Dead Calm (1989)

Australia, USA,
35mm film, Panavision (anamorphic), colour, 2.35:1Dolby SR

An Australian/American borderline horror film directed by Phillip Noyce.

Plot Summary

John and Rae Ingram set out on their yacht to help them overcome the recent death of their only child in a car accident. They happen across a sinking schooner from which they rescue the sole survivor, Hughie Warriner. John discovers a terrible secret aboard the stricken schooner and is stranded aboard the sinking vessel as the psychopathic Warriner seizes control of his yacht and begins to menace Rae…


Director: Phillip Noyce
Kennedy Miller Productions, Warner Bros.
Producers: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Doug Mitchell
Production Manager: Narelle Barsby
Production Coordinator: Fiona King
Script: Terry Hayes
Novel: Charles Williams
2nd Unit Director: George Miller
1st Assistant Directors: Charles Rotherham, Colin Fletcher, Murray Robertson, Tony Wellington
2nd Assistant Directors: Ian Astridge, John Titley
Assistant Director: Stuart Freeman
Director of Photography: Dean Semler
2nd Unit Director of Photography: Kevan Lind
Opening Sequence Director of Photography: Geoff Burton
Additional Director of Photography: Ross Berryman
Underwater Camera Operator: Ian Jones
Additional Gaffer: Lindsay Foote
Stills: Jim Sheldon
Editor: Richard Francis-Bruce
Assistant Editor: Sue Blainey
Post-Production Supervisors: Claire O'Brien, Marcus D'Arcy
Lab: Colorfilm Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia
Music: Graeme Revell
Soprano: Nicola Ferner-Waite
Contralto: Jolanta Nagajek
Sound Designer: Lee Smith
Sound Recordist: Ben Osmo
Sound Mixers: Phil Judd, Roger Savage
Assistant ADR Editor: Noelleen Westcombe
Sound Effects Editor: Julius Chan
Transfer Operator: Philip Dickson
Sound Facilities: Soundfirm Australia; Spectrum Films International
Costume Designer: Norma Moriceau
Costume Supervisor: Susan Pullen
Make Up: Noriko Watanabe
Titles: Optical and Graphic
Production Designer: Graham ‘Grace' Walker
Assistant Designer: Rob Robinson
Art Director: Kim Hilder
Scenic Artist: Ray Pedler
Financial Controller: Catherine Barber
Boat Wrangler: Pat Nash
Dog Wrangler: Laura McKinley
Safety Supervisor: Zev Eleftheriou
Opening Sequence Safety Officer: Bob Hicks
Catering: Out to Lunch
Locations: Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia; Whitsunday Passage, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Doubles: Jeff Powis, Kate Quinn
Stunt Coordinators: Glen Boswell, Glen Ruehland
Stunts: Lyddy Van Gyen, Michaele Read, Richard Boué, Tony Lynch
Casting: Liz Mullinar, Wallis Nicita

Nicole Kidman (Rae Ingram)
Sam Neill (John Ingram)
Billy Zane (Hughie Warriner)
Rod Mullinar (Russell Bellows)
Joshua Tilden (Danny)
George Shevtsov (doctor)
Michael Long (specialist doctor)
Lisa Collins, Paula Hudson-Brinkley, Sharon Cook, Malinda Rutter (Orpheus Cruise girls)

Alternative Titles

Calma de Morte – Portugal
Calma total – Spain
Calme blanc – France
Lugnt vatten – Sweden
Martw cisza – Poland
Ore 10: calma piatta – Italy
Rasvatyyni – matka pelkoon – Finland (television)
Rasvatyyni – Finland
Terror a Bordo – Brazil
Todesstille – Germany

See also
Inhumanoid (1996)
Shivers (1995)

Extracts included in
40,000 Years of Dreaming (1996)



  • cinema 15 June 1989 – reprinted reviews
  • Première August 1989 p.14 – review (by Laurent Bachet)
  • Studio August 1989 p.12 – review (by Michel Rebichon)


  • Diário de Notícias 6 October 1999 p.55 – review
  • The Times: The Eye 19-25 February 2005 p.27 – illustrated review


  • Australian Film 1978-1994 by Scott Murray (ed.) p.272-273 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.318
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.130 – credits, synopsis
  • The Highway Horror Film by Bernice M. Murphy p.28
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.721-723 – credits, synopsis, review