In this work, a ghost-cell immersed boundary method is proposed for the hydrodynamic response of earthquake excited dam-reservoirs. The numerical method employs a second order accurate two-step projection algorithm including compressibility effects in pressure field due to earthquake. The effects of reservoir bottom absorption are treated by introducing damping terms into the momentum equations. Hydrodynamic response of earthquake excited dam with a sloping face is simulated to demonstrate the accuracy of the present numerical method. Numerical results compared with previous numerical and analytical solutions show that the present immersed boundary method can accurately compute the hydrodynamic forces on inclined and curved dam faces including the effects of water compressibility and reservoir bottom absorption for the possibility of resonance. The proposed numerical method was shown to have significant advantages in computational time and memory usage for the hydrodynamic simulation of large dam-reservoirs with arbitrary geometries. Hydrodynamic forces on a double curvature arch dam subjected to real earthquake induced ground motion are also simulated to demonstrate the capability of the method. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.