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Altered States (1980)

R  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Horror  |  25 December 1980 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 21,213 users  
Reviews: 127 user | 77 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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(written for the screen by) (as Sidney Aaron) , (novel)
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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:

When he heard his cry for help it wasn't human 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

Author Paddy Chayefsky disowned this movie. Even though the dialogue in the screenplay was almost verbatim from his novel he reportedly objected to the general tone of the film and the shouting of his precious words by the actors, this conflicting with director Ken Russell typical style of wanting heightened performances. Paddy Chayefsky had not seen the film before he took his name off the credits, the script being credited to "Sidney Aaron", a pseudonym for Chayefsky, the two names being Chayefsky's real first and middle names. Director Ken Russell and Chayefsky fought constantly during production, Russell maintaining that almost nothing was changed from Chayefsky's script and stating that he was "impossible to please." 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

Eddie Jessup: You saved me. You redeemed me from the pit. I was in it, Emily. I was *in* that ultimate moment of terror that is the beginning of life. It is nothing. Simple, hideous nothing. The final truth of all things is that there is no final Truth. Truth is what's transitory. It's human life that is real. I don't want to frighten you, Emily, but what I'm trying to tell you is that moment of terror is a real and living horror, living and growing within me now, and the only thing that keeps it from ...
[...]
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Connections

Spoofed in Evil Dead II (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Light My Fire
(uncredited)
Written by Robby Krieger, Jim Morrison, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek
Performed by The Doors
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User Reviews

 
Great Material, Artistically Handled
15 December 2004 | by (Northwest US) – See all my reviews

If you are a thinker now, or grew up looking up at the stars and trying to figure out how the universe could just go on and on forever, this film is for you.

If you like boundaries, and the familiar you will not understand why this film was made, or why this film was made the way it was.

Chayefsky's material is brilliant, and challenging. Russell's approach is startling; more like abstract expressionism than any kind of realism. The performances, especially by Blair Brown and William Hurt are raw and completely authentic.

From start to finish, this film is fascinating, original and consistently realized.


66 of 96 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why did I just lose 107 minutes of my life?! Silvrhelm
Would you try out the sensory deprivation tank? boognish-6
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my philsophical question! toms_lair
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Interesting Truth to Movie (Mushroom) KamatariTheScythe
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