Top 5000
Down 402 this week

Misery (1990)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  30 November 1990 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 118,437 users  
Reviews: 298 user | 118 critic

Paul Sheldon, a successful novelist, is rescued after a snow storm by his "Number One Fan" and must rewrite his latest novel to her liking in order to stay alive.



(novel), (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 05 Dec 2012
a list of 43 titles
created 08 Feb 2013
a list of 40 titles
created 24 Aug 2013
a list of 48 titles
created 7 months ago
a list of 49 titles
created 7 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Misery" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Misery (1990)

Misery (1990) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Misery.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer
It (TV Mini-Series 1990)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1960, seven outcast kids known as "The Loser Club" fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again.

Stars: Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Annette O'Toole
Carrie (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young, abused and timid 17-year-old girl discovers she has telekinesis, and gets pushed to the limit on the night of her school's prom by a humiliating prank.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
Pet Sematary (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Behind a young family's home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.

Director: Mary Lambert
Stars: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
Cujo (1983)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A friendly St. Bernard named "Cujo" contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.

Director: Lewis Teague
Stars: Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Danny Pintauro
Christine (1983)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A nerdish boy buys a strange car with an evil mind of its own and his nature starts to change to reflect it.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A young couple is trapped in a remote town where a dangerous religious cult of children believe everyone over the age of 18 must be killed.

Director: Fritz Kiersch
Stars: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong
Stand by Me (1986)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
Creepshow (1982)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Inspired by the E.C. comics of the 1950s, George A.Romero and Stephen King bring five tales of terror to the screen.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau


Complete credited cast:
Graham Jarvis ...
Jerry Potter ...
Thomas Brunelle ...
Anchorman (as Tom Brunelle)
Julie Payne ...
Reporter #1
Reporter #2 (as Archie Hahn III)
Gregory Snegoff ...
Reporter #3
Wendy Bowers ...
Misery the Pig ...


Best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon is on his way home from his Colorado hideaway after completing his latest book, when he crashes his car in a freak blizzard. Paul is critically injured, but is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, Paul's "number one fan", who takes Paul back to her remote house in the mountains (without bothering to tell anybody). Unfortunately for Paul, Annie is also a headcase. When she discovers that Paul has killed off the heroine in her favorite novels, her reaction leaves Paul shattered (literally)... Written by Andrew Backhouse (andback74)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now, he's writing to stay alive. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Miseria  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)


$61,276,872 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A dress worn by Kathy Bates in her role as Annie Wilkes is on display at Planet Hollywood in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. See more »


When Annie is shaving Paul's face, the areas of shaving cream change without anyone altering them. See more »


Virginia McCain: We got a phone call? Busy morning.
Sheriff John T. 'Buster' McCain: Yeah. Work, work, work.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Misery the Pig - Herself See more »


Featured in Hollywood vs. Religion (1994) See more »


Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performed by Liberace
Courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
Arranged by Liberace
Published by AVI Music Publishing Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An entertaining, very well acted and intelligent thriller.
30 December 2000 | by (Ontario,Canada) – See all my reviews

Successfully adapting a good book into a movie is not easy. There are numerous reasons why this is a hard task, one of which is the Hollywood rule of movie adaptations that suggests the following:Many bad books make great movies,but most great books make bad movies. This is true for most movies but MISERY is a definite exception.

MISERY is the story of a writer being rescued by his number one fan who he soon discovers is a psycho. It's a simple but effective premise and one which grabs us from the start and doesn't let go until the very end. The movie is all the more frightening when one considers that it could actually happen.

It's very good when judged on its own, but is also one of the best Stephen King adaptations.

The acting is the primary reason why the film succeeds. Kathy Bates is amazing in her ability to switch moods in an instant. "You better pray that I'm in a good mood. Because if I die,you die,"she says. And we don't doubt her for a second. She's so convincingly able to change emotions that we never know whether she's entering with a bowl of soup in her hand or a sludge hammer. It's this unpredictability that keeps the movie going. When the script calls for her to go over the top we realize that virtually no other actress could do what she does here. Hence the Oscar. It's a tricky performance because one misstep and it becomes ridiculous. But it works. And with Annie Wilkes, Kathy Bates has given movie history one of its scariest villains. As the bed ridden writer, James Caan does a good job as well. Although there isn't perhaps as much empathy as in the book,he still has some fine moments where we sympathize entirely with him. The supporting actors are fun to watch, although they aren't given much screen time. They don't need to because the film is basically a two person picture.

The tension between the two characters is sustained nicely throughout. There are times when Paul hates Annie or Annie hates Paul and there's irony in that they both are dependent on each other(Paul needs her to stay alive and Annie needs him to write the new book for her) even if Paul's reason is the more logical of the two. It's basically a battle of wits the entire film.

Although it is a horror film,the terror is gradual. The entire movie plays around the notion that we never quite know what Wilkes is thinking or what mood she's in. It's ingenious the way certain scenes are built up and then simmer down, while others seem calm and then explode.

Another part of the film's effectiveness lies is its ability to create sympathy for Caan's character. During the hobbling scene(which is by far the film's most memorable)the audience's sympathy is pushed to the extreme. Although very painful to watch, I found this to be the best scene in the film. We are allowed to experience Wilkes' psychotic behaviour at its scariest. It becomes clear that she will not let Sheldon go and wants no one else to have him. The entire development,build up and pay off of this scene is remarkable.

This is a change of pace for Rob Reiner,but he does a nice job,demonstrating his considerable range as a director. He handles it with a certain smoothness that feels right for the movie. The camera work employed here is excellent. Some shots in particular such as having the camera placed in the bed staring directly at the door,help to create moments of claustrophobic suspense. The stark cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld is also good,especially in the night scenes. They're lit in such a way that even a closed door looks scary.

There are also also moments of dark humor which are enjoyable. One scene has Annie,extremely excited about the new novel, asking Paul if he likes Liberace. He pauses for just a second,considering Annie will most likely go crazy if he says no,before replying correctly. He and we both know better.

The build up to the end is very well done. In fact it's only during the slasher inspired finale that MISERY dips a bit. That's not to say it's horrible. To the contrary, it's quite exciting, as Sheldon finally fights back against his captor. It's the part after this that is somewhat annoying due to it abruptly cutting from a character being in one location to an entirely different one without any explanation of how they got there. One would've been nice but this doesn't detract from the movie's enjoyment. In fact there are almost no lags in all of the film's running time. Not one wasted scene is to be found. Everything propels one scene to the next like it should. We, like Paul, are constantly on the edge of our seat (or bed, in his case).

MISERY doesn't contain many surprises, since we pretty much know what to expect in terms of how it will all end but it does have its share of chills. But the best thing about this movie is its staying power. It remains fresh when you see it again and again. Indeed, MISERY will stay with you for a long while after it's over. A testament to the nail biting story and an unforgettable performance by Kathy Bates.

Rating: **** out of *****

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why didnt Paul just give her some Pipe! gregflounory
Very disappointing .. if you read the book walpen87
Is this actually a plot hole? peggy714
The Sheriff and his wife Murrays_leggy_blonde
What is the scariest scene in the novel isimness
Funniest scene in the movie. numberjuan
Discuss Misery (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: