Johnstown Flood
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Narrated by Richard Dreyfuss and directed by Mark Bussler, Johnstown Flood, tells the story of the massive flood that destroyed the town of Johnstown, PA, on May 31, 1889. Using old photos, etchings, recreated footage, and dramatic readings of first-hand accounts, this black-and-white film explores the history of the town, which, at the time of the flood, had become a major center of steel production in the U.S. Dreyfuss describes how the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, a resort for the wealthy (one of its patrons was Andrew Carnegie) allowed the dam to fall into disrepair and the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Mark Bussler's Johnstown Flood is an excellent documentary about one of the worst tragedies to occur in America during the 1800s."
‑ Chuck O'Leary,
"Story is king - if the budgetary limits are a little too obvious, we must smile and forgive, because the writing & research is excellent."
‑ Karina Montgomery, Cinerina
"It brings to life the tragic event."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"While the horrors of the tragedy automatically give it weight (after all, how can one truly rate a documentary about an event in which 2,200 people died poorly?), it did have one main flaw, which quickly got on my nerves: the re-enactments."
‑ Matt Easterbrook, Matt's Movie Reviews
"Bussler understands the purpose of telling this story in documentary form, but it's the facts themselves that should be driving the storytelling, not the other way around."
‑ David Keyes,
"Feels less like a dry History lesson than like a '50s disaster flick."
‑ Kevin N. Laforest, Montreal Film Journal
"Johnstown Flood is the kind of movie I wouldn't have minded watching in school. It concurrently educates and entertains. While it's not perfect, it's still a worthy introduction to an American tragedy."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Johnstown Flood has its weaknesses (the firsthand accounts weren't written to be recited like dialogue), but it still does a fine job of explaining why the impact of May 31, 1889 remains with us."
‑ Dan Lybarger, Kansas City Star
"Dreyfuss' voice is like a weasel rubbed against a blackboard."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"The gold standard for this kind of documentary is set by filmmaker Ken Burns. "Johnstown Flood" doesn't rise to that level, but it is an informative historical tale."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
More reviews for Johnstown Flood on Rotten Tomatoes