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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   107,698 votes »
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Up 10% 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 films of all time. See more (325 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
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
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)
Carl Ramsey .... poster artist (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 .... re-recording mixer
Kevin O'Connell .... re-recording mixer
Art Rochester .... sound mixer
John Roesch .... foley walker
Joan Rowe .... foley walker
Richard Thornton .... boom person
Bill Varney .... re-recording mixer
Vanessa Theme Ament .... foley artist (uncredited)
Vanessa Theme Ament .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
Ed Golya .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Mary Jo Lang .... foley mixer (uncredited)
Tim Mangini .... sound editor (uncredited)
Morten Folmer Nielsen .... adr editor (uncredited)
Morten Folmer Nielsen .... adr recorder (uncredited)
Greg Orloff .... foley mixer (uncredited)
Curt Schulkey .... adr editor (uncredited)
Carolyn Tapp .... foley recordist (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)
Tim Stratton .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Brendan Donnison .... adr voice casting (uncredited)
Louis Elman .... adr voice casting (uncredited)
Mary Selway .... casting associate (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
Blake Jones .... colorist: home video (uncredited)
Location Management
Paul Pav .... location manager
Music Department
Kenneth Hall .... music editor (as Ken Hall)
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator
Mark Berrow .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Harry Bluestone .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Bob Bornstein .... copyist (uncredited)
Bruce Botnick .... scoring mixer (uncredited)
Tom Boyd .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Larry Bunker .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Elin Carlson .... chorus (uncredited)
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor (uncredited)
Chuck Domanico .... musician: bass (uncredited)
Bruce Dukov .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Alexander DuVoir .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Jerry Goldsmith .... conductor (uncredited)
Tommy Johnson .... musician: tuba soloist (uncredited)
Harry V. Lojewski .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Shelly Manne .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
David Newman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Brian O'Connor .... musician: french horn (uncredited)
Tom Raney .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Emil Richards .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Steve Schaeffer .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Jim Self .... musician: tuba soloist (uncredited)
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Fred Steiner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
James Thatcher .... musician: french horn (uncredited)
Don Waldrop .... musician: bass (uncredited)
James Walker .... musician: flute (uncredited)
Ken Watson .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Jerry Williams .... musician: percussion (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
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
Ian Abercrombie .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Susan Bradley .... title designer (uncredited)
Rodger Bumpass .... additional voices (uncredited)
Corey Burton .... looping voices: Craig T. Nelson (uncredited)
Denise Durham .... assistant: Ms. Kennedy (uncredited)
Dixie Fusillo .... production accountant (uncredited)
Gary A. Hecker .... voice (uncredited)
Randee Lynne Jensen .... substitute production coordinator (uncredited)
Tom Kenny .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Kevin King .... payroll accountant (uncredited)
Steve Lee .... voice (uncredited)
Theresa Shepherd .... caterer (uncredited)
Frank Welker .... adr loop group (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:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Chile:14 | Denmark:15 | Finland:K-16 | France: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-14 (TV Rating) | USA:TV-MA (TV rating) | USA:PG (re-rating on appeal) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

The first and only film produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg was an executive producer on The Money Pit(1986).See more »
Continuity: Dr. Lesh is horrified by the apparition descending the stairs in the middle of the night and she puts her hand to her mouth. In the next shot her hand is down.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:
Night of the BeastSee more »


What is 'Poltergeist' about?
I've read that this movie is cursed. What's that all about?
Why did the poltergeists want Carol Anne?
See more »
115 out of 160 people found the following review useful.
One of the best horror films of all time., 2 February 2005
Author: TruPretender from Sundance, Utah

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.


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Mother + Oldest Daughter. bab278133
Something weird happened to me while watching this movie... leiami31
Does anybody else get teary-eyed when Carol Anne ... infoed
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