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Characters / The Poseidon Adventure

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Tropes relevant to the characters in the 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

Reverend Frank Scott

Portrayed By: Gene Hackman

The ship's reverend. He's been reassigned to a new country in Africa to spread the word of God due to his local pastor feeling he's too unconventional with his beliefs, much to Scott's delight as he likes having the freedom to preach his way. He becomes the leader of the small group that decides to try and escape the ship.


Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo

Portrayed By: Ernest Borgnine

A police officer from New York, on his honeymoon with his new wife Linda. While brash and grumpy, he's Reverend Scott's right-hand man through most of the journey despite their occasional disagreements on the best course of action.


James Martin

Portrayed By: Red Buttons

A middle-aged haberdasher, health & fitness enthusiast, and lifelong bachelor. He forms somewhat of a relationship with the ship's singer Nonnie, encouraging her to not give up, and generally acts as the group's moral compass.

  • Ambiguously Gay: He's still a bachelor even in his middle age, is in a stereotypically gay profession, and although he develops a relationship with Nonnie, it could just as easily be interpreted as father-daughter or big brother-little sister rather than romantic.
  • Character Development: Goes from a love-shy sad sack into a competent and resourceful survivor who gets the girl in the end.
  • Nice Guy: A very decent guy.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: To Nonnie, and they both survive.
  • The Smart Guy: Given that it was his idea to try and make it to the hull in the first place.

Nonnie Parry

Portrayed By: Carol Lynley

The ship's singer. A good-natured, but somewhat weak and emotionally frail hippie chick who likely wouldn't have had the will to proceed on the journey without the encouragement of Mr. Martin.

  • Despair Event Horizon: After her brother dies, but she manages to recover thanks to Martin.
  • Fanservice: An attractive and shapely young woman wearing hot pants and go go boots.


Portrayed By: Roddy McDowall

One of the ship's many stewards. As the only crew member on the voyage to the hull, Reverend Scott refers to him frequently for help navigating through the ship, but he's not overly familiar with the bowels of the ship as he mostly works in the ballroom.

  • The Load: Subverted, despite his leg injury he never actually slows the group down.
  • Nice Guy: Friendly and courteous to everyone he meets.
  • Out of Focus: Gets the least characterization of the ten, and we learn little about him besides his job. He's also the first to die.
  • The Smart Guy: He's useful for his knowledge of the ship, though only the top half as he works mainly in the ballroom and kitchen.
  • Verbal Tic: Frequently punctuates his sentences with the word "sir", though it makes sense as he's a crew member.

Linda Rogo

Portrayed By: Stella Stevens

Mike's wife, on her honeymoon with him. She used to be a hooker on the streets of New York, but straightened her life out after meeting and falling in love with Mike, a police detective.

  • Happily Married: She and Rogo have their ups and downs but clearly love each other.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Spends a lot of the film as a bitch to everyone, including her husband, but obviously cares for him and doesn't object when Rev. Scott tells them it's time to go. She also looks sad when she sees Manny holding his dead wife, who she had earlier insulted about her weight.
  • Sacrificial Lion: She's the third person in the group to die.

Belle Rosen

Portrayed By: Shelley Winters

An older woman traveling with her husband, Manny, to Israel to meet their grandson for the first time. She was a champion swimmer in her youth, but is now fairly overweight and worried about being a burden to the group.

  • Fat and Skinny: With her husband.
  • Formerly Fit: She used to be a champion swimmer, but she's put on quite a few pounds since then. That being said, unlike many examples of this trope, she actually retained her skills to a significant extent.
  • Happily Married: To Manny.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Saves Rev. Scott before succumbing to a heart attack.
  • Nice Girl: Kind and caring to everyone she meets, especially Martin and Robin.
  • Sacrificial Lion: She's the second of the group to die.

Manny Rosen

Portrayed By: Jack Albertson

A retired former business owner traveling with his wife, Belle, to Israel to meet their grandson for the first time. Whenever Belle doubts herself and her place in the group, Manny encourages her and reminds her that they're all in this together.

Susan Shelby

Portrayed By: Pamela Sue Martin

A teenaged girl traveling to Europe with her younger brother, Robin. Despite his occasionally obnoxious behavior, she loves her little brother and always looks out for him (while still bickering with him most of the way), and she seems to have a crush on Reverend Scott.

Robin Shelby

Portrayed By: Eric Shea

A young boy traveling to Europe with his older sister, Susan. The adults tend to ignore him due to his youth, but he has an interest in the ship and had previously been shown around by a crew member, giving him arguably the most knowledge of the ship of the entire group.

  • Bratty Half-Pint: Only towards his sister.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be a pain in the ass to his sister, but gets along with the most of the rest of the cast (sans Rogo) and even apologizes to Belle for misinterpreting a comment he made in regards to her weight (though she didn't take it personally).
  • The Smart Guy: He might know more about the ship than anyone, including Acres, and fully takes over this role after the latter's death.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: He died in the original novel.
  • Tagalong Kid: He's the youngest member of the group.

Chaplain John

Portrayed By: Arthur O'Connell

The ship's chaplain. He and Reverend Scott are friends, although they have differing views on God and faith in general; he doesn't completely subscribe to Scott's belief that God helps those who help themselves.

  • Killed Offscreen: We don't actually see his death, but considering he was there when the Ball Room flooded it's obvious he drowned.
  • Mauve Shirt: Gets sufficient enough screentime for one to think he might be a main character, but he doesn't even join the group and dies when water floods the Ball Room.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: His death clearly affects Rev. Scott.

Captain Harrison

Portrayed By: Leslie Nielsen

The captain of the SS Poseidon. He's a responsible man who wants to safely commandeer the aging ship, but he's under pressure from Mr. Linarcos, the owner of the company that owns the Poseidon, to quickly deliver the ship to its destination.

Mr. Linarcos

Portrayed By: Fred Sadoff

The owner of the Poseidon's parent company. The ship is on its final voyage, and he's losing money the longer it takes the ship to get there, so he's prodding the Captain to get the Poseidon to its final destination, despite the danger.

  • Asshole Victim: Considering the disaster could have been averted if not for his entitled arrogance, it's easy not to feel bad for him when he dies.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: He's the main antagonist for a little over the first half-hour, before dying when the wave hits the ship.
  • Karmic Death: Drowns when the wave first hits the ship.
  • Oh, Crap!: You can tell by the look on his face when he first sees the wave that he knows he fucked up.
  • Smug Snake: He has a slight smirk on his face as he's threatening to relieve Captain Harrison of command.

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