Down 3 this week

Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  2 November 1990 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 71,910 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 339 user | 99 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam war veteran attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $13.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Angel Heart (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet
Pi (1998)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Sam Neill, Jürgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen
Hellraiser (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.

Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence
Suspiria (1977)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
Session 9 (2001)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Director: Brad Anderson
Stars: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Dead Alive (1992)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody
Videodrome (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon
Misery (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Carrie White is shy and outcast 17-year old girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, and unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates for the last time at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving


Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Alessandro ...
Brent Hinkley ...
Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron ...
Group Leader


New York postal worker Jacob Singer is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Athough his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.


Drama | Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dante's Inferno  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


$26,118,851 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to the original script, the subway station Jacob arrives at in the beginning of the movie was supposed to be Nostrand Avenue - not Bergen Street. See more »


When Jake puts his son to bed, there is a crew member visible in the mirror behind him when he leans down. See more »


Louis: Well, you've done it to yourself this time, haven't you?
Jacob Singer: Am I dying, Louie?
Louis: From a slipped disk? That'll be a first.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits roll over a grainy black and white photo of Gabe and Jacob crossing the street together. See more »


Referenced in Max Payne (2001) See more »


Written by Buddy G. DeSylva (as B.G. de Silva) / Lew Brown (as L. Brown) / Ray Henderson (as R. Henderson) / Al Jolson (as A. Jolson)
Published by Warner Bros. Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Al Jolson
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brilliant! On par with Kubrick!
26 July 2004 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

Jacob's Ladder is a masterpiece. Nothing less.

It has a highly intelligent plot though not difficult or artsy and is void of cliches. It therefore confuses and aggravates many viewers and professional reviewers always wanting a standard has-it-all Hollywood outpouring.

It is so few films that leaves room for independent thoughts. Jacob's Ladder tumbles your mind the same way a dream of your own does. I have never felt this effect in a film so strong before. The images comes pouring in and your brain tries to make sense of it. Whenever you think you have a grasp it slides away again.

The brilliance of the progression of the story, twists and turns, and the final explanation, so obvious but elusive as real dreams are, makes it on par with the best of Kubrick.

69 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The US army depicted can't have been very smart Nl50148
Questions about His Doctor that was killed in a car accident jt-294
Everything great except Robbins benettfreeman
My mother took me to see this when I was 4 sultrystarlet05
'Behind its dark mask lies an uplifting message of hope' Madmax56
So, why has nobody compared this to the real life case? zombiezimmer
Discuss Jacob's Ladder (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: