The Swarm

The Swarm is a 1978 American disaster film about a killer bee invasion of Texas. It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog.

The director was Irwin Allen, and the cast included Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray (in his final movie appearance), and Henry Fonda. Despite negative reviews and being a box office failure, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and retained a cult following for Jerry Goldsmith’s score to the film, its all-star cast, as well as being part of the horror film genre.


Managing the bees was a huge challenge on this film. The production went through several bee keepers before finding one who solved the problem by hiring people to clip the stingers off of the bees. This was accomplished in a refrigerated trailer, as bees are incapacitated by freezing temperatures. This operation, which went on all summer, made the bees safer for use around the cast and crew, although a few stingers were missed. But, as it turned out, some lingering venom got into the air on the sound stages and produced some allergic reactions. In addition, everyone had little yellow dots on their clothing – bee poop, probably.

The was the last film for Fred MacMurray.


Irwin Allen was so disheartened by the amount of money he lost on The Swarm (1978) that he forbade any of his employees to ever mention it again. He even cut short an interview when a question was asked about it.


Michael Caine stated in an interview that during filming he thought the little yellow spots left by the bees on his clothing was honey so he began to eat it, unaware he was eating bee poop.


When Felix is bringing flowers to Maureen, he passes by a movie theatre which is playing The Towering Inferno (1974), which was also produced by Irwin Allen.


This film is listed among The 100 Worst Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.


Note character actor José Ferrer appeared in this film as the director of a nuclear power plant as a favor to Producer/Director Irwin Allen. Ferrer did his scenes all in one morning by just walking across the Warner Bros. lot from the soundstage where he was filming The Return of Captain Nemo (1978) (TV), a CBS mini-series that he was also making for Allen. The theatrical release is known as The Amazing Captain Nemo (1978).


Filed under: Science Fiction

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