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D.O.A. (1988)

R  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  18 March 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 7,711 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 30 critic

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds... See full summary »


(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Fitzwaring
Gail Cornell
Robin Johnson ...
Cookie Fitzwaring
Nicholas Lang (as Rob Knepper)
Graham Corey
Detective Ulmer
Jack Kehoe ...
Detective Brockton
Elaine Wells
Karen Radcliffe ...
Jane Corey
William Forward ...
Chief Resident
Lee Gideon ...
Mr. Fitzwaring


Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds help and comfort from one of his student, Sydney Fuller. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Someone poisoned Dexter Cornell. He's got to find out who. He's got to find out why. He's got to find out now. In 24 hours, he'll be Dead On Arrival.


Mystery | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead on Arrival  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,706,478 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(some sequences)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


D.O.A. stands for "dead on arrival". See more »


Dexter suddenly gains glasses when he first asks Sydney to join him for a date. See more »


Dexter Cornell: So, who you gonna kill for your next novel?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Touchstone Logo is in black & white and the logo's flash is accompanied by a thunder clap. See more »


References Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) See more »


Written by Billy Idol & Steve Stevens
Performed by Billy Idol
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic Sleeper Film.
5 April 2002 | by (Oldham, Gtr Manchester, England.) – See all my reviews

"D.O.A" is an involving and entertaining little picture from start to finish. Dennis Quaid is at his caustic best; and Quaid is sadly one of the most underused talents in Hollywood. His then beau Meg Ryan also appears with him, but as is usually the case, doesn't really make much of an impact.

The film is stylishly directed throughout, drawing on a number of influences to capture its 'seamy' feel. Would you credit that it's actually directed by two people? The answer is no. The whole thing is superbly slick, from its innovative camerawork to its unabashed use of black and white photography. All these elements help to keep proceedings fresh.

Really the greatest thrill here is to be had with the dialogue, it's snappy yet intricate, doesn't waste a word and yet still manages to be entertaining. The screenplay for this is like a pocket work of art.

This went unnoticed by me for ages before I finally caught it late at night. If this is the first you've heard about it, don't leave it like I did! Catch it soon, it really is top-notch... !

If you're in the mood for a solid genre flick that manages to surprise at every turn, this really fits the bill.

30 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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