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Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  2 November 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 71,958 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.


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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
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Did You Know?


Demi Moore auditioned for the role of Jezzie. See more »


Even through Jacob doesn't finish shaving (he towels-off the remaining shaving cream off his face), he appears to be clean and evenly shaven. See more »


Jacob Singer: They weren't human.
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 British Men Behaving Badly: Rent Boy (1992) See more »


Written by Robert Bateman (as R. Bateman) / Georgia Dobbins (as G. Dobbins) / William Garrett (as W. Garrett) / Brian Holland (as B. Holland) / Freddie Gorman (as F. Gorman)
Published by Jobete Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) / Stone Agate Music (BMI)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A masterful psychological journey.
8 March 2007 | by (Brentwood, USA) – See all my reviews

Sublime thriller is a nightmarish roller-coaster of emotions and one of the best psychological thrillers of the 90's.

After his harrowing tour in Vietnam, a NYC man returns home where he begins to have horrific hallucinations. But what do they mean and is everything as it seems?

Long before it was filmed, Jacob's Ladder was floating around Hollywood in the form of a screenplay. In fact at one point it was called one of the ten best un-filmed screenplays in Hollywood. It's not hard to see why either, as this film is a unique mind-trip that takes a number of twists through out its plot line. Jacob's Ladder is an emotionally powerful film as well. Thanks to its likable main character (lovingly played by Tim Robbins) this film runs from emotions of utter terror; as our hero inexplicably sees demons, to moving sadness; as Jacob recalls his deceased young son. This film is an unnerving and compelling journey the whole way.

The direction of Adrien Lyne (director of the 1987 hit Fatal Attraction) is beautifully well done. The film is heavy on dark atmosphere and effectively scary imagery. The moody music score by Maurice Jarre also adds to the spookiness.

The cast is excellent, the best of which is Robbins as our sympathetic and heart-felt hero.

Jacob's Ladder is the kind of film that offers a mind-blowing journey that most films can only hope for. In the end, Jacob's Ladder is a masterpiece of psychological terror and a truly unforgettable film. A must-see and not just for horror fans.

**** out of ****

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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