Who doesn't love to go swimming? In fact, people love swimming so much that sometimes nature brings the party to them. This is called forced swimming, a.k.a. flooding, and it's a grand old time (until the property damage is calculated). Below are five epic movie floods that left characters rummaging for their scuba gear.
"Hard Rain" (1998)
Tsunamis in Japan, Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and an epic flood in…Huntingburg, Indiana? Sure, and why not throw in a robbery to boot? Starring Christian Slater in the lead role as Tom, an armored truck driver, “Hard Rain” is a thriller that pits man against man while nature whips up a flood around them. Why does nature do this? Probably just to be a jerk. After Tom’s truck is held up by a goon squad led by Jim (Morgan Freeman), he must hide the dough and fight the bad guys amidst life-threatening floodwaters. Can someone say sink or swim?
“Northfork” is one of those movies you don’t want to watch A) under the influence of narcotics, B) if you’ve lost copious amounts of blood, or C) if you are suffering a concussion. The film is set circa 1955 in the Northfork valley of Montana, a region set to be flooded thanks to a dam that is being built nearby. Several strange characters either refuse to leave or are too ill to travel, and the film spends time exploring their lives and motivations. Much like “Titanic,” you know how the film is going to end because its true focus is on the characters more than the plot.
“Haeundae” is a South Korean flood film that not only rivals any Hollywood blockbuster but also references the real-life Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The main character Man-sik, a former lover of all things water, lost his co-worker on a fishing trip during the Indian Ocean tragedy and hasn’t been on water since. Instead, he dives into the restaurant biz and looks forward to tying the knot with his girlfriend in the near future. Man-sik's plans may need to be put on hold after facing down the gigantic tsunami speeding toward the coast at 500 miles per hour.
"Super Typhoon" (2008)
“Haeundae” focused on the impact of a mega-tsunami on the lives of individuals, but leave it to China to make a disaster flick that emphasizes the government’s ability to mitigate disaster (albeit with an emphasis on team unity). “Super Typhoon” is often billed as China’s first disaster movie, and it doesn’t disappoint. Xu, the mayor of a city on the country’s southern coast, receives word of a coming mega-storm known as “Blue Whale” that threatens to obliterate his town. Working together with the scientist who tracked the storm, Xu must protect his citizens from the imminent destruction, all the while battling memories of losing his father to a typhoon 50 years previously.
"The Johnstown Flood" (1989)
No list of flood movies would be complete without at least one reference to the Johnstown Flood of 1889. Prior to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, the Johnstown Flood constituted the biggest single-day loss of civilian life in the United States. Over 2,200 people perished when the South Fork Dam broke after a night of heavy rainfall (combined with poor upkeep), sending a monstrous wave of water that measured 60-feet high and one-half mile wide smashing into the nearby town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A century later in 1989, Charles Guggenheim filmed “The Johnstown Flood” to document the worst flooding disaster in American history. It would later win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.