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Altered States
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Altered States (1980) More at IMDbPro »

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Altered States -- 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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Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Paddy Chayefsky (written for the screen by)
Paddy Chayefsky (novel)
View company contact information for Altered States on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 December 1980 (USA) See more »
When he heard his cry for help it wasn't human See more »
A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations See more »
(192 articles)
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User Reviews:
Altered States See more (127 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

William Hurt ... Eddie Jessup

Blair Brown ... Emily Jessup

Bob Balaban ... Arthur Rosenberg

Charles Haid ... Mason Parrish

Thaao Penghlis ... Echeverria
Miguel Godreau ... Primal Man
Dori Brenner ... Sylvia Rosenberg
Peter Brandon ... Hobart
Charles White-Eagle ... The Brujo

Drew Barrymore ... Margaret Jessup
Megan Jeffers ... Grace Jessup
Jack Murdock ... Hector Orteco

Francis X. McCarthy ... Obispo (as Frank McCarthy)
Deborah Baltzell ... Schizophrenic Patient

Evan Richards ... Young Rosenberg

Hap Lawrence ... Endocrinology Fellow
John Walter Davis ... Medical Technician
Cynthia Burr ... Parrish's Girl
Susan Bredhoff ... Echeverria's Girl

John Larroquette ... X-Ray Technician

George Gaynes ... Dr. Wissenschaft
Ora Rubinstein ... Young Medical Student
Paul Larsson ... Charlie Thomas
Eric Forst ... Mingus
Adriana Shaw ... Dr. Antonini
Martin Fiscoe ... Graduate Student
Olivia Michelle ... Veronica

Directed by
Ken Russell 
Writing credits
Paddy Chayefsky (written for the screen by) (as Sidney Aaron)

Paddy Chayefsky (novel)

Produced by
Stuart Baird .... associate producer
Howard Gottfried .... producer
Daniel Melnick .... executive producer
Original Music by
John Corigliano 
Cinematography by
Jordan Cronenweth 
Film Editing by
Eric Jenkins 
Jack Harnish (uncredited)
Casting by
Howard Feuer 
Jeremy Ritzer 
Production Design by
Richard Macdonald  (as Richard McDonald)
Set Decoration by
Thomas L. Roysden  (as Thomas Roysden)
Costume Design by
Ruth Myers 
Makeup Department
Carl Fullerton .... special makeup assistant
Michael Hancock .... makeup artist
Craig Reardon .... special makeup assistant
Dick Smith .... special makeup
Dione Taylor .... hair stylist (as Dione Taylor-Demsky)
Rick Baker .... special makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
David Silver .... unit production manager (as Dave Silver)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gary Daigler .... assistant director
Peter Schindler .... second assistant director
Art Department
Gary Clark .... head paint foreman
Stan Cockerell .... assistant props
Sidney H. Greenwood .... property master (as Syd Greenwood)
Jeff Howard .... assistant art director
Joseph Hurley .... illustrator (as Joe Hurley)
Bill Iiams .... general foreman
Roger Irvin .... construction coordinator
Ronald C. Jacobs .... lead man (as Ron Jacobs)
Stephane Goulet .... property supervisor (uncredited)
William Hams .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Richard M. Kristy .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Willie D. Burton .... sound mixer (as Willie Burton)
Michael Colgan .... supervising sound editor
Laurey Condon .... assistant sound editor
Les Fresholtz .... sound re-recording mixer
Don Higgins .... sound editor
Jerry Jacobson .... adr editor
Stephen Katz .... sound consultant
Marvin E. Lewis .... boom operator (as Marvin Lewis)
Michael Minkler .... sound re-recording mixer
Arthur Piantadosi .... sound re-recording mixer
Fred Stafford .... sound editor
Colin Waddy .... sound editor
Jay Wertz .... sound editor
Robert W. Harris .... cableman (uncredited)
Special Effects by
David Domeyer .... special effects
Larry L. Fuentes .... assistant special effects (as Larry Fuentes)
Chuck Gaspar .... special effects
James Kagel .... sculptor
Jeffrey A. Wischnack .... special effects technician
Woody Omens .... director of photography: special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Robert Blalack .... special optical effects (as Robbie Blalack)
Bran Ferren .... special visual effects
Louie Schwartzberg .... time lapse photography (as Lou Schwartzberg)
Jamie Shourt .... special optical effects
Max W. Anderson .... visual effects (uncredited)
M. James Arnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Garrett Brown .... Steadicam operator
James Glennon .... camera operator
Adam Glick .... set lighting technician
Barbara Hanania .... additional assistant camera: Boston
Gary Holt .... gaffer
Johnny E. Jensen .... first assistant camera (as John Jensen)
Carey Jones .... second assistant camera
Sal Martorano .... electrician
Morgan Renard .... still photographer
Bob Rose .... key grip (as Bobby Rose)
Chris Strong .... electrician
John Burrell .... electrician (uncredited)
Carl R. Gibson Jr. .... second grip (uncredited)
Larry Lydia .... company grip (uncredited)
Walter Nichols .... best boy (uncredited)
A.J. Robicheau .... electrician (uncredited)
Eric Smith .... electrician (uncredited)
Lynn Troupe .... company grip (uncredited)
Don Whipple .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Stephen Kolzak .... additional casting (as Steve Kolzak)
Joel Thurm .... additional casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Darryl M. Athons .... costumer: men (as Darryl Athons)
Shanan Harrell .... costumer: women
Editorial Department
Cari Coughlin .... apprentice editor
Arthur W. Forney .... assistant editor
Paul Hamill .... post-production assistant: Cinema Research Corp.
Thomas Penick .... assistant editor
William J. Meshover .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
John David Earnest .... orchestrator
Donald Harris .... music editor (as Don Harris)
Pierre Henry .... music excerpt: Voile d'Orphee
Christopher Keene .... conductor
Charles Morrow .... composer: additional music
Sheldon Shkolnik .... assistant to composer
John David Earnest .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Brian L. McCarty .... music playback (uncredited)
Dan Wallin .... scoring mixer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Gina August .... driver
John M. Woodward .... transportation coordinator (as John Woodward)
Anthony Ardito .... driver: honeywagon (uncredited)
Ed Golab .... driver (uncredited)
Vern Jacobs .... driver (uncredited)
Charles Misere .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Fred Moshier .... driver (uncredited)
Ron Riner .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Scott Bartlett .... technical advisor
Richard Clark .... technical advisor
Carline Davis-Dyer .... script supervisor (as Cariline Davis-Dyer)
Jimsie Eason .... production associate
Richard Greenberg .... title designer
Christina Lear .... assistant to producer
Paul Pav .... location manager
Vivian Russell .... assistant: Mr. Russell (as Vivian Jolly)
David Sadava .... scientific advisor
Alan Shapiro .... production intern
Lee Stitch .... production secretary
Susan Tarr .... research assistant
John Cunningham Lilly .... scientific researcher (uncredited)
Bill Iiams .... general foreman (uncredited)
George Leslie .... production auditor (uncredited)
Craig Miller .... marketing consultant (uncredited)
Philip Sharpe .... effects technician (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
102 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby | 70 mm 6-Track (MegaSound encoding)

Did You Know?

Ken Russell hated Paddy Chayefsky's script, calling it ponderous, pretentious and laboured. However, he was in a situation where, if he changed so much as one word of the script, he would have been sued. He resolved this by having the actors mumble their lines, or give speeches in between mouthfuls of food or wine.See more »
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When the Brujo tells Eccheverria that he'll allow Eddie to participate in the ceremony he walks off. Although in only a matter of seconds he's far enough away that they have to run quite a distance to catch up to him to ask him some further questions, this is consistent with other literary and screen depictions of shamans having "spooky" abilities, sure-footedness and being surprisingly limber for their age. Rather than an error in continuity, this seems to be a dramatic device.See more »
[First line]
Arthur Rosenberg:The tank itself was unusual in that it was vertical, and looked like an old boiler.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil (2012) (TV)See more »
Voile d'OrpheeSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Altered States, 9 January 2006
Author: I_John_Barrymore_I from United Kingdom

Altered States is frightening, disturbing, bizarre stuff. It also has a strong heart, and the dialogue is witty and sharp.

This film creates its very real sense of horror from foreboding, often disarming musical cues, and a sense that we're on the journey with Jessup, and we don't know what's real or imagined. It rarely relies on gore, or overt "horror" sequences to affect the viewer, but still manages to be truly frightening and horrifying. Russell tones down his usual excesses, but his stamp is nevertheless all over the disturbing hallucination sequences.

It's easy to spot the strong influence this film must have had on Videodrome. It creates a similar mood.

Thoroughly recommended to anyone with a taste for intelligent horror.

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See more (127 total) »

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Why did I just lose 107 minutes of my life?! Silvrhelm
what happens at the end claudiabarcenasb2
Poor man`s Cronenberg torstein wold
Would you try out the sensory deprivation tank? boognish-6
my philsophical question! toms_lair
Hairy Monsters Satantangoandcash
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