Down 323 this week

Poltergeist (1982)

PG  |   |  Horror  |  4 June 1982 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 97,555 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 318 user | 213 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

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



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The Freeling family have a new house, but their troubles with supernatural forces don't seem to be over.

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O'Rourke
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
The Exorcist (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Carrie White is shy and outcast 17-year old girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, and unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates for the last time at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
Halloween (1978)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On Halloween night of 1963, 6-year old Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death. After sitting in a mental hospital for 15 years, Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to kill.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A group of camp counselors is stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child's drowning.

Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Five friends visiting their grandfather's house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
The Omen (1976)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the anti-christ? The devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
Scream (1996)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Attempting to cope with her mother's murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
The Evil Dead (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Poltergeist (2015)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements


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


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


Some things have to be believed to be seen. See more »




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:

$6,896,612 (USA) (4 June 1982)


$76,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints) (as Dolby Stereo)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When writers Michael Grais and Mark Victor first met with Steven Spielberg, they were being hired to write the film that eventually became Always (1989). When Spielberg happened to mention he also had an idea for a ghost story, Grais and Victor said they'd rather write the ghost story than Always and that's how they got this job. See more »


Early in the film, when Diane tucks the kids into bed, there is a green mylar balloon in front of the window. During the subsequent scene where Robbie covers the clown doll with the Chewbacca jacket, the balloon is in the corner behind the clown doll. Then, minutes later, when Steven takes Robbie back to his room, the balloon is back in its original position in front of the window. See more »


[first lines]
Carol Anne: 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

The initial end credits has the closing shot of the Holiday Inn as a backdrop. See more »


Referenced in Kissing Darkness (2014) See more »


The Star-Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music based on "The Anacreontic Song" by John Stafford Smith
Arranged by Arturo Toscanini
[Played as TV sign-off music several times]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the best horror films of all time.
2 February 2005 | by (Sundance, Utah) – See all my reviews

What do you get when you put Steven Spielberg, Tobe Hooper, Jerry Goldsmith, and Beatrice Straight in a big budget MGM motion picture about a haunted house? You get "Poltergeist" a top of the pick, no holds barred, roller coaster ride through the supernatural world and back to ours. "Poltergeist" explores the side affects of a haunted house and it's effects on a normal suburban family who inhabits the house.

Steve Freeling is a successful realestate agent who has a nice house and a loving wife, with a family to die for. There is the spunky, rebellious eldest daughter, as portrayed gloriously by the late Dominique Dunne, may she rest in peace. The sporty young son, and the cute, innocent youngest daughter, Carol Ann, of whom the story is based around. The Freelings' are a happy American family whose lives are turned upside down when they realize their house in 'haunted' and the 'poltergeists' kidnap the youngest member of the family. In the film that pursues, Steve and his wife Diane do everything in their power to get her back, with the aid of Dr. Lesh, played out Oscar worthy by Beatrice Straight, and her assistants. Horrors and traumas ensue.

Enough power to knock you out of your dreams for long time, this film, was said to be directed by Tobe Hooper, whom had previous fame with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But when one watches this film, it is anything but Hooper. Hooper's trademarks include hysteria and screaming by a young female in the finale of his films(remember 'Eaten Alive?') and have no real substance or depth in their plots, what you see is what you get. Whereas this film, said to be produced by Spielberg, was so obviously directed(on the side anyway)by also, as his trade marks include psychological P.O.V. shots(Diane Freeling in the hallway scene) and wide range of character development(all characters except for Dana are developed to fruition, but Dunne does such a great job as Dana that you can't really tell.)There was even controversy over who directed the film, and still stands so today, although Spielberg came forward a little after the film was released, and exposed himself as only producer and assistant to the director, still, rumor is still hovering over the memory of the production.

The music to the film is superb, with Goldsmith clearly at one of his best moments, nominated but did not win, although he should have. His theme for the Freelings' is a calm, gentle one that compliments his theme for Carol Ann, which is quite possibly one of the prettiest themes he ever concocted. His score for the ghosts consists of structured, spiritual themes and rough orchestral brass woodwind, accompanied by a grand chorus. All other themes he came up with were just as stand out-ish as the above mentioned.

The acting is top notch, by conflicted Steve Freeling, who is so confused he self destructs into a pale maelstrom in his mind, and Diane, the mother and star of the film, Jobeth Williams is at her finest as she deals with the stress of trying to find her daughter, and keeping her family afloat amidst the chaos. The children are all really good under Hooper's(Spielberg's?) direction, particularly Dominique Dunne, who shines through in all scenes she is in, even though her character has got to be the most underdeveloped! Robbie is fun to watch, as all little boys will be boys. And who could forget the cute Carol-Ann...They're Heeeeere! Enough said. But my personal favorite was the late Beatrice Straight, as the sympathetic Dr. Lesh, who with every facial expression, the audience can see what exactly she is thinking, about to say, and still manages to surprise the audience with her spontaneous acting skill. The supporting cast are just as great.

Special effects make this even more of a thrill ride of the ages, as Industrial Light and Magic was first starting out, and makes this one of the biggest special effects fest of cinema. Nominations for those also.

So in full circle, this family, this film, the most extraordinary horror film of the eighties, still has the power to ring every chill out of it's script, while still managing to keep the audience calm with it's realism, and relief.

And about the curse that is said to follow the series' past, all just tragedies and coincidence.

May Dominique Dunne, Beatrice Straight, Heather O' Rourke, Jerry Goldsmith, all rest in peace.


113 of 155 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
15 year old daughter, underwear and no brah? Old men hitting on her lol DreadFox
Does the ending cemetery reveal make sense? Domzer
What happened to the dog? tapio_hietamaki
Whispering voices in the TV static? rilian-95781
Anyone seen the remake? detataandrea
Twilight Zone "Little Lost Girl" 1962 original idea for Poltergeist? teresah233
Discuss Poltergeist (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: