4.5/10
384
13 user 1 critic

Sudden Terror: The Hijacking of School Bus #17 (1996)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | TV Movie 13 October 1996
A crazed lunatic takes over a school bus filled with special needs children, threatening to blow it up if his demands are not met.

Director:

Paul Schneider
Reviews

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maria Conchita Alonso ... Marta Caldwell
Marcy Walker ... Lt. Kathy Leone
Michael Paul Chan ... Harry Kee
Dennis Boutsikaris ... Frank Caldwell
Bruce Weitz ... Lt. Dominick Caroselli
Elizabeth Omilami ... Glenda Siles
Cristina Karman Cristina Karman ... Carlotta Arguello
Avis-Marie Barnes ... Detective Grantham
Brett Rice ... Detective Sims
Rus Blackwell ... Sergeant Gentry
Jim R. Coleman ... Officer Reynolds (as Jim Coleman)
John Archie John Archie ... Dispatcher
Emiliano Díez ... Eduardo Sanchez
Leesa Castaneda ... Juanita Sanchez
Mark Conlon Mark Conlon ... Pastor
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Andie Norman (Kim Wayans) is a young publisher who gets a chance to remake a dry-text on "assertive communication skills" into a best selling book to be titled 'Talking About Sex'. Andie's ... See full summary »

Director: Aaron Speiser
Stars: Kim Wayans, Daniel Beer, Daria Lynn
Blackheart (1998)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Ray and Annette are a couple who scam, lie and seduce to get wealth from unspecting wealthy people.

Director: Dominic Shiach
Stars: Richard Grieco, Christopher Plummer, Fiona Loewi
Exposé (1998)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Jason Davis is a reporter who gets an anonymous tip that turns him into an eyewitness to a judge's murder.

Director: Daphna Edwards
Stars: Karina Lombard, Maria Conchita Alonso, Damian Chapa
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Secret Service agents must retrieve the briefcase allowing the President control of America's nuclear arsenal before massive destruction ensues.

Director: John Terlesky
Stars: Roy Scheider, Patrick Muldoon, Maria Conchita Alonso
DNA (Video 1996)
Action | Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

A mad scientist's DNA experiment on the bones of a mysterious jungle creature brings the carnivorous beast that resembles the Predator to life, and only his former assistant Ash Mattley and CIA operative Claire Sommers can stop it.

Director: William Mesa
Stars: Mark Dacascos, Jürgen Prochnow, Robin McKee
Hot Resort (1985)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

Young guys on the make get a job at a resort hotel in the Caribbean.

Director: John Robins
Stars: Tom Parsekian, Michael Berz, Bronson Pinchot
Midnight's Child (TV Movie 1992)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Kate and her artist husband are busy working parents. Everything seems to be going fine, going about their daily lives. Then, Anna, the Swedish nanny that Kate hired to care for their ... See full summary »

Director: Colin Bucksey
Stars: Marcy Walker, Cotter Smith, Olivia d'Abo
Santa Barbara (1984–1993)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In Santa Barbara, California, the fascinating and tumultuous life of the rich Capwells around who gravitate other families, from the Lockridges, the rival family, to the Andrades or the ... See full summary »

Stars: A Martinez, Marcy Walker, Nancy Lee Grahn
McBain (1991)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Santos attempts to lead a people's revolt in Colombia to overthrow the oppressive El Presidente. When his revolt fails and he is killed, his sister Christina goes to New York to find McBain... See full summary »

Director: James Glickenhaus
Stars: Christopher Walken, Maria Conchita Alonso, Michael Joseph DeSare
Matewan (1987)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell
Colors (1988)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director: Dennis Hopper
Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso
Edit

Storyline

A crazed lunatic takes over a school bus filled with special needs children, threatening to blow it up if his demands are not met.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

And you thought "Speed" couldn't really happen... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Brett Rice and Rus Blackwell would later appear in Recount (2008), another TV movie based on a real story. See more »

User Reviews

 
A profoundly symbolic film (not)
29 December 1998 | by weltonbSee all my reviews

Occasionally, one is blessed with the opportunity to witness a legendary event, some freak of circumstance and Providence that will live on in one's memory long after the dross of day to day life has faded into blackness. The October 1996 world premiere of SUDDEN TERROR was just such an event.

This film was finely constructed, with profound philosophical underpinnings. Maria Conchita Alonso plays a bus driver whose charges consist of a handful of "special" children. The film quickly establishes her deep, abiding concern and outright love for these children, through a series of broad strokes in the form of conversational breakfast sallies between her and her character's husband, played with sensitivity and majesty by Dennis Boutsikaris.

Then, without warning, comes the first surprise of the night (but by no means the last). It seems that, despite the fact that Maria obviously loves children and desperately wants one, she is unable to have one!

Without a pause to let the audience recover from this staggering revelation, the film's pace picks up even more. After a brilliant and tantalizingly brief interlude at the bus company (spiced by the salty humor which in other films seemed so cliched, but here radiates energy like fissionable material), we see Maria and her aide going to get her passengers. Her fierce caring is evident in every gesture and word as she straps each child into his/her seat, and then sits beside the newest addition, playfully chatting with both the child and parent. While, of course, in reality such attention to each child would result in a bus trip of several hours duration, we are caught up in the aura of warmth and love so carefully established.

While bathing in the glow thus created, the audience is subjected to yet another shock. A madman (who we saw briefly in a short previous scene, where he is conversing with a priest, thus quickly and efficiently establishing his insanity) gets on the bus, and lets Maria know that his bag is full of explosives, which he will set off with a detonator in his breast pocket, unless she does exactly as he tells her. When we find out that Maria's aide has diabetes, after being cruelly accused of drug abuse by the madman, pathos is thrown into the mix, sparking a conflagration on the screen.

To try to synopsize the film would be pointless, and, besides, would destroy the fun of each breathless chase and climax. However, there are other levels worth looking into here.

The film's symbolism was extremely subtle.

One of the children who is especially important in this regard is Benito. Obviously a reference to Mussolini, this child's preoccupation with progress has led him to playfully refer to the school to which he is being driven as "the moon." The film's clear delineation of the dangers posed to a peaceful fascism (Benito) by a dangerous and unregulated imperialist freedom (Michael Paul Chan's madman, complete with Napoleonic hand over left breast) is brilliant. And it is only through the careful ministrations of the patient Maria that a resolution can be reached and total calamity avoided.

In her noble efforts, Maria is aided by the brilliant maneuverings of the Dade County SWAT team, headed by Marcy Walker. Walker's characterization of the hard-bitten commander powered by a woman's heart was breathtaking in its simplicity and elegance. Using a swish of her long, blonde ponytail to punctuate her commands to her troops was a touch so authentic that one felt as though one had suddenly switched to a documentary. The realism just oozed from such riveting scenes as commander Marcy asking Maria's husband for background on Maria. She was speaking on a cellular phone from the back seat of a car packed with fellow SWATers and her negotiator, while speeding along in hot pursuit of the hijacked school bus. We cut to Maria's husband as his eyes unfocus and he looks nobly into the distance, saying, "Let me tell you a story about her..." The story he tells, heart-rending and tender, was sure to leave a tear in every eye, and even the determined SWAT commander Marcy is visibly moved, listening eagerly to what a less trained mind might regard as a rambling and inappropriate anecdote, given the fact that it is told in the midst of a harrowing chase.

But it is exactly this emphasis on the contradictions inherent in the most stressful situations that rings so true. Bruce Weitz's shattering portrayal of the negotiator shows more of this imbalance come to life, with his slow, patient delivery in crisis situations, and his surprise and dismay (and even bruised emotions) at the repeated abrupt terminations of his phone talks with the madman.

I don't have room here to do justice to the profundity of the film, nor to the philosophical paradoxes which are so adroitly weaved in and out of the story, creating a kaleidoscope of ethical warp and moral woof that, in the end, we recognize as being the reality surrounding us all.

Suffice to say, SUDDEN TERROR is a film which goes far beyond the expectations of any committed television viewer, and is a towering example of just exactly what made-for-TV movies are good for.


15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 13 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bombenterror - Todesangst im Schulbus See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed