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The Ninth Configuration (1980)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,180 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 29 critic

A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S. Army soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Ninth Configuration (1980)

The Ninth Configuration (1980) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Lt. Frankie Reno
Ed Flanders ...
...
Maj. Marvin Groper
...
Capt. Fairbanks
...
Maj. Nammack
...
Lt. Bennish
Joe Spinell ...
Lt. Spinell
Alejandro Rey ...
Lt. Gomez
...
Sgt. Krebs
Steve Sandor ...
1st Cyclist (Stanley)
...
2nd Cyclist (Richard)
Gordon Mark ...
Sgt. Gilman
...
Highway Patrolman
Edit

Storyline

A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S. Army soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combating his own long-suppressed insanity. Written by Matt Patay

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Killer Cane Cure...It's unorthodox, unauthorized - but always effective! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ninth Configuration  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-issue) | (combined extended) | (1982)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joe Spinell's character of 'Spinell', a patient at the castle-hospital, was not in the novel or original script. Spinell had begged to writer-director William Peter Blatty, a close friend of his, to cast him in a small role as the sidekick to Jason Miller's character of Lt. Reno. Since there was no part for Spinell in the movie, his character was given the same last name. Nearly all of Spinell's dialogue was ad-libbed. See more »

Quotes

Captain Cutshaw: I tried, Sir, see the stars... so cold... so far... and so very lonely. Oh so lonely. All that space. Just empty... space. And so far from home. I've circled round and round this house... orbit... after orbit. Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like, never to stop. And circle lone up there, forever. And what if I got there. Got to the moon. And couldn't get back. Sure... everyone dies... but I'm afraid to die alone, so far from home. And if there's no god, then that's really... really... alone.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
Written by Al Neiburg, Doc Dougherty and Ellis Reynolds
See more »

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User Reviews

 
New psychiatrist takes over an asylum for disturbed military men.
18 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A brilliant and unconventional film. As I'm sure many others have said it is very difficult to describe or sum up accurately. It has so many seemingly incongruous elements yet amazingly in the end it ties them all together and packs an emotional punch very few films manage.

Basically it's about how a new lead psychiatrist arrives at an asylum maintained by the military. It is loaded with stunning scenes, images, symbolism, scares and emotionally devastating moments and it leaves me both uplifted and sad yet so intellectually stimulated I want to discuss it because there is a LOT to talk about once it's over.

It also has some brutal violence and the nastiest bar fight ever filmed.

Stacey Keach plays the role of Kane perfectly, he shows no outward humor but is not humorless himself. He is clearly dedicated to helping the inmates in any way he can using every means at his disposal and wisely the character is not played as being detached and totally unemotional. When Kane (Keach) gets annoyed, enthusiastic or is dealing with a difficult issue he doesn't simply deadpan it he communicates what is happening within the character despite the constraints needed for the role. Brilliant work.

Where his treatments lead the inmates (and where it leads Kane himself) is the core of the film and the whole thing is actually about all of us and how we can reconcile faith, science and the horrors of existence. Faith can mean many different things...

There are multiple edits available but the major aspect that changes is related to one brief scene involving a knife and a bit a dialog. It's worth mentioning because it does change the tone for many viewers depending on the version they see.

The Ninth Configuration is a treasure, a sadly overlooked and misunderstood film.


22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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