7.5/10
82,666
353 user 112 critic

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

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

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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Geary
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Sarah
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Frank
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George
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Doug
Anthony Alessandro ...
Rod
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Jerry
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Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron ...
Group Leader
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Storyline

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. Although 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dante's Inferno  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,500,760 (USA) (4 November 1990)

Gross:

$26,118,851 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The closing legend of the film mentions the testing of a drug named BZ in Vietnam. BZ is NATO code for a hallucinogen called 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, which was rumored to have been administered to US troops during the Vietnam War in an attempt to increase their combat abilities. See more »

Goofs

The fortuneteller scene at the party switches between Jacob's left and right hands. See more »

Quotes

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, ...
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Seconds (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

HEARING SOLAR WINDS / Part 3: Arc Descents
Written by David Hykes (as D. Hykes)
Performed by David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir
Courtesy of Ocara/Radio France
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
original, scary, mesmerizing what more can I say?
27 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

For several years, there's a very trendy cinematographic genre. This is the "psychological fantastic". This genre is very successful as the movies: "the sixth sense" (1999), "what lies beneath" (2000) or "unbreakable" (2000) showed. All these movies must have been influenced by "Jacob's ladder". In this way, you can regard Adrian Lyne's movie as a precursory and innovative movie. Lyne achieved a masterstroke in an absolutely new genre for him. It means that you're very far from the atmosphere of "9 weeks and a half" or "fatal attraction".

"Jacob's ladder" is based on an outstanding screenplay including numerous weird details that increase the spectator's curiosity. It's precisely with the spectator that Lyne and Bruce Joel Robin, the scriptwriter play with. They take a malicious pleasure in getting the spectator lost in a real maze where seem to border dream and reality. Like Tim Robbins, you look for the clue to the mystery. This clue may be the chemist which Jacob's meeting at the refreshment bar truck. This chemist will lead the plot towards an amazing conclusion.

In Adrian Lyne's movie, there's also a part of the fantastic genre that is very well exploited: at first common and normal living conditions but that are little by little overcome by the unreal, the strange and the fear.

The movie also enjoys an outstanding performance to begin with Tim Robbins. A brilliant success and a movie that deserves to rank among the ten best fantastic movies of the nineties


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