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Scanners (1981)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi  |  14 January 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 32,734 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 155 user | 138 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.


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3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
Robert A. Silverman ...
Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
Lee Broker ...
Security One
Mavor Moore ...
Adam Ludwig ...
Arno Crostic
Murray Cruchley ...
Programmer 1 (as Lee Murray)
Fred Doederlein ...
Dieter Tautz
Géza Kovács ...
Killer in Record Store (as Geza Kovacs)
Sonny Forbes ...
Killer in Attic (as Sony Forbes)
Jérôme Tiberghien ...
Killer in Attic (as Jerome Tiberghien)
Denis Lacroix ...
Killer in Barn


Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement. Written by Paul Reynolds <pauljr@innotts.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Their thoughts can kill! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 January 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scanners - Ihre Gedanken können töten  »

Box Office


CAD 4,100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The effect for the exploding head scene was accomplished by filling a latex head of the actor with dog food and rabbit livers, and shooting it from behind with a 12-gauge shotgun. See more »


Before the scene where Cameron is officially introduced to Kim at the apartment where all the good Scanners meet up, there is a zoom in on Darryl (Ironside) who is waiting outside. You can see Michael Ironside is standing on what is the end of the dolly tracks which is used to smoothly truck the camera in for the zoom camera move on his face. See more »


Darryl Revok: This was a test campaign used in 1947 to market a new product. The product was a drug, a tranquilizer called 'Ephemerol'. It was aimed at pregnant women. If it had worked it would have been marketed all over North America. But the campaign failed and the drug failed, because it had a side effect on the unborn children. An invisible side effect.
Cameron: It created Scanners.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll like words on the CONSEC computer monitor. See more »


Spoofed in South Park: Cartman's Incredible Gift (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Mind-Blowing Experience
19 November 2001 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Scanners is a film about a group of human mutants that are able to basically make people go mad, and finally they can make their minds actually explode. Supposedly created out of the scientific work of a scientist working on a product for pregnant women(or something like that), the scanners(as they are called) are divided into two factions. One is out to destroy all other scanners and the other works for the labs that created them. This is an intensely philosophical film filled with many thought-provoking questions and issues. Director David Cronenberg again uses the idea of the human body in an aberrated state as the focus for terror. He directs with style and suspense, and uses a lot more gore in this than most of his previous features. Don't let that keep you from seeing this film. the acting is solid all around with Stephen Lack giving a nice performance in the lead, and Michael Ironsides giving yet another chilling performance of dementia. He sure can play one sick and crazy guy! Patrick McGoohan plays the fatherly scientist with style and finesse. One of Cronenberg's best!

23 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How did Stephen Lack not win a Razzie for this? dzimny07
The exploding head... funnyguyla
is scanners on blu ray? zyggums
SHOTGUNS - the only gun CylonAgent
TERRIBLE Acting violentworld
I'm confused by the contradictions.. kkm_22
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