorne (Bruce Campbell), a meteorologist to take her to their headquarters. She tells Dr. Branson and Jake that her superiors in Washington D.C. have sent her to evaluate the funding the NAO is doing for Dr. Brandons research project and will be in town for the week. Branson tells Samantha that with the increase in global warming the result is more severe blizzards, stronger hurricanes, longer droughts and killer tornadoes.Jake and Branson drive her in Jake's Bronco truck to his ranch where his 70-year-old grandfather, Ephram, lives and where they run their storm chasing facility. They are also met by Oliver, one of Branson's helpers and graduate students who operate the Doppler radar and weather scanners. Samantha is told that they have a room for her for there is no hotel in town or one for 30 miles. Jake brings Samantha to her room where she rests for a while and changes out of her well-tailored suit to more casual and suitable Western gear.Zeena, an old family friend of Jake's, phones him from her ranch in Cliffside, 50 miles south of Bryon to report that there is no unstable activity in the area and it looks like a no-show for tornadoes today or tonight. Samantha comes down from her room to the front yard where Ephram is cooking ribs and beans on his grill for dinner. Tex, another colleague of Branson's, and his girlfriend, Mattie, arrive for the cookout and have a good time talking to an increasingly annoyed Samantha about his life and how he met Mattie. After dinner, Branson takes everyone to the barn where he shows them a new storm testing device for studying tornadoes, a small red dome dubbed PATTI. Branson explains that PATTI's job is to sit in front of the destructive path of a coming tornado and with four steel legs, anchors into the ground to study the vortex of the funnel and report everything from wind velocities to pressure in the funnel. Samantha inquires if it will work, for her bosses in Washington want her to stop funding for the project which has been running for six years now and little or no progress has been made. Jake then suggests they go to the Jimmy Jacks bar to talk more.Samantha, Jake, Branson, Oliver, Tex and Mattie sit at a table, drinking beer and shots of whisky. Jake, Branson and Oliver explain to Samantha how tornadoes are formed when Richie Cochran, an old rival of Jakes walks over. Cochran is the local TV weatherman who Jake still holds a personal grudge against ever since Jake dropped out of college to be with Branson in his work. Tex and Mattie begin to dance, while Jake brags about his ability to dance and gets an increasingly drunk Samantha to dance with him on the floor while Cochran and the rest of the group watch. A storm is heard in the distance outside the bar.Day 2: Thorne Ranch, 6:06 a.m. Samantha is awaken by the sound of Branson and some of his men unloading more weather equipment from a truck. Samantha later comes downstairs with a big hangover from drinking too many shots of whisky the other night, while Jake serves her breakfast. Brandon then calls Jake out of the kitchen to look at satellite radar pictures of the storms in the area of tornado alley. Cochran arrives at the ranch in his fancy red Corvette and asks Jake and a still hungover Samantha to join him on a trip to the place where he works.National Weather Services Building, Amarillo, Texas. Jake, Samantha and Cochran arrive where the owners of the building, Andy and Margie Ward, are giving an interview to Cochran and his TV film crew of the newest computer scanning devices used to track storms and that the storm chasing crews that track tornadoes my become obsolete in a short while. Jake grumbles as he hears Cochran sarcastically tell him that his days as a storm chaser may be numbered and Samantha reacts with indifference.Cochran gives Jake and Samantha a ride back to the ranch where he asks her out to lunch sometime, but she declines. Jake threatens Cochran to stay away from her, and Cochran responds, "get a life". Jake replies, "I've got one and I'm proud of it". Cochran then drives away.Samantha walks in the parlor where Branson and Oliver are working. Branson shows Samantha some film footage he's editing of various tornadoes and that the severity of the storms are ranked on a Fujita scale from one to five and the tornadoes rank from an F1 to an F5, from small to big. Samantha asks if they name them as they name hurricanes. Ephram walks in and says they never name "something that isn't human, for a twister is nothing but the work of the Devil." Branson explains that with PATTI they can monitor tornadoes which may come, but Ephram tells him that no computer or storm measuring device can change the course of mother nature.Highway 36: Longmont, Colorado, 40 miles northwest of Denver. Rogue weather patterns continue with a severe blizzard that strikes the area forcing some cars and a truck to give up on traveling on the road.Peck Family Farm. Samantha, Jake and Tex arrive with Mattie to meet her parents and her 10-year-old sister, Monkey. At the dinner table, when Tex starts rambling on again about Ephrams eccentricity, Monkey asks Samantha if she wants to see her tree house in the front yard and Sam willingly compiles, walking out of the dining room.A short time later, Jake walks by Monkey's tree house and Samantha climbs down to join him. As they walk Jake tells Samantha about his life and how he dropped out of college to pursue a career as a storm chaser with Branson. Samantha tells Jake about her job in Washington D.C. and how she earned the nickname, "Terminator," because of her ability to terminate funding for any projects the government feels is not worthy.Walking back to Jake's truck, Oliver radios over the CB to tell Jake about unstable weather patterns and that a tornado is imminent. Jake and Samantha drive back to the Thorne ranch where they load the storm testing device, PATTI, into another truck where Branson, Oliver and Tex get in and follow Jake and Samantha in his truck. They drive to a location in an open field where they prepare to set up PATTI, but Jake sees a break in the clouds and says that it was a false alarm. Samantha looks frustrated and increasingly impatient.Gulf of Mexico, 400 miles south of Galveston, Texas. As a possible proof of the effects of increased global warming, a strong hurricane starts and moves quickly to the coast, destroying everything in its path.Day 3: Thorne Ranch. At early morning, Branson meets Ephram who's in the garage looking at the storm testing device, PATTI. Ephram asks Branson if everything is all right with the machine, and Branson opens it and checks to make sure the monitoring bolts on the legs of the machine are firm hoping it will hold it down in the ground so the tornado wont be able to lift it out of the ground while the machine is in the tornadoes destructive path. Ephram tells Branson that working with the weather is like a checkers game; for one has to always anticipate the movements of the storm.Jake meets Samantha in her room, for she is fully dressed in her best suit and wants a ride to the nearest airport for she is going back to Washington. Jake reluctantly takes her bags into his truck and drives off with her. Samantha tells Jake that she is tired of waiting for a tornado to come by and that she may terminate funding for Branson's group right away. Jake tries to talk her out of it and to give him and Branson a few more days, but she says that her mind is made up.At the National Weather Services building, Margie tells Andy that the radar has detected a strong flow of precipitation off the Gulf Coast and is heading north toward the northern Texas panhandle.At the Bryron airport, Jake tells Samantha how he moved out to Bryon a few years ago after his grandmother died, to look after Ephran and help him get over his depression and any suicidal tenancies his grandfather has for something happened to him when he was a child involving a tornado. Then Jake's beeper goes off and he phones Margie and then tells Samantha that a tornado may occur in the area. Samantha gets up and tells him that she is willing to cancel her trip and see in on the action.Back on the road, Jake and Samantha are stopped by Branson and his group in the other truck where they have loaded PATTI in as well and plan to intercept the coming twister. Jake, Samantha and Ephram in Jake's truck, and Tex, Branson and Oliver in the other truck set off to look for a tornado.At mile marker 219 on Route 27, the group turns off the road onto a cattle path and sees the storm forming in the distance. Hail then begins, cracking the windshields of both fast-moving trucks. Jake then stops his truck, gets out and the others follow suit. The group looks in the distance and sees the huge funnel of a large F4 tornado touch down and move across the fields. Jake says that they have miscalculated that the twister should have touched down closer to them. Then the group watches to their horror as the tornado moves toward a small town standing right beside it.Roseville, Texas, 70 miles outside the Warning Zone. The residents of the town are tending their daily chores when wind starts picking up and begins knocking down some trees. The tornado sirens go off, but the residents have very little time to do anything as the huge tornado strikes the town.14 Minutes Later. Jake, Samantha, Branson, Ephram, Oliver and Tex arrive in Roseville amid the destruction and dead or injured people lying everywhere and dazed survivors looking among the ruins of the town. Jake and the group get out and help with dazed and injured people as the ambulances, fire trucks and police cars arrive on the scene.Cochran arrives with a camera crew to interview some of the survivors of the town and begins film the destruction from close up. Jake then walks over to Cochran and yells at him to get away for there are more things important than the news. Cochran sarcastically tells Jake to mind his own business for the public likes news like this and begins to criticize Jake and his friends for not giving a warning for the town. When Jake tells Cochran that he hasn't changed, and still the same cynical and shallow person that he used to know, Cochran insults Jake by calling him a loser. Jake responds by punches Cochran in the face, knocking him to the ground.Samantha is helping Branson and Tex with tending the injured people when Branson tells Samantha that he needs more time to work with his project and Samantha tells him that she will let him know. Ephram approaches Samantha and tells that when he was five-years-old, that he witnessed his mother get sucked up into a tornado and her body was never recovered. Ephram also says that he harbors a guilt secret about having survived a tornado and wishes the time will come when he will join his mother and other friends he had that were killed by tornadoes in his lifetime.Day 4, Thorne ranch, 8:28 a.m. Jake is working on the weather computers when Samantha walks in. Jake feels guilty over not realizing that the tornado was going to hit Roseville and should have foreseen it. Samantha tries to tell him that its not his fault and he couldnt have known it was going to happen.Tex and Mattie arrive at the ranch where he tells Jake that he is quitting being on the group for he and Mattie are engaged. Both Jake and Samantha are happy for both of them and wish them the best of luck. Mattie asks Samantha if she will be at their wedding, but she says that she has to go back to Washington in a few days to evaluate her report on Branson and his group.After Tex and Mattie leave, Samantha tells Jake that her department in Washington has told her a few weeks ago that they are determined to stop funding for the storm chases for the people in D.C. think Branson's work with chasing and studying tornadoes is a wasted effort. But Samantha tells Jake that what she has seen yesterday has convinced her that the storm chasers are the only line of defense against such storms and that what she feels of not terminating their project could cost her job. Then the phone rings and Samantha is sure that its her superiors calling from Washington to ask about her report.4:42 p.m. Oliver is asleep at the computer terminals, while Branson is working on PATTI in the garage, Jake is working on his truck, Ephram is in the fields, and Samantha is in her room lying on her bed, asking to herself if she did the right thing.At nightfall, Samantha meets Jake at the horse corral and talks to him about his future if he wants to be a storm chaser with Brandon. Then it begins to rain and both of them make their way to the barn where they sit on the second floor and comfort each other. Ephram stands outside in the rain and smiles as he watches Jake and Samantha embrace.Later that night, Samantha gets up and goes downstairs for a nightcap when she runs into Ephram in the living room. He serves her drink of Scotch and they have a talk about Jake and if the storm measuring machine, PATTI, will work. Samantha thinks it will, for she has told her people in Washington that she will not stop funding for Bransons project if it works. After Samantha goes back upstairs, Ephram changes some of the tornado activity on the calendar.Day 5, Amarillo, Texas. At a barber shop, Andy is getting a haircut when the Emergency Broadcast Signal comes on over the radio issuing a tornado watch for the area. Andy receives a call from Margie and races out of the barber shop to join her.At the Thorne Ranch, Zeena calls Jake from her farm and tells him of big storms approaching the area around Bryon. Branson asks if anyone has changed the storm severity marks on the calendar, and Ephram admits that he did for he feels that a big killer storm is coming to the farm, meaning that they wont have to go out to chase a tornado for a big one is approaching the farm itself.At the National Weather Services building, Andy arrives and Margie calls him into the central room where they see a huge front of precipitation moving rapidly toward their area from the south.Highway 385, 90 miles south of the Thorne Ranch. Tex and Mattie are driving on the road to Amarillo to buy her an engagement ring when a severe rainstorm hits them making the truck constantly swerve on the road due to the strong winds and rain. Mattie gets a bad feeling and asks Tex to take her home to Byron and he complies.At the Thorne ranch, Jake calls Cochran at the news station where he works to tell him that a big storm is south of Amarillo and about to shift its track to move to Bryon up north. But Cochran refuses, not wanting to give any false warning to the nearby towns, saying he doesn't trust any information from the storm chasers which are considered dismissible. Tex then radios in from his truck on the road explaining that he and Mattie are driving through a severe thunderstorm. Jake lets Cochran hear the conversation over the phone and tells him that if he doesn't give a warning for the area, he will take legal action.Back on Highway 385, Tex and Mattie's truck runs off the road and Tex suggests they should get out and take cover in case a tornado touches down. Mattie gets out, but she is blown down by the strong winds and hits her head on a rock, knocking her out. Tex grabs Mattie and drags her to a nearby ditch where he tries to rouse her and watches as his truck is literally blown away by the winds.6:51 p.m. At the Thorne ranch, sunset comes, where Jake tells Samantha about reports of tornadoes that have touched down in the area and they should set up PATTI in the field to get ready to measure a tornado if it approaches the house.Cliffside, Texas, 50 miles south of the Thorne Ranch. Seeing a large tornado touch down near her ranch, a terrified Zeena grabs her dog, some food and personal belongings, then runs into her storm cellar.At the news station, Cochran asks the station manager about going on the air to give a tornado warning for the area. But the manager refuses, saying that the storm will just pass through or go around the counties. Cochran leaves the office looking worried, wondering if Jake was right about the coming tornadoes. In a field, three tornadoes touch down and form a huge F5 tornado heading straight for Byron and the Thorne Ranch.Peck Family Farm, 25 miles south of the Thorne Ranch. Monkey is in her tree house looking at the dark sky and the lightning while Mrs. Peck is on the phone making wedding plans.At the news station, Cochran decides to go against his manager's wishes and go on air himself and warn people of the tornado.At the Peck farm, Mr. and Mrs. Peck see Cochran give the tornado warning on the TV and they quickly grab some of their belongings, rush outside, get Monkey, and take cover in their cellar. Mrs. Peck is extremely worried about Mattie, as nobody knows where she is or if she is safe, but Mr. Peck calms her down and tries to pass the time by playing a game with his wife and younger daughter. Right as Mrs. Peck calms down, the tornado arrives and the force is so strong that it blows the flimsy door to their cellar away and all three are presumably killed.Downtown Byron, 11 miles south of the Thorne Ranch. Tornado sirens in the town begin going off and many people scurry around trying to find any shelter as the winds from the tornado tear through town.At the Thorne Ranch itself, Branson, Jake and Ephram are helping place PATTI into the ground when one of the legs on the machine breaks. Oliver then runs out of the house after the power goes off and says that they all should head for the storm shelter. As the emergency lights to the farm come on, Oliver, Samantha, Jake and Ephram run to the shelter, but Branson stays beside PATTI hammering into the ground the bad leg for with all the legs not firmly into the ground, the tornado will just pick up the machine and toss it away, destroying it. Ephram goes out to help Branson and Jake and Samantha follow him to get both of them back into the shelter as the tornado hits the farm, blowing everything away in its path.Ephram then stands looking at the dark twister moving slowly along the field, while Jake tries to get Branson to come down into the shelter, but Branson is determined to hammer the leg of PATTI into the ground. Then flying debris hit both Ephram and Branson, knocking them down. Oliver helps drag Branson into the storm shelter while Samantha and Jake tend to Ephram.... then the winds stop and they realize that they are in the core of the funnel itself.Jake yells that they should get into the storm shelter before the other side of the tornado hits. While Jake takes Samantha down into the shelter, Ephram grabs the hammer and beings hammering at the leg of the machine. He yells to Jake that he must do this for it has been his destiny since he was a kid. Jake reluctantly leaves Ephram as he and Samantha run into the shelter. Ephram hammers at the leg as the other side of the F5 tornado hits the house and blows everything away, including Ephram, but the machine remains in the ground and is working.National Weather Services building, 45 minutes later. At dawn, Margie and Andy begin to look among their staff for post-mortem reports from the areas that where it hard by the tornadoes.At the Peck farm, Mr. and Mrs. Peck and Monkey, having miraculously survived the night, emerge from what is left of their cellar as a police car arrives at their damaged farm bringing Tex and Mattie, reuniting the family.At Zeena's farm, she and her dog emerge from the cellar and she is relieved to find that, despite the debris everywhere, her ranch is still standing.At a local cemetery a few days later, Ephram's funeral is being held where Jake, Samantha, Tex, Mattie, Branson, and Oliver are in attendance. Afterward, Cochran comes by to offer his condolences to Jake and he willingly accepts. Branson also says that Ephram did not die in vain for the information that PATTI got from the tornado will now be useful to help study more about tornadoes and how they work and wants Jake to work with him when he opens his new lab with more grant money that Samantha has promised. Jake and Samantha walk with everyone else out of the cemetery where she tells him that she is happy for him and hopes that they will keep in touch when she returns to Washington. Jake replies that he hopes he will.
Cinematographer: Paul Maibaum
Producer: Ted Babcock , Artie Mandelberg , Stacy Mandelberg , Robert M. Sertner , Randy Sutter , David C. Thomas , Frank von Zerneck
Production Manager: David C. Thomas
Certificates: Australia:M , Singapore:PG , United Kingdom:PG , United States:PG
Composer: Garry Schyman
Editor: David Codron , Robert Florio
Editorial Department: Susanne Gervay
Sound Crew: Wayne Bell , William Freesh , G. Michael Graham , Dennis Sager , Dean St. John
Visual Effects: Bill Kent , Michael Morreale , Andrew Mumford , Bill Romeo
Music Department: Terri Fricon , Susan Mick
Miscellaneous Crew: L. Chip Crosby Jr. , Darce Florio , Simon Holden , Mary Powers , Anita Razzano , Leigh Davis , Steve Sawhill
Other Companies: Echo Sound Services , Film Finances , Frank & Bob Films II , Hollywood Digital , Kavouras Inc. , Panavision
Costume Designer: Robert M. Moore
Make Up: Catherine Conrad , David Syner
Assistant Director: George Fortmuller , Artie Mandelberg , Joth Riggs , Brian Steward
Art Department: Robert Janecka , Jennifer Bristol , Jack Colmenero , John Parker
Camera and Electrical Department: Dennis Clay , Eyal Gordin , Neil Holcomb , Sean Devine , Ralph Watson , Thom Willey
Set Decoration: Tad Smalley
Costume Department: Laura Moore
Production Design: Seven L. Nielsen
Special Effects: Anthony Steele
Script Department: Patti Dalzell
Stunt Performer: Russell Towery , Jim Henry
Location Management: Ken Lewin
Number of Seasons: Terry R. Owens
Seasons: Susan Glicksman , Fern Orenstein
Casting Department: Holly Pergola
Special Effects Companies: Hollywood Digital