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The Doors (1991)

The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.

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(as J. Randal Johnson),
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Rothchild
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Josh Evans ...
Bill Siddons
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Dog
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Cat
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Engineer - Last Session
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Mom
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Dad
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Young Jim
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Storyline

Oliver Stone's homage to 1960s rock group The Doors also doubles as a biography of the group's late singer, the "Electric Poet" Jim Morrison. The movie follows Morrison from his days as a film student in Los Angeles to his death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971. The movie features a tour-de-force performance by Val Kilmer, who not only looks like Jim Morrison's long-lost twin brother, but also sounds so much like him that he did much of his own singing. It has been written that even the surviving Doors had trouble distinguishing Kilmer's vocals from Morrison's originals. Written by Denise P. Meyer <dpm1@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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The ceremony is about to begin See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for heavy drug content, and for strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ha-Dlatot  »

Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$35,183,792 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(analog 70 mm prints)| (digital 35 mm and 70 mm prints)| (analog 35 mm prints)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cave scene, when Jim wanders out in the New Mexico desert, was shot at the Mitchell Caverns in the East Mojave Preserve in California. According to the tour guide there, Oliver Stone and the art dept. painted Indian petroglyphs at the site that wouldn't wash off. The state fined Stone and banned future film shoots at the caves. See more »

Goofs

Backstage during The Ed Sullivan Show, the band watches the infamous 12th Street Riots in Detroit unfold on TV. The riots took place July 23-28, 1967, and the band appeared on the show on September 17th, 1967. See more »

Quotes

Jim Morrison: Where's your will to be weird?
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Connections

Spoofed in The Simpsons: Krusty Gets Kancelled (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Light My Fire
Written by The Doors
Performed by The Doors & Performed by Val Kilmer, Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Arthur Barrow
Elektra Records
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User Reviews

 
An ordinary film with one extraordinary performance
30 May 2006 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Watching Oliver Stone's The Doors can be at times a frustrating experience. Considering the central figure in the film is pretty much always drunk or stoned or both the entire plot seems to unfold in a bit of a haze. Those watching the film may come away feeling a little stoned themselves. Yet through the drug and alcohol-fueled haze this film does have a lot to recommend it. Most notably it has one of the most stunningly brilliant acting performances you could ever hope to see. Val Kilmer, playing Jim Morrison, is simply perfect in the role. It sounds clichéd but Kilmer really seems to become Morrison. The physical resemblance is eerie and their voices are so similar it is fairly impossible when listening to the film's soundtrack to figure out when exactly you're hearing Morrison and when you're hearing Kilmer. Tracing Morrison's journey from shy, reserved youth to manic, drugged-out rock god the performance by Kilmer is mesmerizing throughout.

As good as Kilmer is you can't help but feel that his performance deserved to be surrounded by a better film. The film might as well have been titled "Morrison" because it is much more the story of one man than it is the story of his band. And therein lies much of the problem because while Kilmer is undeniably terrific, Morrison, at least as he is portrayed in this film, is not a very sympathetic character. That shy, quiet guy we see on the beach at the film's beginning becomes a bit of a monster, at times almost completely unlikable. And since the film revolves entirely around Morrison it makes the film often hard to embrace. Many would argue that Morrison was unfairly portrayed here, not nearly as mean-spirited and hot-tempered as we are led to believe. The truth probably lies somewhere in between but the fact remains that in this film it is very hard to embrace Jim Morrison and as such it is very hard to completely embrace the film.

With the focus almost completely on Kilmer's Morrison the rest of the cast comes off as little more than bit players. Kyle MacLachlan as keyboardist Ray Manzarek has the most to do amongst the remaining band members and his performance is fine but it really gets swallowed up by the ever-present and always center stage Morrison. Meg Ryan, playing Morrison's longtime companion Pamela Courson, is allowed only to react to Morrison's antics and never establishes a character and identity of her own. Even when stoned out of her mind, as everybody in this film always seems to be, Pamela comes across as the wholesome girl next door who is, well, rather dull. Kathleen Quinlan has a more memorable turn as another woman in Morrison's life, Patricia Kennealy, who is anything but dull. But again her character is there only to serve Jim. It's always about Jim. Nobody could deny that Jim Morrison was the most captivating figure in The Doors. But as the film unfolds and you watch Morrison stumble from one stupor to the next you'll probably wish we could have spent a little more time with some of the other characters. This film version of Jim Morrison is a hard guy to love.

So in the end what are we left with? You get one awe-inspiring, magnificent performance but that performance overshadows everything else going on in the film. You get a fascinating life story but one that unfortunately proceeds mostly in a frustrating drug-induced haze. You certainly get a tremendous soundtrack with all of The Doors' most notable songs. Well, most of them anyway. There seems to be a real yin and yang with this movie. There is plenty that is very good about it, but all that is good seems to be balanced out by something which frustrates. Jim Morrison led an extraordinary life but this film which tells his tale ends up being rather ordinary.


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