Twister is a 1996 American disaster film directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. It was produced by Crichton, Kathleen Kennedy, and Ian Bryce, with Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, and Gerald R. Molen serving as executive producers. The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Todd Field, and Jeremy Davies as a group of amateur but spirited storm chasers trying to deploy a tornado research device during a severe outbreak in Oklahoma. Twister was released in theaters on May 10, 1996. It is notable for being the first film to be released on DVD in the United States.


On an Oklahoma farm in 1969, young Jo Thornton, her parents, and their dog, Toby, take shelter from an F5 tornado that ultimately destroys their farm and kills Jo's father. Twenty-seven years later, Jo is a tornado-obsessed meteorologist who leads a rag-tag team of storm chasers. Jo's estranged husband, Bill Harding, an ex-storm chaser turned TV weatherman, travels to Oklahoma with his fiancée, Melissa Reeves, a therapist, to ensure that Jo signs their divorce papers. Jo had used the papers to lure Bill back and show him the realized "Dorothy", a capsule-like device containing hundreds of small weather sensors that he conceptualized. Dorothy could revolutionize tornado research and potentially provide an earlier storm-warning system, but the device must be deployed dangerously close to a tornado to work. Jo's team rushes off to chase a developing storm, failing to sign the divorce papers and forcing an intrigued Bill, with Melissa along for the ride, to follow them into the gathering storms.