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Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 65,926 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 334 user | 94 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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Title: Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Jacob's Ladder (1990) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rod
Brent Hinkley ...
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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. 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

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:

Jacobs Nightmare  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$26,118,851 (USA)
 »

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

In Bruce Joel Rubin's original screenplay, all of the demons who appear throughout the film were typical biblical demons with horns, wings, cloven hooves etc. Director Adrian Lyne felt that this kind of imagery could very easily come across as comic, which would destroy the film. He felt that the fact that the imagery was so far from human lessened its impact, and as such, he decided he wanted the demons to be humanesque, but not quite human. During his research into this (which was when he discovered the photography of Joel-Peter Witkin), Lyne came across the Thalidomide scandal. Thalidomide was a drug made available for purchase from 1957 to 1961. Ostensibly, it was designed to treat pregnant women; primarily as an antiemetic to combat morning sickness, and secondarily as a sleeping aid. However, prior to its release, inadequate clinical tests were carried out, leading to roughly 10,000 children in Africa and Europe being born with severe physical deformities because their mothers had taken thalidomide during their pregnancy. The most common defects were phocomelia, dysmelia, amelia and polymelia; all conditions which affect the appearance of the limbs. During his research, Lyne studied the Thalidomide case, and came to feel that the birth defects caused by the drug represented the perfect starting place for his redesign of Rubin's demons. The Thalidomide scandal was also the inspiration for David Cronenberg's Scanners (1981). See more »

Goofs

The amount of shaving cream on Jacob Singer as he talks on the phone. It appears and disappears during the scene. See more »

Quotes

Jacob's Doctor: You're a lucky guy, Jake. You must have friends in high places.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Oz: Straight Life (1997) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A film that sports technicality, a fresh plot, incredible editing and immersive characters
3 November 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jacobs Ladder is one of those rare films that throws you and your mind about like a ragdoll before giving you a bitter conclusion that turns everything upside down again. Forget Donnie Darko, that was mere childs play, this film is something else. Jacobs Ladder provides an experience so intimidating, brutal, wonderful and beautiful unparalleled to this day. This is something you have never seen or experienced before in film, and will probably never experience again.

Jacob Singer is a postal worker, who, through the brutal effects of Vietnam, mentally breaks down, and starts seeing demons following him, killing his friends, raping his wife...... Make no mistake, Jacobs Ladder is a grim film but behind its dark mask lies an uplifting message of hope, freedom and mental release. I wont say anymore, because spoiling the plot for you would be extremely horrible of me, who am i to take away the magic of seeing the film from you.

I'm not going to say that this is accessible to everyone, its not in the least. If your favourite film is American Pie than turn away, this is REAL film making. A lot of people will not like this, because they will expect, like with most films, to have all the answers served to them on a plate. Jacobs Ladder requires the viewer to do the thinking, letting them have their own perceptions of the film rather then being fed that of the directors. If you do choose to go on Jacobs journey with him be warned, it wont always be pretty, but you will come out of it gratified that for once in film you have the freedom to think for yourself.


162 of 197 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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The US army depicted can't have been very smart Nl50148
Questions about His Doctor,which 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
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