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Flatliners (1990)

Four Medical students experiment on "near death" experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joshua Rudoy ...
Aeryk Egan ...
Kesha Reed ...
John Duda ...
Young David (as John Joseph Duda)
Megan Stewart ...
Playground Kid
Playground Kid


Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Some lines shouldn't be crossed.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Línea mortal  »

Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)


$61,490,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (digital 35 mm prints)| (analog 35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The picture was the first film to be produced as part of the three-year exclusive agreement between Michael Douglas and Rick Bieber's Stonebridge Entertainment and Columbia Pictures. The subsequent titles in the three-picture deal were Radio Flyer (1992) and Made in America (1993), with Douglas acting as Executive Producer and Producer respectively. See more »


In the scene where Rachel stares into the mirror, the writing on the wall under the mirror changes. See more »


[first lines]
Nelson Wright: Today is a good day to die.
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Written and Performed by David A. Stewart (as Dave Stewart)
Courtesy of BMG Records (UK) Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I wouldn't say that the movie flat-lines, but it definitely has a weak pulse.
22 February 2015 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Keen to see what happens to someone after they die, reckless medical student Nelson (Kiefer Sutherland) talks four of his friends (played by Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, and William Baldwin) into helping with a dangerous experiment on himself, first inducing brain death, followed by resuscitation after a minute on 'the other side'. When the procedure is a success, the other students take it in turns to have a peep at the afterlife, not realising that when they return to life, they have brought their sins back to haunt them.

As much as I like the cast of Flatliners (with the exception of Julia Roberts, who I find irritating) and admire director Joel Schumacher for his sterling work on The Lost Boys, Falling Down and 8MM, this film doesn't do an awful lot for me: it's the 90s equivalent of so much of the anodyne teen-centric horror-lite garbage that passes for scary these days, with a good looking young cast and lots of flashy visuals, but very little in the way of substance, fun or thrills.

The first half of the film proves very repetitive, as four of the five students 'flatline', and experience a dreamlike afterlife; the second half sees the group suffering the consequences, which for three of the four, amounts to little more than a few colourful hallucinatory 'nightmares' that are easily resolved. Only Nelson ever seems to be in real danger, but in keeping with the lame PG-friendly nature of the film, he survives with just a few scars to show for his ordeal.

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