Up 12,129 this week

Threshold (1981)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi  -  21 January 1983 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 295 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

The celebrated heart surgeon Dr. Vrain supports the research of the offbeat scientist Aldo Gehring, who is inventing an artificial heart. Dr. Vrain performs the first artificial human heart... See full summary »



0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 8566 titles
created 25 Mar 2013
list image
a list of 838 titles
created 09 Oct 2013
a list of 262 titles
created 7 months ago
a list of 134 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 1161 titles
created 3 weeks ago

Related Items

Search for "Threshold" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Threshold (1981)

Threshold (1981) on IMDb 6.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Threshold.
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Fire-and-brimstone preacher sees Satan everywhere, trains gullible young boy to "detect" evil, and the two of them commit several murders in the name of Jesus. Based on a true story.

Director: Ralph L. Thomas
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Chad Lowe, Mia Sara
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Story of an underground newspaper in Boston about to be taken over by big business.

Director: Joan Micklin Silver
Stars: John Heard, Lindsay Crouse, Jeff Goldblum
Mister Frost (1990)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Frost is arrested and committed for murder after he is apprehended burying his victims in the garden. However, even while under psychiatric care and tight hospital security, it becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Setbon
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Kathy Baker, Alan Bates
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A gang of thieves plan a daring bank robbery, making their escape across the rooftops of Los Angeles. The police are quickly called in, however, and only one of the robbers, Murdock, makes ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Bo Svenson, Cybill Shepherd, Mel Scott
Vibes (1988)
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Psychics hired to find lost temple...

Director: Ken Kwapis
Stars: Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Goldblum, Ramon Bieri
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A farce, Hoskins plays a photographer who specializes in religious pictures who searches for a model for Jesus. He does a favor for a friend and finds himself doing a voice track for a ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Lewin
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Jeff Goldblum, Natasha Richardson
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

It's Friday and everyone is going to the hot new disco. The Commodores are scheduled to play if Floyd shows up with the instruments and Nicole dreams of becoming a disco star. Other ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Klane
Stars: Donna Summer, Valerie Landsburg, Terri Nunn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Suzanne Somers, an environmentally concerned lawyer, was hired by Donald Sutherland to halt the construction on a breeding ground of endangered species of seals. In HD.

Director: George Bloomfield
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Suzanne Somers, Lawrence Dane
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The two least likely bank robbers in the known universe plan and execute... kind of... the ultimate heist.

Director: Noel Black
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Paul Mazursky
Gas (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  

Susan Anspach stars in this comedy as a news reporter who investigates a story about stolen milk causing milk and gas prices to rise. During the course of her investigation, other people ... See full summary »

Director: Les Rose
Stars: Susan Anspach, Howie Mandel, Sterling Hayden
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An interplanetary research team is in for unidentified flying laughs when a musician who is lost in space crash-lands aboard their ship. Even more hilariously, the ravages of deep space ... See full summary »

Director: Bob Torrance
Stars: Kyle T. Heffner, John Roarke, Deborah Benson
Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Just released from prison, a young woman arrives in town to "start a new life", but soon begins stalking a married construction worker for no apparent reason, turning his life inside out and eventually terrorizing him and his wife.

Director: Alan Rudolph
Stars: Geraldine Chaplin, Anthony Perkins, Moses Gunn


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Thomas Vrain
Edgar Fine
Sharon Acker ...
Tilla Vrain
Carol Severance
Dr. Aldo Gehring
Henry De Vici
Julie Armstrong ...
Donna Clure
Jun Asahina ...
Japanese Technician
Steve Ballantine ...
Injured Motorcyclist
Ralph Benmergui ...
Mr. Orantes' Interpreter (as Ralph Benmurgui)
Richard Blackburn ...
Dr. Cutter
Lally Cadeau ...
Anita, Vrain's Secretary
Eric Clavering ...
Old Man in Recovery
James Douglas ...
Older Doctor in X-Ray Room (as James B. Douglas)
Nancy Downey ...


The celebrated heart surgeon Dr. Vrain supports the research of the offbeat scientist Aldo Gehring, who is inventing an artificial heart. Dr. Vrain performs the first artificial human heart transplant against the advice of the Ethics Committee. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In this surgeons hands, life has a new meaning.


Drama | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 January 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A cuore aperto  »

Box Office


CAD 5,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not a disease-of-the-week tearjerker
2 April 2004 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

"Threshold" is a meticulously crafted Canadian drama with several stars in top form. There's Donald Sutherland as the heart doctor who is warm and genial, but still keeps an emotional distance from his daily activities. This is evidenced in the scene where he's talking about the miracles that he's experienced in his life, and he doesn't mention a single one of his life-saving operations. He doesn't see himself as a Superman, just an ordinary man doing his job. He has no ego or God-like persona, he's just a dedicated doctor. He is so phenomenal in this role that I would have to say it's my favorite Donald Sutherland performance, and he's given many great ones. I also thought this was one of Jeff Goldblum's best performances, right up there with "The Fly". In "Threshold", he is totally believable as a 34-year-old man who has dedicated probably every inch of free space in his mind thinking about his exhilirating project for over a decade, possibly all his life. When people scoff at his ideas with vague, juvenile arguments, he begins rambling and rambling about the specific virtues of his experiment so descriptively, passionately, sometimes euphorically that the result is often exciting, like in the incredible scene towards the end between him and the radio personality; he always totally ignores any childish comments and goes straight to the heart of the matter. It's no wonder that when his invention seems to work he is suddenly overcome with grandiosity, because he basically is his project, totally. Few people ever devote this much of their life and minds to one incredible concept like this, and as a result, he becomes carried away.

Mare Winningham is such a priceless jewel in "Threshold" as Sutherland's first artificial heart transplant. She is luminous in every one of her scenes, particularly towards the end. We feel so much sympathy for her character and only want the best for her in the end. She should have been Oscar-nominated along with Sutherland and Goldblum for this. I'll never forget how much I could truly feel her sense of loss and fear after the surgery: "I'm just not the same."

The film obviously raises the issue that many people feel Sutherland and Goldblum are "playing God", and I could be wrong, but that was kind of an impression I got from one scene right after Winningham's surgery when she's still sedated. Sutherland comes to see her and as he's watching her sleep he hears the ominous sound of a helicopter overhead, which we know is the press, but it's almost like a rumble from a God uknown, a private message to Sutherland, at least that's what I imagined his character might be thinking. I'm not sure if it signified an approval of or anger at the operation, but I would guess that in his character's mind it would have been the latter.

The film has a deceptively happy ending. Winningham seems to physically fine in the end, but as she's walking with her parents from the hospital we can see in her eyes that she's lost herself and will probably never be the same. She may in time learn to forget somewhat about her anxieties or put them aside, but it's doubtful. Then of course there's always the possibility she could die the very next day, being that the prosthetic heart is so experimental.

The film has some very beautifully lit scenes, like the first scene that we see Winningham talking to Sutherland on the street at night. It's the almost glowing background lights that make this scene so beautiful, apart from the actors; it has an ethereal feel to it.

I walked away from "Threshold" feeling that I had gained something as a human being from watching it. Not only that, I enjoyed the experience!

My rating: 10/10

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When will this come out on VHS or DVD? K1j2cat
More films like this? BERSERKERpoetry
Discuss Threshold (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: