About the Movie Twister

by Scott Cornell
Actress Helen Hunt is one of the stars of the 1996 film

Actress Helen Hunt is one of the stars of the 1996 film "Twister."

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"Twister" is a 1996 action adventure film about a group of storm chasers tracking a series of intense storms across Oklahoma. The 113-minute film is rated PG-13 for intense storm sequences and some language. According to IMDb.com, the film's budget was $92 million and it grossed about $494.5 million, making it a box office success.


"Twister" follows a group of storm chasers who track a series of violent tornadoes across the state of Oklahoma, with the intention of launching "Dorothy," an innovative measuring device, into one of the funnels so that they can better understand -- and thereby better predict -- tornadoes. As the team members track tornadoes, they're competing against a rival storm-chasing team, who have their own measuring device they're planning to launch.


Actor Bill Paxton plays Bill Harding, a weatherman seeking to finalize a divorce from his wife, Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), so he can marry his current girlfriend. When Harding meets his wife with her storm-chasing team to get her to sign the divorce papers, he ends up joining them on their twister-chasing adventure. The team is rounded out by Dustin (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and "Rabbit," played by Alan Ruck. The rival storm team is headed by Dr. Jonas Miller, played by Cary Elwes.


Although "Twister" is a work of fiction made for entertainment purposes, the movie tackles some real-life tornado-related issues. For example, the measuring device the storm chasers have developed and attempt to launch into a funnel cloud, "Dorothy," is designed so that researchers can better understand tornadoes and how they develop. This would enable citizens to be given warning beyond just a few minutes to take shelter. Just a few more minutes of warning can be the difference between life and death in many cases.


Having grossed almost $500 million at the box office, "Twister" was a smash hit. It was received well by both audiences and critics. Although it offered a simple story line, it had extraordinary special effects and lots of action sequences. According to the movie ratings website Rotten Tomatoes, from a sample of 825,000 user reviews, 62 percent of audiences liked the film. Fifty-eight percent of critics gave the film positive reviews.

Photo Credits

  • Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images