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Joe Versus the Volcano Details


Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley's first foray into the director's chair is a quirky romantic fantasy, featuring Bo Welch's signature production design. Tom Hanks plays Joe Banks, a man who hates his job, thinks the overhead fluorescent lights are making him sick, and quakes at the presence of his boorish boss Frank Watori (Dan Hedaya). He is attracted to the office secretary DeDe (Meg Ryan) but is afraid to speak to her. Then his life changes when he visits Dr. Ellison (Robert Stack). Dr. Ellison tells Joe that he has something called "a brain cloud" that is rapidly spreading throughout his brain. He will feel great, but he'll be dead within five months. Instead of being depressed at this bleak prognosis, Joe suddenly feels free. He quits his job, asks DeDe out, and is contacted by a rich millionaire named Graynamore (Lloyd Bridges). Graynamore owns an island named Waponi Woo, whose natives need to be placated. The natives require a sacrifice to their island volcano, the Big Woo, so that the island won't sink beneath the Pacific. Graynamore offers unlimited wealth to Tom in exchange for Tom's becoming the object of human sacrifice. Joe has nothing to lose, so he accepts the offer. As he heads out to the island, Joe meets Graynamore's daughters -- Angelica, a Los Angeles socialite, and Patricia, Angelica's blonde half-sister (both roles played by Ryan). Joe arrives at the island, and as he stands at the lips of the Big Woo he has to decide whether he really wants to leap into the maw of the fiery volcano. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

  • Release date:March 9, 1990


Tom Hanks
as Joe Banks
Meg Ryan
as Angelica
Meg Ryan
as Patricia
Meg Ryan
as DeDe
Lloyd Bridges
as Samuel Harvey Graynamore
Robert Stack
as Dr. Ellison
Dan Hedaya
as Mr. Frank Watori
Abe Vigoda
as Chief of the Waponis
Ossie Davis
as Marshall the Chauffeur
Barry McGovern
as Luggage Salesman
Amanda Plummer
as Dagmar
Carol Kane
as Hairdresser
David Burton
as Mike
Lala Sloatman
as Waitress
Jim Ryan
as Bellman
Jayne Haynes
as Nurse
Tony Salome
as Clerk (at The Rectal Probe Company)
Darrell Zwerling
as Underwear Salesman
Marion Dougherty
Nathan Lane
as Ben, the Waponi Advance Man
Paul Thorpe
as The (Waponi) God Woo
Jennifer Stewart
as Statue of Liberty
Jim Hudson
as Fred (Guard)


John Patrick Shanley
Teri Schwartz
John Patrick Shanley
Stephen Goldblatt
Georges Delerue
Composer (Music Score)
Ken Wannberg
Richard Halsey
Ian Bryce
Production Designer
Steven Spielberg
Executive Producer
Kathleen Kennedy
Executive Producer
Frank Marshall
Executive Producer
Cheryl Carasik
Set Designer
Colleen Atwood
Costume Designer
Marion Dougherty