Deluge (1933)

Deluge is a 1933 American apocalyptic science fiction film, directed by Felix E. Feist and released by RKO Radio Pictures.

The film is very loosely based on the 1928 novel of the same name by S. Fowler Wright, with the setting changed from the United Kingdom to the United States. It follows a small group of survivors after a series of unexplained natural disasters erupt around the world and destroy human civilization, including a massive tsunami which inundates New York City.


Scientists discover that a violent storm is heading toward New York City and begin the warning process throughout the city. They believe that something is wrong with the natural barometer patterns and that an unprecedented event is imminent. A sudden eclipse of the sun verifies their notions and it seems that global destruction is near. Telegraphs from Rome and London explain days of unending earthquakes and state “The End of the World is at Hand.” Tremendous earthquakes hit the Pacific Coast, killing millions, and it is reported that the entire western coast of the US has been demolished. The earthquakes have also caused major tsunamis in the oceans and disaster is just moments away.

Martin Webster (Sidney Blackmer) and his wife Helen (Lois Wilson) prepare for the oncoming disaster by gathering their children and some essentials and head for a high rock formation to escape the floods. Martin leaves Helen and goes back to the house to get more food and clothes, but the destruction of New York begins. Buildings crumble from earthquakes and tsunami waters envelop the city. Martin returns to find his wife and daughters are nowhere to be found. In the aftermath, grief-stricken Martin builds a shelter and tries to survive on his own.

Surviving in a cabin in another part of the New York City outskirts, two men, Jepson (Fred Kohler) and Norwood (Ralf Harolde), find Claire (Peggy Shannon) unconscious and washed up on the shore. As she recovers, the men start feuding and become very possessive. When Claire realizes the situation, she becomes uncomfortable and flees across the water for safety as she is a world-class swimmer, leaving the men angry and vengeful. Jepson kills Norwood and begins to search for Claire, vowing to bring her back.

Claire washes up on another shore, where Martin finds her this time. Martin and Claire become good friends and eventually fall in love. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, survivors have gathered together to start a new civilization. Among these survivors is Martin’s wife, Helen, and their children. Tom (Matt Moore), one of the townsmen, found Helen in the aftermath, and has been taking care of her ever since. He has also fallen in love with her, but Helen is convinced that Martin is still alive.

Jepson teams up with a gang of thugs who help him find Claire and Martin and eventually trap them in a tunnel. The townspeople stumble upon the situation and save Martin and Claire and bring them back to their new found city. Once they arrive, Martin finds his children and discovers his wife is alive and well and goes to her. Claire and Tom are devastated.

After the reunion, Martin explains to Claire how he is in love with both his wife and with her and that he will not choose. Helen visits Claire and they have a painful discussion in which Claire says she will not give up Martin. However, when Claire sees Martin with his wife at the town meeting her heart breaks and she runs to the ocean. She swims away as Martin is left watching her go.


Directed by Felix E. Feist
Written by Warren B. Duff and John F. Goodrich
Based on Deluge by S. Fowler Wright
Produced by Sam Bischoff
Restored and upscaled by


Peggy Shannon as Claire
Sidney Blackmer as Martin
Lois Wilson as Helen
Matt Moore as Tom
Fred Kohler as Jepson
Ralf Harolde as Norwood
Edward Van Sloan as Prof. Carlysle
Samuel Hinds as Chief Forecaster

Original release date:
August 13, 1933

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Genres: New Arrivals, Movies, 1930's, Drama, Sci-Fi Movies, Sci-Fi, American Classics, Drama Movies, ALL Movies, Post-Apocalyptic

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