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The Dead Zone (1983)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  21 October 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 41,633 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 180 user | 106 critic | 8 from

A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Bannerman
Sean Sullivan ...
Géza Kovács ...
Sonny Elliman (as Geza Kovacs)
Simon Craig ...
Peter Dvorsky ...
Julie-Ann Heathwood ...


Christopher Walken wakes from a coma due to a car accident, only to find he has lost five years of his life, and yet gained psychic powers. Foreseeing the future appears to be a 'gift' at first, but ends up causing problems... Written by Paul Reynolds <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He can see the future. But can he escape it? See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stephen King's The Dead Zone  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 6,933,078 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The poem Johnny reads in the beginning of the film is the end of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. See more »


All the lights on the tanker stay lit even though it completely detaches from the rig. See more »


[first lines]
Johnny Smith: [Johnny is reading "The Raven" to his class] And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door, and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, and the lamp light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor, and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted... nevermore.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the opening titles roll, certain parts (or "dead zones") of the screen become blocked out, until the part of the screen you can see spell out the title "The Dead Zone." See more »


Referenced in Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005) See more »


Yankee Doodle
Written by Traditional
Performed by Traditional
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dead Zone is Perfection.
11 October 2009 | by (Indianapolis, IN) – See all my reviews

At this point in his career, Stephen King had the miraculous, almost Hitchcockian ability to allow a story to proceed from the most believable of circumstances, trickle like water delicately over tiny steps which, taken alone, did not seem too out of the ordinary, and then coalesce magnificently into masterpieces that defy categorization – not horror, not science fiction, but truly something magical, if unnameable. Dead Zone is such a masterpiece.

Owing in no small part to the subtle yet compelling performance of Christopher Walken, who in the same year would star in one of my most beloved films of the genre, Brainstorm, Dead Zone may well be one of King's best. Almost certainly based to some extent on real-life psychic Peter Hurkos, Dead Zone shows the master, King, taking an already well known premise to a new and thrilling conclusion.

The theme developed here is a common one for King. An innocent victim, through no fault of his own, is thrown into a paranormal world that will lead to an ultimate test. The idea is classic literary tragedy at its best, and is represented with equal aplomb in King's contemporaneous work such as Firestarter and Christine.

Director David Cronenberg, smoking hot at the time with masterpieces of his own – Scanners and Videodrome, delivers a film that resonates perfectly with King's book, with pacing and tone that capture what was best about King in this period. King himself was experiencing his golden age, with Cujo, Firestarter, Carrie and The Shining rounding out his catalog within a few years. In other words, this is the best of the best for some people who gave us some pretty good stuff.

The supporting cast is brilliant. Martin Sheen, Tom Skerritt, Anthony Zerbe, and the lovely Brooke Adams are all exceptional. Screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, who also penned such classics as Lost Boys, Lethal Weapon 2 and 3, and the Witches of Eastwick, crafted a brilliant treatment that works absolutely perfectly from start to finish. Michael Kamen's brilliant score is but one jewel in the crown of his many achievements, and was said to be so disturbing that overhearing him practicing it gave his neighbors nightmares.

I suppose I could try to think of more ways to say it, but there is no need. It can be summed up once and for all in a single sentence. Dead Zone is perfection.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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