Phenomenon (1996)

PG  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Romance  |  3 July 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 61,347 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 113 user | 52 critic | 17 from

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.



(as Gerald Dipego)
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7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Prof. John Ringold
Dr. Wellin
Al Pennamin
Ashley Buccille ...
Glory Pennamin
FBI Agent Jack Hatch (as Bruce Young)
Ted Rhome


John Travolta plays George Malley, who owns the local auto repair shop in a small California town. After celebrating his birthday with friends at the local bar/hang-out, George heads for home. He pauses to watch a strange light in the sky, then collapses for a few seconds in the middle of the deserted street. In the days and weeks that follow, George finds his IQ and consciousness expanding dramatically, and develops telekinetic abilities. Despite his attempts to explain what has happened to him, with just a very few exceptions, most of the local townspeople treat the "new" George as a freak. His state of isolation becomes even more pronounced when his new-found abilities allow him to correctly predict an earthquake, and outside authorities become interested in what's happened to him. Written by - written by: R. Merriman <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Some things in life just can't be explained.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and mild sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fenomen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,200,000 (USA) (5 July 1996)


JPY 144,935,600 (Japan) (24 January 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sean Penn, Ed Harris and Jason Patric were considered for the lead role. See more »


When George uses the tape recorder to record the Morse code signals, there's no tape in the recorder. See more »


Doc: Every woman has her chair, something she needs to put herself into, Banes. You ever figure out what Lisa's chairs were and buy 'em?
Doc: Nope. But, you're right about one thing, George never changed.
See more »


Referenced in Conversations with Jon Turteltaub (2000) See more »


Written by Taj Mahal and J.E. Davis
Performed by Taj Mahal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An Inspiration!
6 September 2001 | by (Iowa) – See all my reviews

An ex-girlfriend talked me into seeing this movie, and I am happy she did. In my opinion, John Travolta deserved at least a nomination for an Oscar here, if not the award itself. The story was decent, but the performances of Travolta, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall, and Kyra Sedgwick made me care about what was happening on the screen. By no means is this a romantic comedy. It's romantic, probably the most romantic film I have seen in a long time. The reason for that is's real. In most movies you see the main characters sleep together within a day at the most, which rarely happens with two people who are really in love. True love has to take time and effort, which is exactly what you see here. Travolta's George is patient, but not because he wants to be. If you're a romantic at heart you will understand and relate to him, and you will hope for his success as you would for your own. Without giving anything away, I will tell you that the ending is sad, but also heartwarming. George has his "experience" for no other reason than to suggest what we as humans can become. Phenomenon is a story about our potential, the good and bad things that can happen to us if we achieve it. We could only be so lucky, and watching the movie is a good start. I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

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