A procedure is presented to analyse the response of concrete gravity dams due to horizontal and vertical earthquake ground motion components considering dam-water interaction and partial absorption of hydrodynamic pressure waves at the reservoir bottom into the foundation medium. The effects of reservoir bottom absorption on the hydrodynamic force on a rigid dam are examined first. The harmonic response of an idealized dam cross-section is presented for a wide range of parameters characterizing the properties of the dam, the impounded water and the foundation medium. Based on these frequency response functions the effects of dam-water interaction and of reservoir bottom absorption in the response of dams due to horizontal and vertical components of ground motion are investigated.