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The Hand (1981)

Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Lansdale
Mara Hobel ...
Pat Corley ...
Ed Marshall ...
John Stinson ...
Richard Altman ...


Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and murder those who anger him. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It lives. It crawls. And suddenly, it kills. See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mano  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$566,736 (USA) (26 April 1981)


$2,447,576 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and released one year after its source novel, "The Lizard's Tail" by Marc Brandel, had been published in 1980. See more »


The Christmas carol "Deck The Halls" is heard on the soundtrack but the skipping record shown on the turntable is 'Fight Dirty' by the British pop band Charlie. See more »


Stella: I'm kind of old-fashioned. I like to make it in bed, okay?
See more »


Union City Blue
Performed by Blondie
See more »

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User Reviews

Surreal psycho-thriller in which Stone describes a gifted cartoonist who suffers cruel nightmares and creepy events
21 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

This is an exciting psychological thriller based on the novel by Mark Brandel "The tail of the lizard" , though was consistently underrated by most reviewers . It's a surprising flick and very intriguing whose value more remarkable is the ambiguity that its filmmaker Oliver Stone poses in this . A surreal psycho-horror pastiche in which a famous cartoonist of comics named "Jonathan Lansdale" (Michael Caine) who lives unhappily with his wife (Andrea Marcovicci) loses a hand , being severed in an unfortunate car accident that ends with his career and creates a strong tension in their marriage . Soon after , the hand is on the loose with a mind of its own . As a harrowing nightmare, the lost hand appears seeking out victims , committing atrocious murders with an obsessive revenge.

This first important Oliver Stone film contains chills , thrills , suspenseful and is quite entertaining . It's the first commercial outing in medium budget from Oliver Stone, which was not well received by the criticism at the time. . Stone's sophomore directorial shows us a dense , unique , atmospheric and surreal ambient , where the subjectivity seizes the story . There are times when the film that we question whether what we recount and we see is really the case or any other remedy used to deceive and confuse the spectator . Through the film and gradual manner the story is complicating and becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish reality from fantasy . This theme about a hand on the loose with a a mind on its own is already been seen in former films such as The Hands of Orlac (1924 by Rober Wiene , Mad Love (1934) by Karl Freund with Peter Lorre and Hands of Orlac (1960) by Edmond T Greville with Christopher Lee and Mel Ferrer . First rate acting by Michael Caine as Jon Lansdale , a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident , though Michael said in a TV interview that the only reason he did this film was to earn enough to put a down payment on a new garage he was having built .Oliver Stone initially wanted Jon Voight to play the lead role, but was turned down by him ; Christopher Walken and Dustin Hoffman also declined the role . Very good support cast formed by expert secondary actors such as Bruce McGill , Viveca Lindfords , Rosemary Murphy , among others . Furthermore , a cameo by Oliver Stone as Bum . Colorful cinematography with a right management of the camera by Baggot , as the picture packs a turbid, dark, surreal, disturbing atmosphere . Thrilling and tense musical score by the great James Horner .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Oliver Stone , though usually panned by mostly critics , nowadays is best considered .Stone returning from the Vietnam war did his first film , it was a student film entitled Last Year in Viet Nam (1971), followed by the gritty horror film Seizure (1974) for which he also wrote the screenplay. The next seven years saw him direct two films: Mad Man of Martinique (1979) and this The Hand (1981) . He also wrote many screenplays for films such as Midnight express (1978), Conan (1982), and Scarface (1983). Stone won his first Oscar for Midnight express (1978), but his fame was just beginning to show.

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