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The Philadelphia Experiment
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Philadelphia Experiment More at IMDbPro »

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Index 57 reviews in total 

55 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Underrated, Excellent

Author: Madman-10 from United Kingdom
11 March 1999

This film is brilliant - I don't care what others think - It is your basic adventure time travel film. I think the plot is genius - When something disappears nobody thinks what's going on while it's invisible - This is what happens in the film as a ship is cloaked during world war 2 to prevent radar detection but the ship completely vanishes - while invisible 2 crew members jump overboard into one of the best time warps i've ever seen, into 1984 - I think the acting, effects and overall tension of the movie was way ahead of it's time and will remain my personal favourite film.

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48 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

I'm a sucker for a time travel movie...

Author: Lone Wolf (cbaile@msaa.com) from South Jersey
29 May 2001

I've seen every time travel movie ever made, and I must say that the Philadelphia Experiment ranks pretty high on my list of favorites. Despite the cheesy love story (almost as bad as Titanic or Pearl Harbor) the effects are pretty good and the story is cool.

The actors were fair (Nancy Allen was great, though) and the screenplay is pretty good. It's a really interesting story in itself, though. If you have any interest at all in this movie, I would strongly recommend looking for books about the actual Philadelphia Experiment. (sometimes found in collections of paranormal phenomenon) The supposed true story involves tests to camoflauge a navy ship - rendering it either invisible to radar or TRULY invisible (stories vary as to the exact intent of the experiment) apparently through the use of magnetic fields. The rumor is that the ship disappeared from the Philadelphia naval yard and TELEPORTED to a Virginia naval yard. The crew had a variety of side-effects, ranging from temporary invisibility and/or intangibility to getting phased into solid objects and getting stuck there. (a couple of people who were phased into solid objects can be seen in the movie - pretty cool!) The "true" story makes a great read and even if only a fraction of it is true, it's a pretty remarkable idea that any of it happened in reality.

The Philadelphia Experiment is an entertaining movie, but more for sci fi fans and their girlfriends rather than the average moviegoer. Stay away from the Philadelphia Experiment II, though... it's just awful.

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44 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie for a date

7/10
Author: simnia-1 from United States
15 May 2006

I first saw this film in a theater on a date, and it was an excellent choice, with science fiction for the guys, romance for the ladies, a pleasant feel throughout, and nothing too racy or too gory. I'm really surprised at all the negative comments about this film, and how it should be remade. I thought it was quite good as it was, other than in a few minor details, and I can't imagine it being remade without destroying the special moods it created.

My favorite part is the aerial scene of the orange groves and eucalyptus trees in inland California as David and Allison are driving down a rural highway, seeking out David's old friends. After all the tension in the earlier part of the film, this peaceful interlude set to pleasant music while soaring over the rolling hills is a beautiful contrast, and it becomes the high part of the film. The soothing old '40s music that David switches to on the car radio adds to the ambiance, and it becomes easy to imagine that time has stood still in this part of the country, which of course fits perfectly with the main plot. This mood is extended by David pointing out old landmarks he remembers: a church, a big old tree, and an old gas station. Then old black-and-white photographs on the wall of the gas station of David and his father bring the point home that David was telling the truth all along. It's a poignant scene as David is proud of his dad's accomplishments late in life while he simultaneously laments his father's passing. Too often nowadays films are made with "yang-on-yang" nonstop tension, action, and violence without any pleasant, relaxing high points, so I think this film was very well balanced in that way.

There are a number of other very well-done tidbits throughout the film. For example, David's question to the doctor, "Is this sort of thing possible now?", when describing time travel is something that only a bona-fide time traveler would say, and I remember the audience chuckled in delight at that perfect bit of dialog. Another gem is when David bluntly asks the transvestite in his jail cell, "What the hell are you dressed like that for?" I've known down-to-earth, practically-minded, heterosexual sailors, and that's exactly how they react to our modern era's confusing gender bending. Another gem was David flatly declaring that the water his friend Jim sees in the distance is a mirage, and then Jim ribbing David about David's mistake as they trudge through miles of water.

I thought the romance worked extremely well. Note David's defensiveness about his love life when he's in the '40s, and how standoffish his '40s girlfriend is, and then contrast that to the magnanimous personality of Allison in the '80s, who coincidentally has the same curly red hair as his '40s girlfriend--evidently the look David likes. Allison becomes the ideal version of his '40s girlfriend, and understandably becomes David's new focus in life. They make a very nice couple, I think.

There are admittedly some weak points in the film. The 2001-type vortex travel scene has some unconvincing effects, but considering they're trying to show what the fourth dimension looks like, which presumably has nothing in common with our universe, it's hard to find fault in their visualization. The glowing hands and electric arcs flying out from the arcade games and power lines are a little weak, as are people's reactions to those, and the carrying of top secret papers, and the implausible landing on a ship in a vortex, but I regard those are minor points. The modern day reaction of Jim to his old friend seems unrealistic at first until you think about it, and the explanation given about Jim's psychological problems after the experiment makes perfect sense and adds a bit of unexpected realism. In real life you can't expect to look up old friends and have everything go back to the way it used to be. Such details in the film fit together quite well, I believe.

Whether or not this movie follows the historical facts and rumors of the original Philadelphia Experiment isn't particularly important to me. What I care about is whether the film stands on its own as a piece of art, and in my opinion it definitely does. This is a film I find myself thinking about from time to time, and I like to watch it every so often. To me it's a film worth owning.

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie.

10/10
Author: drwhofan1970 from United Kingdom
3 September 2006

Got this film on DVD, and must say I fully enjoyed it. Great acting, and the story line was very good. Also I thought the special effects are very good for the date when it was done. I think the idea of a war film, with time travel, and love story is very good, and this works very well in this film. I also found the sound effects to be quite good, again for the time period it was done in. If you are into sci-fi films, then I recommend this film a lot, and I shall be watching this film again in the near future. Nancy Allen's performance is on top, such great acting. Also I enjoyed the 40's music in the film, they captured the time period very well. I am most grateful I got a copy of this film on DVD.

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33 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

The greatest bad movie I've even seen

Author: Brian Bagnall from Canada
11 May 2004

This movie seems at first like it's going to be the stuff of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's basically something bad but amusing that you can make fun of. The supporting characters and extras, especially at the beginning, are just atrocious actors. But instead, the movie transforms into something pretty awesome! The end of the world feeling throughout is great, with a vast wormhole sucking up everything around it.

But then other times it's like Dukes of Hazard, with sliding off hoods of cars and vehicles exploding after getting no more than a fender bender. The movie is out of control, careening between amazingly excellent and complete crap. It's like some wise Hollywood producer said, "Needs more action" so they stuck in the most tired, cliched action sequences you can think of: car chases and gun fights. Neither belong in this film.

There's also some implausibilities. For example, David, a guy from the Navy in 1943, inexplicably runs from the Navy of today. Why would he run from the men he should trust the most? It makes no sense. Furthermore, the Navy of today is often shooting at him with real guns! Why would they be trying to kill a man who has done nothing wrong?

Anyway, it's an enjoyable film despite the inconsistencies.

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic experiment during WWII winds up throwing two sailors into future world

6/10
Author: ma-cortes
30 November 2009

Based on an "actual event" that took place in 1943 and set during WW2 , a ¨Philadelphia experiment¨ about invisibility and involving an anti-radar goes wrong , causing an USS naval battleship -Navy Destroyer Escort- to disappear from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard , Virginia , by means of a warp time . A pair of sailors (stars Michael Pare and Bobby DiCicco) find themselves thrown into a temporary hole and sent 40 years into the future . Then they find in modern world of 1984 and a cataclysm that threatens to destroy it and change the course of history . Meanwhile , they meet a beautiful girl(costars Nancy Allen) who help them .

This is a far-fetching but acceptable story about two sailors traveling forward in time to just to discover weird incidents and save the world . Reportedly (?) based on a true events that are developed with intrigue , suspense , thrills and noisy action . Familiar but satisfying and agreeable Sci-Fi yarn . Just amusement enough to cover production gaps and some flaws . Fine special effects for that time and liking performances by the leads manage to keep this one afloat . Good support cast as Louise Latham and Stephen Tobolowsky , among others . Colorful cinematography by Dick Bush and atmospheric musical score by Wannberg. The motion picture was professionally directed by Stewart Raffill . He's an expert on adventure genre as ¨Across the Great Divide¨ , ¨Sea Gypsies¨ and science fiction as ¨Ice pirates¨ , ¨Mc and Me¨ and of course this one . It's followed by an inferior sequel titled ¨Philadelphia experiment II ¨ with Brad Johnson . Rating : Acceptable and passable fare although better viewed in big screen .

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Excellent bubble-gum science fiction.

Author: Jesus Christ (jodunn@vassar.edu) from Poughkeepsie, NY
27 December 1999

People always seem to write this off as too soft and fuzzy, poorly executed, but it is one of the most charming and fun science fiction films I have ever seen. The effects are amazing and the direction is way more expressive than you would expect. As far as science fiction goes, this is no 'Alien' or 'Solaris' and it has logical loopholes you could drive a battleship through, but it is fast paced and lots of fun to watch. Be prepared to suspend your disbelief with steel girders and rent this.

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28 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Science friction.

Author: Frank J. Raniere (sobronx-4) from Bethlehem, Pa. U.S.A.
31 August 1999

Yes, the idea is spectacular. Yes, the execution is paltry. You'd think with all the technology available and the decent story, the producers could have given us an adult film. Michael Pare' is a limited actor at best. He has a face the camera loves but is really wooden in his expressions. The director did not push him, and if he did, he didn't push hard enough. If this film were made today, there are many quality people who could fill all the characters aptly. Although I personally like Nancy Allen's look, she could expand her acting as well. I know she can act, if only a director would get inside her head and bring out her ability.

As far as the story line goes, again, it could have been handled so much better, It has a cheap made-for-TV quality to it. I hope someone makes it over. Yes, a repeat performance of the Hollywood kind would be greatly appreciated.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Despite the Paradoxes, an Enjoyable Film

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
19 December 2015

In 1943, the United States tests an anti-radar system to make the U.S. Navy ships invisible to the enemy. Dr. James Longstreet uses his experiment in the destroyer escort USS Eldridge that disappears from Philadelphia. The sailors David Herdeg (Michael Paré) and his best friend Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco) are projected to 1984, where they meet Allison Hayes (Nancy Allen). They unsuccessfully try to contact their base and out of the blue Jimmy disappears in a hospital. Allison helps David to visit Jimmy's wife Pamela, but Jimmy refuses to see him. Now David's only hope is meeting Dr. James Longstreet to learn what to do. Will he be wheel succeeded?

"The Philadelphia Experiment" is an enjoyable film with a story with paradoxes, like most of the stories about time travel. The conclusion is corny and romantic, but works well. The military team in the Jeep shooting David and Allison in their car during the persecution through the highway is ridiculous. But anyway this film is still a great entertainment after so many years. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Projeto Filadélfia" ("Philadelphia Project")

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Three Or More Questions

Author: cutterccbaxter from minneapolis, minnesota, on the planet Earth
14 May 2012

There are a lot of questions surrounding The Philadelphia Experiment. How is it that 1940s era sailors got 1980s haircuts before they even traveled forty years into the future? How could Manfred Mann perform "The Runner" without worrying that a version of himself from 1964 might suddenly appear and rip out his vocal cords for singing such a typically idiotic 1980s type song? Why is that time travelers always make it look so easy to find a love interest? How was it that after screwing up the Philadelphia Experiment, the military still has complete confidence in Dr. James Longstreet to allow him to pursue his misguided experiments for the next forty years?

My rating: 9.7 and one half stars. The Philadelphia Experiment gets an extra half star because the time travelers see punk rockers at a diner out in the Nevada desert. Also, every car chase featured a vehicle flipping over.

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