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Jacob's Ladder (1990)

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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.


1,088 ( 701)
2 wins. See more awards »



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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?


The film was green-lit by Paramount Pictures (with whom Adrian Lyne had made both Flashdance (1983) and Fatal Attraction (1987), and with whom writer Bruce Joel Rubin had made Ghost (1990)), but there was a change of leadership in the studio and the new executives were unsure of the film. They demanded that the end of the movie be changed, but both Lyne and Rubin refused, and so Paramount pulled the plug on the film. It appeared as if the project was going to have to be completely abandoned until Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna of Carolco Pictures saved it with a budget of $25 million. They also gave Lyne complete creative control as well as final cut of the film. See more »


To match the direction of movement, a shot of the Ford LTD racing around a corner has been flopped, but the license plate, which is now in reverse, is visible. See more »


Louis: Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So the way he sees it, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It's just a matter of how you look at it, ...
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 Wicker Park (1999) See more »


By Bob Crewe (as B. Crewe) / Kenny Nolan (as K. Nolan)
Published by Kenny Nolan Publishing / Tannyboy Music / Stone Diamond Corp. (BMI)
Performed by LaBelle
Courtesy of CBS Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

a creepy and unnerving psychological thriller.
2 February 2000 | by (roanoke, va) – See all my reviews

I've always felt that this film has never gotten the credit or attention it deserves. Along with the similary underappreciated Angel Heart, this film creates a sense of dread and foreboding atmosphere that never lets up and comes close to overwhelming the viewer at times.

Tim Robbins deliver possibly one of the best performances of his career and all of the other cast is fantastic as well. The editing and especially the cinematography are top notch and contribute greatly to the overall feel of the film.

i won't go into any plot details since any revelations could ruin the film for someone who hasn't seen it. but if you want to see a movie that will genuinely freak you out and have you sleeping with the lights on, you can't go wrong with this great film.


55 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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