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Poltergeist (1982)

PG | | Horror, Thriller | 4 June 1982 (USA)
2:26 | Trailer

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A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1,884 ( 458)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Diane Freeling (as Jobeth Williams)
Mrs. Tuthill
Martin Casella ...
Lou Perryman ...
Pugsley (as Lou Perry)
Clair E. Leucart ...
Bulldozer Driver (as Clair Leucart)


A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It knows what scares you. See more »


Horror | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Juegos diabólicos  »


Box Office


$10,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,896,612, 6 June 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Was compared by all the critics to The Amityville Horror (1979), which came out three years earlier in 1979. The consensus was this was slightly better; with more solid storytelling, better special effects, and without Rod Steiger's hamfisted performance. And although both movies were big box office hits and started mini-franchises of their own, neither was considered a classic. To find a classic in the haunted house genre, most critics would point to either Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), or Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963). See more »


At the beginning of the movie the dog is roaming around the house. Just before he enters Dana's room we can see a member of the crew through the gap of the door. See more »


[first lines]
Carol Anne Freeling: Hello? What do you look like? Talk louder, I can't hear you! Hey, hello! Hello, I can't hear you! Five. Yes. Yes. I don't know. I don't know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits and the logo of the MGM lion is shown, we hear children laughing. Fans of the film have assumed that the laughing children are those who have been released from the beast and have crossed over the threshold into the next life. See more »


Referenced in Mad Cow (2008) See more »


Strings Arranged by Chris Boardman
Orchestrated by Harvey Cohen
Written, Music and Performed by Jerry Goldsmith
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Vastly overrated
9 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film is not without merits - but it certainly is no classic. It's aged badly, the characterisation is poor, and there are at least a dozen things about it that really grate, e.g.; the fact that the whole film is an excuse to use special effects; the fact that everyone blindly accepts the existence of ghosts and attributes any strange happenings to them without considering any other explanation; the cheesy horror clichés; the annoyingly sickly suburban family; the odd moral of the tale (treat those corpses with respect or else!); the American-dream-gone-wrong theme which doesn't quite work (given the fact that this is a 10 on the daft scale); and, last but not least, the fact that one of the paranormal investigators is scared half to death by the crawling meat scene; and yet ten minutes ago, he was happily documenting dozens of levitating objects flying around a bedroom.

That said, the special effects are quite good for the time, and the acting does it's best with such a daft story. At this point, you may be thinking; "this guy just doesn't like the genre". Not true; but in my opinion, effective, truly scary horror is created by the maxim "less is more" - not the more is more approach that Spielberg has employed successfully in other films, and less well here. A disappointment; go watch Ring instead for truly creepy television antics.

One last thing; it's appalling this got a PG in the US. One particularly disgusting scene involving peeling flesh is clearly unsuitable for kids, and I can imagine this giving young children nightmares, as hokey as it is. I suggest your kids should be at least twelve before you watch this with them.

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