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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 71,881 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?


Adrian Lyne turned down directorial duties on The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) so he could direct Jacob's Ladder. His first choice for the role of Jacob Singer was Tom Hanks, but, by coincidence, Hanks turned down the film so he could make The Bonfire of the Vanities. See more »


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


Jacob Singer: What's it say?
Jezebel: [Reading the thermometer] Oh my God! I'm calling the Doctor!
Jacob Singer: What's it say?
Jezebel: It's gone to the top!
Jacob Singer: Great!
Jezebel: [On the phone] Hello Dr. Forest! I'm so sorry to bother you! This is Jezzie Pimpkin up in 14G! I just took Jake's temperature and it's up to 106, could that be right?Oh my God!
[gets off the phone and starts running a bath]
Jezebel: Get out of bed!
Jacob Singer: I can't! I'm FREEZING!
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 »


Written by Renaldo Benson (as R. Benson) / Al Cleveland (as A. Cleveland) / Marvin Gaye (as M. Gaye)
Published by Jobete Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) / Stone Agate Music (BMI)
Performed by Marvin Gaye
Courtesy of Motown Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


51 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The US army depicted can't have been very smart Nl50148
Questions about His Doctor that was killed in a car accident jt-294
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My mother took me to see this when I was 4 sultrystarlet05
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So, why has nobody compared this to the real life case? zombiezimmer
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