IMDb > Jacob's Ladder (1990/I)
Jacob's Ladder
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Jacob's Ladder (1990/I) More at IMDbPro »

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Jacob's Ladder -- A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn't what he believes it to be when he's attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.


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7.6/10   64,850 votes »
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Up 258% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Bruce Joel Rubin (written by)
View company contact information for Jacob's Ladder on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 November 1990 (USA) See more »
The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Anguishing, Intriguing, Original, Unique See more (333 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tim Robbins ... Jacob

Elizabeth Peña ... Jezzie

Danny Aiello ... Louis

Matt Craven ... Michael

Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Paul

Jason Alexander ... Geary

Patricia Kalember ... Sarah

Eriq La Salle ... Frank

Ving Rhames ... George

Brian Tarantina ... Doug

Anthony Alessandro ... Rod
Brent Hinkley ... Jerry

S. Epatha Merkerson ... Elsa

Suzanne Shepherd ... Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron ... Group Leader
Jan Saint ... Santa
Kisha Skinner ... Street Singer
Dion Simmons ... Street Singer

Sam Coppola ... Taxi Driver
Patty Rosborough ... Drunk
Evan O'Meara ... Sam

Kyle Gass ... Tony

Gloria Irizarry ... Mrs. Carmichael

Lewis Black ... Jacob's Doctor

Raymond Anthony Thomas ... Policeman

Christopher John Fields ... Field Medic (as Christopher Fields)
Jaime Perry ... Field Medic

Michael Tomlinson ... Field Doctor
A.M. Marxuach ... Field Doctor
Antonia Rey ... Woman on Subway

John Capodice ... Army Officer

John Patrick McLaughlin ... Army Officer

Bellina Logan ... Emergency Ward Nurse

Scott Cohen ... Resident Doctor
Davidson Thomson ... Evil Doctor
Bryan Larkin ... Jed
B.J. Donaldson ... Eli
Thomas A. Carlin ... Doorman

Carol Schneider ... Nurse

Becky Ann Baker ... Nurse
Diane Kagan ... Nurse
Billie Neal ... Della
Mike Stokie ... Field Sergeant
James Ellis Reynolds ... EMT Bearer
Dennis Rubin Green ... Attendant (as Dennis Green)
Brad Hamler ... Orderly

Byron Minns ... Orderly (as Byron Keith Minns)
Reggie McFadden ... Partygoer
Stephanie Berry ... Partygoer
Chris Murphy ... Partygoer
John-Martin Green ... Partygoer
Arleigh Richards ... Paul's Wife

Ann Pearl Gary ... Mourner

Barbara Gruen ... Mourner

Joe Quintero ... Street Kid

John Louis Fischer ... Machine Gunner
Alva Williams ... Masked Man
Elizabeth Abassi ... Hospital Patient
Nora Burns ... Hospital Patient
Alison Gordy ... Hospital Patient
Jessica Roberts ... Hospital Patient
Holly Kennedy ... Hospital Patient
Blanche Irwin Stuart ... Hospital Patient

Perry Lang ... Jacob's Assailant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

José Alvarez ... Factory Worker (uncredited)
Robert Baglia ... Tommy, Patient (uncredited)
John D. Bair ... Commuter (uncredited)
Steve Baker ... Pool Player (uncredited)

Orson Bean ... Himself - Game Show Panelist (archive footage) (uncredited)

Macaulay Culkin ... Gabe (uncredited)
Ed Jupp Jr. ... Eyeless Doctor (uncredited)

Directed by
Adrian Lyne 
Writing credits
Bruce Joel Rubin (written by)

Produced by
Mario Kassar .... executive producer
Alan Marshall .... producer
Bruce Joel Rubin .... associate producer
Andrew G. Vajna .... executive producer (as Andrew Vajna)
Original Music by
Maurice Jarre 
Cinematography by
Jeffrey L. Kimball 
Film Editing by
Tom Rolf 
Casting by
Risa Bramon Garcia 
Billy Hopkins 
Heidi Levitt 
Production Design by
Brian Morris 
Art Direction by
Jeremy Conway (principal art director)
W. Steven Graham  (as Wray Steven Graham)
Set Decoration by
Kathleen Dolan 
Costume Design by
Ellen Mirojnick 
Makeup Department
Russell Cate .... special makeup effects artist
Tom Czarnopys .... key sculptor
Richard Dean .... makeup artist
Don McLeod .... special makeup
Lyndell Quiyou .... hair stylist
Arline Smith .... special makeup (as Arline)
Gordon J. Smith .... special prosthetic effects designer
Bill Sturgeon .... prosthetics
Production Management
Michael R. Sloan .... post-production supervisor
Clayton Townsend .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Vebe Borge .... second assistant director
Harvey Epstein .... dga trainee
Deborah Lupard .... second second assistant director
Joseph P. Reidy .... first assistant director
Art Department
Conrad V. Brink Jr. .... swing gang
Clive Brown .... construction coordinator: Puerto Rico
Diana Davila .... scenic artist: Puerto Rico
Claudette Didul .... art department coordinator
Dominick Direnzi .... scenic artist
Edward Garzero .... stand-by scenic artist
Joseph Garzero .... scenic chargeman
Peter Garzero .... scenic artist
Kevin Golden .... scenic artist
Cathy Ippolito .... scenic artist
Mathew Loeb .... scenic artist
Giovanni Rodriguez .... carpenter
Louis Sanchez .... construction coordinator
Manny Sanchez .... carpenter
Chris Shriver .... assistant art director
Leticia Stella-Serra .... set decorator: Puerto Rico
Paul Tappenden .... scenic artist
Thomas Wright .... property master
Tony Wright .... illustrator
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
Lauren Doner .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Hank Mayo .... storyboard artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
David Augsburger .... apprentice sound editor
Scott Boyd .... assistant sound editor
Milton C. Burrow .... supervising sound editor
Neil Burrow .... sound editor
Richard Burrow .... sound editor
Scott Burrow .... sound editor
Gordon Davidson .... sound editor
Steve Dewey .... special sound effects
Mike Getlin .... sound re-recording mixer
Mark Gordon .... sound editor
Robert Heffernan .... adr editor
Richard Mader .... sound technician
Tod A. Maitland .... production sound recordist
Andy Nelson .... sound re-recording mixer
T.J. O'Mara .... boom operator (as Terence J. O'Mara)
Greg Orloff .... foley mixer
Anthony Ortiz .... sound assistant: Puerto Rico
Steve Pederson .... sound re-recording mixer
Edward L. Sandlin .... sound editor
Solange S. Schwalbe .... foley editor (as Solange Schwalbe Boisseau)
Gary Shepherd .... sound editor
Chester Slomka .... sound editor
Steve F.B. Smith .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Jerry Trent .... foley artist
Johannes Hammers .... special sound effects assistant (uncredited)
John Roesch .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
William Bishop .... special effects assistant
Connie Brink .... special effects (as Conrad Brink)
Fausto Ferrer Cruz .... special effects assistant: Puerto Rico
James Gawley .... special effects machinist
Mike Maggi .... special effects assistant
Harold McConnell Jr. .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Jay McClennen .... model maker
Brian Ripley .... visual effects production assistant
Paul Swendsen .... pre-production conceptual designer: ILM (uncredited)
Chris F. Woods .... visual effects producer (uncredited)
Danny Aiello III .... stunts
Bill Anagnos .... stunts (as Billy Anagnos)
Peter Bucossi .... stunts
Daniel Dod .... stunts (as Danny Dod)
Andy Duppin .... stunts
Joe Fitos .... stunts
Gene Harrison .... stunts
Peter Hock .... stunts
David S. Lomax .... stunts
Jim Lovelett .... stunts
John Patrick McLaughlin .... stunts
Cynthia Neilson .... stunts
Phil Neilson .... stunt coordinator
Mick O'Rourke .... stunts
Don Picard .... stunts
Peewee Piemonte .... stunts
Michael Russo .... stunts (as Michael C. Russo)
Manny Siverio .... stunts
Gregg Smrz .... stunts
Gary Tacon .... stunts
Jeff Ward .... stunts
Deborah Watkins .... stunts
Joel David Webster .... stunts
Ron Michaels .... utility stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
A. Anthony Cappello .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Christopher Dolan .... electrician
James 'Packy' Dolan .... chief electrician
James P. Dolan .... best boy
Richard Dolan .... electrician
Ronald Dolan .... generator operator
Johnathan Ercole .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
James W. Finnerty .... grip
John Finnerty .... rigging electrician (as John 'Spike' Finnerty)
Joseph Finnerty .... grip
Raymond Fortune .... electrician
Bill Gerardo .... second assistant camera
Vinnie Gerardo .... assistant camera
Dennis Green .... 24 frame video operator
Richard Guinness Jr. .... dolly grip
Craig Haagensen .... camera operator
Jose 'Flecha' Hernandez .... electrician
Larry Houston .... Steadicam assistant: Puerto Rico
Larry Huston .... Steadicam focus puller
Thomas Jirgal .... best boy
Gábor Kövér .... camera operator: "b" camera
Gábor Kövér .... director of photography: second unit
Larry McConkey .... Steadicam operator: Puerto Rico
Jim Miller .... grip
Mike Miller .... key grip
Angel Pastrana .... electrician
Enrique Puig .... assistant camera: Puerto Rico
Frank Rinato .... camera trainee
Andrew D. Schwartz .... still photographer
Rafael Amaral Sein .... assistant camera: Puerto Rico
Casting Department
Riccardo Bertoni .... extras casting
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Suzanne Smith .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Dennison .... costume supervisor
Mary Gierczak .... set costumer
Cynthia L. Hamilton .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Peter Amundson .... additional editor
Donah Bassett .... negative cutter
Christopher E. Bennett .... assistant film editor
Jennifer Davidoff Cook .... apprentice editor
Noori Dehnahi .... post-production coordinator
Vicki Hiatt .... associate editor
Robert Raring .... color timer
Jimmy Sandoval .... assistant editor
B.J. Sears .... additional editor
Rachel Shaw .... assistant editor
Joe Shugart .... assistant editor
Donna Stern .... assistant editor
Joe Violante .... dailies advisor
Music Department
Dan Carlin Sr. .... music editor
Gloria Cheng .... musician: piano solo
Kitka Eastern European Women's Choir .... choral ensemble
Leslie Morris .... music contractor
Leslie Morris .... music coordinator
Shawn Murphy .... music mixer
Shawn Murphy .... music recordist
Patrick Russ .... orchestrator
James Thatcher .... musician: french horn
Transportation Department
Miguel Castañeda .... picture car wrangler
Hierson Garcia .... driver
Duamel Gonzalez .... driver
Edward O'Donnell .... transportation captain
Raúl Rivera .... transportation coordinator: Puerto Rico
Other crew
Frans J. Afman .... financial services
Michael Barnes .... legal attorney
Adam Brightman .... assistant location manager
Christie Colliopoulos .... production assistant
Kathy Cossu .... medical coordinator
Patricia Anne Doherty .... location manager
Dale Dye .... military consultant (as Capt. Dale Dye)
John Fischer .... production assistant
Jeff Flach .... location manager: Puerto Rico
Jameson Hall .... location assistant
Juan Hernández .... location coordinator: Puerto Rico
Joseph E. Iberti .... location coordinator
Raymond Mackintosh .... special prosthetic effects
Trong Nguyen .... technical advisor: Vietnam
Ben Oliver .... head pilot
Gaspar Ponce .... location assistant
Juan Ros .... set production assistant
Reid Rosefelt .... unit publicist
Robert Smith .... head pilot
Mike Stokey .... military advisor
Mike Stokie .... military consultant
Christopher Swartout .... production assistant
Richard Tedesco .... parking wrangler
Neal Thompson .... title designer
Russ Thurman .... military consultant (as Captain Russell Ray Thurman)
Jane Tsighis .... production accountant
Michael Viglietta .... production assistant
Darren Wiseman .... location assistant
Corey B. Yugler .... script supervisor
Gustave Doré .... illustrations: Dante's Inferno (uncredited)
David Lanphier Jr. .... production assistant (uncredited)
Lonnie Ramati .... production business & legal affairs (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Jacobs Nightmare" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
113 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

According to the original script, after Jacob is nearly run over by the subway train, a sequence involving a man being raped in the subway station mens bathroom was supposed to occur. It was filmed but deleted from the final cut (parts of the scene can be seen in the Making-Of featurette Building 'Jacob's Ladder' (1990) (V)).See more »
Continuity: In the scene where Jacob and Geary are walking down the stairs, Geary is holding his briefcase with his left hand. After he says "war games in Thailand" and makes a motion with his right hand, the next shot shows that hand now holding the brief case.See more »
Jacob Singer:Jezzie? Get me out of here.
Evil Doctor:Where do you want to go?
Jacob Singer:Home.
Evil Doctor:Home? This is your home. You're dead.
Jacob Singer:Dead? No. I just hurt my back, I'm not dead.
Evil Doctor:What are you, then?
Jacob Singer:I'm alive.
Evil Doctor:Then what are you doing here?
Jacob Singer:I don't know.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Manchurian Candidate (2004)See more »
SONNY BOYSee more »


What special features are on the DVD?
What is BZ?
What were screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin's main influences when composing the screenplay?
See more »
39 out of 58 people found the following review useful.
Anguishing, Intriguing, Original, Unique, 7 October 2006
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

On 06 Oct 1971, in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, the American soldier Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is wounded by a bayonet during an attack to his platoon. He wakes up in New York subway while going home late night after working overtime in the post office. He is divorced from Sarah (Patricia Kalember), lives with his colleague and lover Jezebel (Elizabeth Peña) is a small apartment in Brooklyn and misses his young son Gabe (Macaulay Culkin), who died in an accident where Jacob feels responsible for. Along the next days, Jacob is chased by demons and finds conspiracy in the army, while having different visions of different moments of his life.

Yesterday I saw "The Jacket" and I decide to see once more "Jacob's Ladder", maybe for the fifth time. This anguishing and intriguing story is one of the most original and unique I have ever seen, and has been plagiarized many times mainly in the foregoing mentioned "The Jacket". Tim Robbins gives another top-notch performance in the role of a troubled man resolving his life, due to the feeling of guilty for the loss of his younger son. Bruce Joel Rubin, who also wrote and produced "Ghost", "Jacob's Ladder" and "My Life", shows that is very connected with spiritual issues, approaching this theme in his films. The Brazilian title of this movie, "Alucinações do Passado" ("Hallucinations From the Past"), wrongly induces the viewer and destroys the dubious sense of the original title: Jacob is the lead character, "Ladder" is the name of the experiment his platoon and him had been submitted in Vietnam; but the interpretation of "Jacob's Ladder" in the Bible is that this is the only means to reach the total ecstasy, the plenitude, however, we need first supersede the obstacles that we find in our ascension. Further, "Jacob experienced a vision in which he saw a ladder reaching into heaven with angels going up and down it, a vision that is commonly referred to as Jacob's Ladder" (from "Wikipedia"). Another interesting aspect is that all the characters have biblical names. For example, Jezebel is considered the most wicked woman in the entire Bible (the character of Elizabeth Peña was responsible for the separation of Jacob and Sarah and maybe he was blaming her for keeping him far from his family); and Gabriel is the angel that explained signs from God and announced the conception, birth, and mission of Jesus to Mary. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Alucinações do Passado" ("Hallucinations From the Past")

Note: On 19 May 2009, I saw this movie again, now on DVD.

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Everything great except Robbins benettfreeman
Explaination *Spoilers* mickbanner
Spoilers for sure (don't read if you haven't seen the film) iloveannaw
Reference to Asimov's Caves of Steel? bruno-829-17172
Questions about His Doctor,which was killed in a car accident jt-294
SPOILERS - The thing growing out of peoples heads? sugarangelbaby
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