| The cast was headed up by Oscar winner Gene Hackman, in the role of the rebellious minister leading the group to safety, also in the cast are Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens and Shelley Winters.
When the movie was released in December, 1972, it was an instant hit with audiences. Some critics dismissed its "Grand Hotel" soap opera style, but most agreed it was great escapism.
The movie was nominated for 9 Oscars and won 2, including one for special effects by L.B. Abbott, who was involved with the effects in Foxs 1953 Titanic.
In the 30 plus years since its release, the movie has become a cult hit with numerous screenings around the country, stage shows, internet fan clubs, and numerous web sites. 2 remakes were released on TV and theatrically in 2005 & 2006-both failing to measure up to the original.