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Poltergeist (1982) More at IMDbPro »

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Poltergeist -- Steve Freeling moves his family into a new house in development and it looks like things are going well. But as his wife and his children begin to unpack strange things start happening.
Poltergeist -- A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.


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7.4/10   94,222 votes »
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Down 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Steven Spielberg (screenplay) &
Michael Grais (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Poltergeist on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 June 1982 (USA) See more »
From a dimension beyond the living, a terror to scare you to death. See more »
A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the best horror/thrillers of the decade See more (313 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Craig T. Nelson ... Steve Freeling

JoBeth Williams ... Diane Freeling (as Jobeth Williams)

Beatrice Straight ... Dr. Lesh

Dominique Dunne ... Dana Freeling

Oliver Robins ... Robbie Freeling

Heather O'Rourke ... Carol Anne Freeling
Michael McManus ... Ben Tuthill
Virginia Kiser ... Mrs. Tuthill
Martin Casella ... Marty

Richard Lawson ... Ryan

Zelda Rubinstein ... Tangina

James Karen ... Mr. Teague
Lou Perryman ... Pugsley (as Lou Perry)
Clair E. Leucart ... Bulldozer Driver (as Clair Leucart)

Dirk Blocker ... Jeff Shaw

Allan Graf ... Sam
Joseph Walsh ... Joey (as Joseph R. Walsh)
Helen Baron ... Woman Buyer
Noel Conlon ... Husband
Robert Broyles ... Pool Worker #1

Sonny Landham ... Pool Worker #2
Jeffrey Bannister ... Implosion Man
William Vail ... Implosion Man
Craig Simmons ... Implosion Man
Phil Stone ... Football Announcer - NBC Sports (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Barry Nelson ... Actor on Television (uncredited)

Fred Rogers ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Tobe Hooper 
Writing credits
Steven Spielberg (screenplay) &
Michael Grais (screenplay) &
Mark Victor (screenplay)

Steven Spielberg (story)

Produced by
Kathleen Kennedy .... associate producer
Frank Marshall .... producer
Steven Spielberg .... producer
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
Cinematography by
Matthew F. Leonetti (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Michael Kahn 
Casting by
Jane Feinberg 
Mike Fenton 
Marci Liroff 
Production Design by
James H. Spencer 
Set Decoration by
Cheryal Kearney 
Makeup Department
Dorothy J. Pearl .... makeup (as Dottie Pearl)
Craig Reardon .... special effects makeup
Toni-Ann Walker .... hairdresser (as Toni Walker)
Production Management
Dennis E. Jones .... production manager (as Dennis Jones)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pat Kehoe .... first assistant director
Bob Roe .... second assistant director
Art Department
Michael Muscarella .... construction coordinator (as Michael L. Muscarella)
Craig Raiche .... prop master
Ed Verreaux .... production illustrator
Brent W. Bell .... carpenter (uncredited)
Martha Johnston .... set designer (uncredited)
Dick Lasley .... production illustrator (uncredited)
Scott W. Leslie .... set dresser (uncredited)
Greg Lynch .... lead man (uncredited)
William F. Matthews .... set designer (uncredited)
Joseph Perugini .... plasterer foreman (uncredited)
Benjamin Resella .... scenic designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Richard L. Anderson .... supervising sound editor
John Dunn .... sound effects editor (as John Chih Chao Dunn)
Stephen Hunter Flick .... supervising sound editor
Warren Hamilton Jr. .... dialogue editor
Alan Howarth .... special sound effects
Bonnie Koehler .... dialogue editor
Mark A. Mangini .... sound effects editor
Steve Maslow .... sound re-recording mixer
Kevin O'Connell .... sound re-recording mixer
Art Rochester .... sound mixer
John Roesch .... foley walker
Joan Rowe .... foley walker
Richard Thornton .... boom person
Bill Varney .... sound re-recording mixer
Ed Golya .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Tim Mangini .... sound editor (uncredited)
Curt Schulkey .... adr editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Jeff Jarvis .... special effects foreman
Michael Wood .... mechanical effects supervisor (as Mike Wood)
Mike Berro .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Robert Cole .... special effects hydraulic foreman (uncredited)
Thaine Morris .... pyrotechnician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
José Abel .... animator: ILM (as Jose Able)
Peter Amundson .... assistant visual effects editor: ILM
Charles Bailey .... model maker: ILM (as Charlie Bailey)
Craig Barron .... assistant matte photographer: ILM
David Berry .... optical printer operator: ILM (as Dave Berry)
Mike Bolles .... design engineer: ILM
Conrad Bonderson .... machinist: ILM
Ed Breed .... production procurer: ILM
Marty Brenneis .... electronic engineer: ILM
Kris Brown .... electronic system software: ILM
John Bruno .... animation supervisor: ILM
Conrad Buff IV .... visual effects editorial supervisor: ILM (as Conrad Buff)
Laura Buff .... production accountant: ILM (as Laura Kaysen)
Scott Caple .... assistant animator: ILM
Melissa Cargill .... electronic technician: ILM
Sean M. Casey .... model maker: ILM (as Sean Casey)
Dave Childers .... stage technician: ILM
Wade Childress .... equipment maintenance: ILM
Terry Chostner .... still photographer: ILM
Bob Chrisoulis .... optical technician: ILM
Donald Clark .... optical printer operator: ILM (as Don Clark)
Harold Cole .... stage technician: ILM
Sam Comstock .... technical animation supervisor: ILM
Jay Davis .... matte animation: ILM
Dick Dova .... stage technician: ILM
Richard Edlund .... visual effects supervision
Judy Elkins .... matte animation: ILM
John Ellis .... optical printer operator: ILM
Chrissie England .... administrative supervisor: ILM
Rick Fichter .... effects cameraman: ILM
Bob Finley III .... stage technician: ILM (as Bobby Finley III)
Pat Fitzsimmons .... stage foreman: ILM
Barbara Gallucci .... model maker: ILM
Steve Gawley .... model maker: ILM
Tim Geideman .... optical technician: ILM
Ray Gilberti .... second assistant cameraman: ILM
Ralph Gordon .... optical line-up: ILM
Milton Gray .... animator: ILM (as Milt Gray)
Mary Lou Hale .... production secretary: ILM
David Hanks .... apprentice machinist: ILM
Toby Heindel .... model maker: ILM
Robert Hill .... first assistant cameraman: ILM
Edward Hirsh .... stage technician: ILM
Renee Holt .... animation assistant supervisor: ILM
Paul Huston .... chief model maker: ILM
Jerry Jeffress .... electronic system design: ILM
Ed Jones .... optical line-up: ILM
Paula Karsh .... production procurer: ILM
James Keefer .... animation camera supervisor: ILM (as James C. Keefer)
Kim Knowlton .... matte animation: ILM
Neil Krepela .... matte photographer: ILM
Rob LaDuca .... assistant animator: ILM (as Bob DeLuca)
Kathryn Lenihan .... matte animation: ILM
Gary Leo .... electronic engineer: ILM
Michael Lessa .... key assistant: ILM (as Mike Lessa)
Ellen E. Lichtwardt .... assistant animator: ILM (as Ellen Lichtwardt)
Mike MacKenzie .... electronic engineer: ILM (as Mike Mackenzie)
Jeff Mann .... model maker: ILM
Kim Marks .... first assistant cameraman: ILM
Scott Marshall .... model maker: ILM
Cristi McCarthy .... electronic coordinator: ILM (as Christi McCarthy)
Roberto McGrath .... still photographer: ILM (as Roberto Mcgrath)
John McLeod .... stage technician: ILM (as John McCleod)
Marghi McMahon .... model maker: ILM (as Marghe McMahon)
Ted Moehnke .... supervising stage technician: ILM
Jack Mongovan .... assistant animator: ILM
Thaine Morris .... stage technician: ILM
Lisa Jean Mower .... special wardrobe: ILM
Duncan Myers .... optical technician: ILM (as Duncan Meyers)
Bill Neil .... effects cameraman: ILM
Bruce Nicholson .... optical photography supervisor: ILM
Kerry Nordquist .... still photography: ILM
Ease Owyeung .... model maker: ILM
Udo Pampel .... machinist: ILM
Michael Pangrazio .... matte painting supervisor: ILM
Paula Paulson .... special wire performance: ILM
Lorne Peterson .... modelshop supervisor
Gary Platek .... laser and cloud effects: ILM
Chris Rand .... apprentice machinist: ILM
Bruce Richardson .... model maker: ILM
Nilo Rodis-Jamero .... effects art director: ILM (as Nilo Rodis)
Pete Romano .... first assistant cameraman: ILM (as Peter Romano)
Thomas Rosseter .... optical line-up: ILM (as Tom Rosseter)
Michael Shannon .... additional matte photographer: ILM
Kathy Shine .... production secretary: ILM
Grant Smith .... model maker: ILM
Michael Smith .... equipment maintenance: ILM
Thomas G. Smith .... production supervisor: ILM (as Tom Smith)
David Sosalla .... model maker: ILM (as Dave Sosalla)
Howard Stein .... visual effects editor: ILM
Peter Stolz .... stage technician: ILM
Mitch Suskin .... visual effects coordinator
Larry Tan .... model maker: ILM
Ed Tennler .... draftsman: ILM
Marc Thorpe .... model maker: ILM
Peggy Tonkonogy .... assistant animator: ILM
Mark Vargo .... optical printer operator: ILM
Jim Veilleux .... cameraman: additional scenes: ILM
Laurie Vermont .... production coordinator: ILM
Art Vitello .... key animator: ILM
Garry Waller .... first assistant cameraman: ILM
Gene Whiteman .... equipment engineering supervisor: ILM
Bess Wiley .... electronic technician: ILM (as Bessie Wiley)
Terry Windell .... animator: ILM
Jammie Friday .... rotoscope (uncredited)
Jeannie Epper .... stunts (as Jean Epper)
Cindy Folkerson .... stunts
Dana Gendian .... stunts
Jaimi Gendian .... stunts
Bob Herron .... stunts
Beth Nufer .... stunts
Glenn Randall Jr. .... stunt coordinator
Felix Silla .... stunts
George P. Wilbur .... stunts (as George Wilbur)
Bob Yerkes .... stunts
Bobby Clark .... stunts (uncredited)
Donna Garrett .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Waters .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Mark Averill .... dolly grip
Pat Blymyer .... gaffer
Hugo Cortina .... best boy
Tommy Klines .... second assistant cameraman (as Tom Klines)
John R. Leonetti .... first assistant cameraman (as John Leonetti)
John J. Linder .... key grip (as John Linder)
Dennis Matsuda .... camera operator
Bruce McBroom .... still photographer
Bruce Hill .... ultra high speed photography (uncredited)
Albert Hood .... electrician (uncredited)
Tony Rivetti .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles DeMuth .... costumer: men
Ann Gray Lambert .... costume supervisor (as Ann Lambert)
Buffy Snyder .... costumer: ladies
Editorial Department
Albert Coleman .... assistant editor
Rick Fields .... associate editor (as R. Fields)
Mel Friedman .... assistant editor
Bob McMillian .... color timer (as Bob Mcmillian)
Brian Ralph .... negative cutter
Music Department
Kenneth Hall .... music editor (as Ken Hall)
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator
Bruce Botnick .... scoring mixer (uncredited)
Harry V. Lojewski .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Gary Hellerstein .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Richard L. Calkins .... owner: Rip
Richard L. Calkins .... trainer: Rip
Don Levy .... unit publicist
Gerald Moore .... craft service (as Jerry Moore)
Jerry Moore .... craft service
Paul Pav .... location manager
Janice Pober .... assistant: Mr. Spielberg
Christopher Reynolds .... production associate
Patty Rumph .... assistant: Mr. Marshall
Daphne Stacey .... assistant: Mr. Hooper
Marion Tumen .... script supervisor
Beverly Webb .... production coordinator
Denise Durham .... assistant: Ms. Kennedy (uncredited)
Dixie Fusillo .... production accountant (uncredited)
Randee Lynne Jensen .... substitute production coordinator (uncredited)
Kevin King .... payroll accountant (uncredited)
Theresa Shepherd .... caterer (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
114 min | USA:120 min (original cut)
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby (35 mm prints) (as Dolby Stereo) | 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Argentina:16 | Argentina:18 (cable rating) | Australia:M | Australia:PG (TV rating) | Brazil:14 | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:A (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-16 | France:16 | Germany:16 | Iceland:16 | Italy:VM14 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:PG | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (1982) | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:PG | Singapore:PG13 (re-rating) | South Korea:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:TV-MA (TV rating) | USA:PG (re-rating on appeal) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Many people believe there's a curse on the Poltergeist franchise, that may have been caused by the use of real skeletons on-set, e.g. several actors in the franchise have died, and this became the focus of The E True Hollywood Story.See more »
Continuity: When Dana looks out the window at Steven rescuing Robbie from the tree, it is raining against the window and dark. In the next shot, she runs outside to witness the tornado vanishing and the rain has stopped and it is much brighter outside.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "The X-Files: Shadows (#1.6)" (1993)See more »
The Star-Spangled BannerSee more »


Why is the Freeling home the only one affected by the hauntings and other phenomena?
What is the light?
What happened with Marty being "bitten" and him tearing his face off?
See more »
43 out of 54 people found the following review useful.
One of the best horror/thrillers of the decade, 3 March 2004
Author: Greg ( from Oakville, Ontario

In 1982, Steven Spielberg pulled off an incredible feat. In June of that year, Spielberg released two films only weeks apart that were both highly successful yet diversely different in both subject matter and their target audiences. One went on to become the highest grossing film of all-time (E.T.), the other spawned a franchise (Poltergeist).

Poltergeist had a screen credit of being directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but history has revealed that it was Spielberg's vision, editing and overall command of the shooting that was really behind the making of this extraordinary film. Poltergeist brought back the traditional haunted house genre that lay dormant and restless since The Amityville Horror in 1979. The story surrounds a family's house that has been punctured by the spirit world that seem keen on the youngest daughter of the clan – Carol Ann Freeling, played by newcomer Heather O'Rourke. At first, the family meets the strange happenings in the home with playful pleasure, but in an instant the poltergeists intentions turn against the Freelings, and their daughter is captured and taken back to the supernatural world where communication is possible only through the bedroom television.

The Freelings waste little time and soon contact a paranormal group, well over their heads, to help them rescue their daughter from the unseen captures. It becomes clearly evident however, that the group is over matched, and they call in a poltergeist expert, Tangina Barrons (played with relative enthusiasm and wit by Zelda Rubinstein) to assist with the phenomena. Tangina then leads the Freelings through the unknown, both calming their fears and eventually finding a portal that may be the key to retrieving their daughter.

Poltergeist works as both a horror and a thriller. The cast, lead by O'Rourke, Jo-Beth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Oliver Robins have real chemistry and are believable as a family unit, and unlike most horror films, they make sound judgments and know their limitations. When Carol Ann's bedroom becomes overtaken by the ghostly spirits, they lock the room and keep away rather than trying to fight something they cannot contain. And when things begin to look bleak, they call for help and look for experts in the field. This is an intelligent horror that doesn't have people running up the stairs when they should be running out the door.

Put together with a modest budget of less than $12 million, Poltergeist stretched it's dollars to provide us with an incredible array of special effects that still hold up well after 20 years of viewing. Sure, the scene where a scientist literally pulls his face off or when the bedroom is opened and we see items flying at random as if in a ghostly tornado, might be better served with CGI if made today, the effects still keep the story progressing with a sense of credibility.

Probably what keeps things so rooted in acceptability is how simplistic some of the special effects were in the larger scenes. A closet full of strobe lights are all that is required to convince us that it is a portal to another world and a fan gently blowing the hair of mother Williams' is believable as the spirit of her child flying past her. Simple plausible.

Whatever the reasons, Poltergeist works. One of the few screenplays written by Spielberg from one of his own stories, Poltergeist has all the elements that we now associate with the master director. There is a strong family unit, a child as the central character, above average production values and most notably, not one fatality in the entire film despite all the jilts and jolts. The closing scenes of chaos including a pool of skeletons (later revealed to be authentic), is pure movie magic with frantic pacing and edge of your seat suspense.

Since it's release, a lot has been made of the back stories and the curse surrounding the production of the franchise. Heather O'Rourke tragically died at a young age due to an internal infection and Dominique Dunne (who played a smaller role as her sister) was murdered the same year as the films release. The subsequent sequels have also included characters that died shortly after their films completion. Truth or fiction, lore or legend, these stories add to the mystique and mystery surrounding the film. Having knowledge of the ‘curse' makes it even scarier and gives it kind of a feeling like Naomi Watts' character must have experienced in The Ring, as if just by watching, you are contributing to the ongoing haunting.

Like most movies successful in the late 70's early 80's, there were sequels that were made with considerably higher budgets but less than stellar results (Superman III anyone?). Neither of the Poltergeist sequels or subsequent television programming could come close to capturing the essence of the original. Besides, how can you top what is now one of the most famous movie tag-lines of all time `They'rrreeee Here'?

Strong recommendation.

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Whispering voices in the TV static? rilian-95781
was that weed? codyhoskins
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15 year old daughter, underwear and no brah? Old men hitting on her lol DreadFox
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