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D.O.A. (1988) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
18 March 1988 (USA) See more »
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.
Dexter Cornell, an English Professor becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him... See more » | Full synopsis »
(8 articles)
The Caretakers Ready to Put the Bite On
 (From Dread Central. 24 June 2014, 10:00 AM, PDT)

Lone Star Cinema: D.O.A.
 (From Slackerwood. 14 January 2014, 8:00 AM, PST)

'R.I.P.D.' Review: 10 Things to Know About the Supernatural Action Flick
 (From Moviefone. 19 July 2013, 4:30 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Another One slipped by See more (42 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Dennis Quaid ... Dexter Cornell

Meg Ryan ... Sydney Fuller

Charlotte Rampling ... Mrs. Fitzwaring

Daniel Stern ... Hal Petersham

Jane Kaczmarek ... Gail Cornell

Christopher Neame ... Bernard
Robin Johnson ... Cookie Fitzwaring

Robert Knepper ... Nicholas Lang (as Rob Knepper)

Jay Patterson ... Graham Corey

Brion James ... Detective Ulmer
Jack Kehoe ... Detective Brockton

Elizabeth Arlen ... Elaine Wells
Karen Radcliffe ... Jane Corey
William Forward ... Chief Resident
Lee Gideon ... Mr. Fitzwaring
Bill Bolender ... Nick Lang Sr.
Hillary Hoffman ... Corey's Daughter

John Hawkes ... Sloane

Michael Costello ... College President
Bill Johnson ... Desk Sergeant (as William Johnson)

Brent Anderson ... Metcalf
Wendye Clarendon ... Barb

Marco Perella ... Cab Driver
Joye Swan ... Survey Girl
Charles Beecham ... English Professor

Gabriel Folse ... Frat Jock #1
Matt Thompson ... Frat Jock #2
Barbara MacDonald ... Timbuk 3
Pat MacDonald ... Timbuk 3
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anne Carr ... Guitar player (uncredited)
Kirk Hunter ... Extra (uncredited)

Mark Lawyer ... Art Patron (uncredited)
William Throckmorton ... Kissing Booth Vendor (uncredited)

Directed by
Annabel Jankel 
Rocky Morton 
Writing credits
Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay)

Charles Edward Pogue (story) and
Russell Rouse (story) &
Clarence Greene (story)

Produced by
Andrew J. Kuehn .... co-producer
Ian Sander .... producer
Cathleen Summers .... co-producer
Laura Ziskin .... producer
Original Music by
Chaz Jankel 
Cinematography by
Yuri Neyman 
Film Editing by
Raja Gosnell 
Michael R. Miller 
Casting by
Nancy Foy 
Production Design by
Richard Amend 
Set Decoration by
Michael O'Sullivan 
Costume Design by
Nancy Cone 
Makeup Department
Bridget Bergman .... hair stylist
Barbara Olvera .... hair assistant
Barbara Olvera .... makeup assistant
Ronnie Specter .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jeanne Van Cott .... production manager
Jayne Armstrong .... post-production supervisor (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sandy Collister .... second second assistant director
Louis D'Esposito .... first assistant director
Richard Patrick .... second assistant director
Art Department
Chris Cherry .... scenic paint foreman
Joe Cooper .... carpenter
Catherine Davis .... on-set dresser
Tom Dreesen .... construction coordinator (as Thomas Dreeson)
Mary Cecile Hjerter Gee .... carpenter
Marcos E. Gonzalez .... assistant props
Jeff Scott Graham .... carpenter
Rex Harder .... set dresser
Robert Janecka .... set dresser
John L. Kehoe .... property master
Terry Kempf .... construction foreman
Doug Lefler .... storyboard artist
Thomas Lemman .... carpenter
James Michael McBride .... set dresser
Brian McDonald .... set dresser
Jenny C. Patrick .... set dresser (as Jenny Patrick)
Richard Petty .... carpenter
Eric A. Williams .... lead man (as Eric Williams)
Leonard Wilson .... set dresser
Ron Greenwood .... property master: re-shoot (uncredited)
David Menefee .... carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
James Ashwill .... foley mixer
Kevin Bartnof .... foley artist
Anna Behlmer .... sound recordist
Gary C. Bourgeois .... sound re-recording mixer
Thomas Brandau .... sound mixer
Ed Callahan .... dialogue editor
Chris Carpenter .... sound re-recording mixer
Christine Danelski .... assistant sound editor
John Duvall .... foley editor
Thomas A. Fucci .... adr editor
John Haeny .... sound effects editor
Robin Harlan .... foley artist
Allen Hartz .... adr editor
Wayne Heitman .... sound re-recording mixer
Mary Jo Lang .... foley re-recordist
Maria Lee Silver .... assistant sound editor
Martin Maryska .... sound effects editor
Susan Mazzei .... assistant sound editor
John Morris .... dialogue editor
Lorie O'Shatz .... dialogue editor
Debbie Pinthus .... boom operator (as Deborah Pinthus)
Nic Ratner .... assistant sound editor
Jerry Ross .... supervising sound editor
Alicia Stevenson .... foley artist
Special Effects by
Jack 'Deuce' Bennett II .... special effects assistant
Jack Bennett .... special effects coordinator
Kenney Miller .... special effects assistant
Jamie S. Bunch .... stunts
Tim Butler .... stunts
Randy Fife .... stunt coordinator (as Randy 'Fife')
Randy Fife .... stunts (as Randy 'Fife')
Dale Graves .... stunts
James Pate .... stunts
Steve Pate .... stunts
Tim Short .... stunts
John Shults .... stunts (as Jon Shults)
Laura Scott Wallace .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Adams .... best boy grip
Daniel Anaya .... electrician
Bryan Ashford .... grip
Sharon Beard .... still photographer
Michael Cohn .... electrician
Stefan Czapsky .... additional photographer
Lee Daniel .... additional first assistant camera
Jim Dinn .... electrician
Robert K. Feldmann .... key grip (as Robert Feldman)
Morris Flam .... gaffer
Steve Graves .... grip
Christopher Hall .... electrician
Gregory Irwin .... first assistant camera
George Mays .... grip
Bill O'Drobinak .... second assistant camera
Richard Osborn Jr. .... additional first assistant camera
Christopher Rogers .... dolly grip
Martin Schaer .... camera operator
Steve Spallone .... best boy electric
Michael Alan Spiller .... additional first assistant camera (as Michael Spiller)
Pat Waugh .... electrician
Tom Fraser .... additional camera operator (uncredited)
Casting Department
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Rody Kent .... casting: Texas
Cathy Sandrich .... casting assistant: Los Angeles
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Nancy Allen .... wardrobe supervisor
Yvonne Cervantes .... wardrobe supervisor
Shari Gray .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Michael Berenbaum .... first assistant editor
Susanne Gervay .... negative cutter
Lisa Lange .... post-production coordinator
Michael Pickel .... post-production associate
Pamela Reisenleiter .... second assistant editor
Douglas Walker .... post-production associate
Music Department
Don Hahn .... score engineer
Chaz Jankel .... score producer
Michael Linn .... music editor
Michael Linn .... score producer
Mark Watters .... music arranger: string arrangements
Robert Randles .... music advisor (uncredited)
Leonard Rogowski .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
John East .... transportation captain
Jerry McKnight .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Michael Barefoot .... first aid
Charles Bartlett .... adr voice
Sara Beechner .... production associate
Anne Carr .... craft service
Cathy Cavadini .... adr voice
Ron Dittman .... production associate
Ike Eisenmann .... adr voice
Marita Grabiak .... script supervisor
Rebecca Greeley .... production coordinator
Geoff Halpin .... logo typographer
William Heald .... production associate
Eric Henshaw .... location restoration
George Herthel .... location manager
Dominic Hoffman .... adr voice
Cathe Holley .... pre-production coordinator
Kevin Ivey .... production associate
Francine Lauzon .... assistant to producers
Jordan Levin .... publicity intern
Tina Lifford .... adr voice
Joanna Lipari .... adr voice
Nancy Locke .... assistant to producers
Christina MacGregor .... adr voice
April McKee .... craft service
Keith Montgomery .... location assistant
Larry Moss .... adr voice
Susan Napoli .... adr voice
Jan Rabson .... adr voice
Julie Kay Rogers .... production associate
Bryan Scott .... adr voice
Rachel Shaw-Bayon .... production associate
Ellen Smith .... production associate
David Storrs .... synthesizer programmer
Bethlyn Gerard .... stand-in (uncredited)
Lisa S. Girolami .... associate production executive (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dead on Arrival" - International (English title) (informal title), USA (literal title)
"D.O.A.: Dead on Arrival" - International (English title) (poster title)
See more »
96 min
Black and White (some sequences) | Color
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Throughout the story, the color in the film begins to drain to monochrome, thus representing the central character's deteriorating health as the poison steadily takes its toll (until it is in black-and-white, as in the opening - presumably showing the flashback catching up to the current time-line of the story).See more »
Continuity: At the end of the movie, Dex shoots the villain, who falls out of a window. Dex shot the villain in the front and the villain took several steps backwards without turning around. The next shot shows the villain very obviously jumping out of the window by running up to it facing forward and spinning around in the air.See more »
Mrs. Fitzwaring:How did you know about Nick?
Dexter Cornell:I'm psychic.
Bernard:Good. Then you know what's going to happen to you.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Another One slipped by, 4 December 2001
Author: artbyjude from US

For all those people who believe the dialog is worth something, and who appreciate a farce that is clever enough for you to take it seriously, this movie will surprise you. It is not a 'whodunit' for people who can't aren't able to follow the verbal exchange of our hero, Professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid).

Cornell teaches in Southern California, near the tar pits. He has not published a novel in four years, his wife is divorcing him, he drinks a bit much, and is blessed or cursed with caustic wit, which he freely dispenses to his students. He has recommended a friend for advancement, and one bright young student has submitted a manuscript to him as an independent project. Cornell doesn't even want to read it, so gives it an "A", and pushes it to the side. Leaning back with a drink in his office he stares out the window, when the bright young student falls past his window on the way to meeting the sidewalk in a splat encounter.

Hal comes to talk, and they chat, drinking some more. The Cornell realizes that he HAS to read the manuscript, now. When he goes home, his wife is waiting with divorce papers. He drinks some more. She leaves, and he goes to a faculty affair, only to find her there. He drinks even more. And when his wife learns that the student is dead, she swoons, and he learns that she had been having an affair with the student. This of course prompts him to do some more serious drinking. The next morning he wakes up to find himself in the dorm room of one of his students, a freshman named Syd (Meg Ryan).

He feels worse than a hangover, goes to the doctor and learns that he has been poisoned, it is irreversible, and he has 24-48 hours to live. He doesn't have much time to find out who killed him, and there are sub-plots, motives, relationships and surprises at every turn, although everything makes sense at the end. All his discoveries and exchanges are adorned with sarcasm, dry wit and keen observations. Let's just say that this movie will give new meaning to the adage "publish or perish".

There are no bad performances in this movie. There are recurrent images, and symbolism used at careful intervals. Watch for the cracked glass, and images distorted through glass. Some of the camera shots are revolutionary for 1988, and some of the violent action is carefully and skillfully choreographed. The music is unobtrusive and appropriate, although occasionally it makes it's own statement, in song lyrics. The visuals in this flick are impressive.

If there are any failures, it is that the opening 20 minutes move a little slow, and nearly puts you to sleep. But the pacing picks up quickly, with just the right amount of exposition in between action segments.

There are no explicit sexual encounters, although there is violence and some bad language.

This is a writer's movie, and is best appreciated by those who have a sense of humor about their own success or failure. I do think if you take it seriously, you're already in big trouble.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Annoying gritfrombray-1
plothole? euronick61
What happened to Sydney? punkmeabs
Song as Dex runs Rhapthorne
Remake of which movie? lilafotioy
Nail gun (spoilers!) sparrohawk-1
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