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Altered States (1980)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 20,153 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:

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

The picture was part of a 1980s cycle of prehistoric man movies. The films included Caveman (1981), Cavegirl (1985), Hundra (1983), Iceman (1984), Ghost Warrior (1985), Missing Link (1988), Altered States (1980), Luggage of the Gods! (1983), Quest for Fire (1981) and The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986). 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: I haven't told anyone this in ten years. I'm telling you now because I think you have a right to know what kind of a nut you might be getting mixed up with here.
Emily Jessup: Arthur was right. You are a fascinating bastard.
[kisses him]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Ghostbusters (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Voile d'Orphee
by Pierre Henry
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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.


65 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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