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Altered States (1980)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 19,974 users  
Reviews: 124 user | 74 critic

A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

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Title: Altered States (1980)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Miguel Godreau ...
Primal Man
Dori Brenner ...
Peter Brandon ...
Charles White-Eagle ...
...
Megan Jeffers ...
Grace Jessup
Jack Murdock ...
Hector Orteco
...
Obispo (as Frank McCarthy)
Deborah Baltzell ...
Schizophrenic Patient
...
Young Rosenberg
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Storyline

It's the late 1960's. Just for a lark, graduate student Eddie Jessup, known for being unconventional, brilliant and slightly mad, conducts experiments with an isolation chamber, using himself as the subject. His experiences in the chamber cause him to hallucinate, much of the imagery being religious-based despite he not being a religious man. Seven years later, he is a respected full professor in the Harvard Medical School. Believing he has lost his edge and has fallen into an unwanted state of respectability, Eddie decides to resume his work with sensory deprivation, this time using hallucinogens, specifically untested ones used in mystical Mexican rituals, to enhance the experience of being in the isolation tank. After initial tests, he claims he entered an alternate physical and mental state. Although unbelieving of Eddie's claims, his colleagues Arthur Rosenberg and Mason Parrish, as well as Eddie's wife, Emily, who is in her own right a respected academic, are concerned for ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the basement of a university medical school Dr . Jessup floats naked in total darkness. The most terrifying experiment in the history of science is out of control... and the subject is himself See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estados alterados  »

Box Office

Gross:

$25,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (MegaSound encoding)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the few films to be released theatrically with the "Megasound" sound system format, a surround sound system which was similar to "Sensurround". "Megasound" was a movie theater sound system created by Warner Bros in the early 1980s. It was used to enhance the premiere engagements of a handful of Warner features. Theaters equipped for "Megasound" had additional speakers mounted on the left, right and rear walls of the auditorium. Selected soundtrack events with lots of low-frequency content (thuds, crashes, explosions, etc) were directed to these speakers at very high volume, creating a visceral effect intended to thrill the audience. See more »

Goofs

At one point, the character of Mason Parrish refers to the "nuc-you-lus" of a cell (as opposed to the correct "nuc-lee-us".) While it's a commonly mispronounced word, it's very unlikely that a scientist with Parrish's credentials would make that mistake on a word that they likely read, hear and use practically every day. See more »

Quotes

Emily Jessup: [crying] He doesn't love me. He never loved me. I was never real to him. Nothing in the human experience is real to him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smallville: Spirit (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Voile d'Orphee
by Pierre Henry
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User Reviews

Altered States is a REALLY cool movie!!!
21 January 1999 | by (Stereling Hts., Michigan) – See all my reviews

If there is any reason to like a film as meaningless or pointless as this, it's that it is a "Cedar Point" of a special visual effects ride! I still haven't figured out how or why the things in Altered States happened the way they did. But I think that this is one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Who cares if the plot or characters worked or not? When you are watching the mesmerizing images and special effects (which are only slightly dated), then you will understand why this is such a great movie! I still don't know how Ken Russell got these images on film. And the very intricately constructed images fly by so fast in the quick cuts, that it's like a dream that we can barely remember. It's a dream that you can't define or put your finger on. And that is the real reason why I like this movie. I just purchased the Dolby Digital reissue on LD, and I hope more special editions of this film come soon!


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Why did I just lose 107 minutes of my life?! Silvrhelm
So much potential... snook_ocreed
Would you try out the sensory deprivation tank? boognish-6
Blair Brown and Julianne Moore (same DNA) CrowBarSpine
my philsophical question! toms_lair
Forced Hollywood Ending? byzantym
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