Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.

Director:

Adrian Lyne
Reviews
Popularity
2,636 ( 108)
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Anthony Alessandro ... Rod
Brent Hinkley ... Jerry
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Elsa
Suzanne Shepherd ... Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron Doug Barron ... Group Leader
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Storyline

Jacob Singer is trying to make sense of his fractured life and memories. Plagued by hallucinations, flashbacks, and conspiracies, he struggles down a path to enlightenment from these manic strains. With nothing but support from friends and loved ones will he be able to push through the haze of his PTSD.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The confrontation between Jacob and Geary originally takes place in a courtroom corridor. Lyne moved them to the stairs in order to downplay the height difference between Tim Robbins (who is 6' 5") and Jason Alexander (who is 5' 5"). See more »

Goofs

Louis shouts out for "Jacob Stinger" at one point when he is demanding Jacob's release from hospital. See more »

Quotes

Jacob Singer: They weren't human.
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Crazy Credits

The credits roll over a grainy black and white photo of Gabe and Jacob crossing the street together. See more »

Alternate Versions

After initial test audiences reported that the film was overwhelming, director Adrian Lyne cut out twenty minutes of material, almost all of which came from the last third of the film. Four major sequences were removed after Jacob first meets Michael; a scene where Michael gives him an antidote for the Ladder, a scene where Jacob thinks he is cured but turns out not to be; a scene where he goes to Michael's apartment and finds Michael decapitated; and a scene just prior to his final meeting with Gabe, where he meets Jezzie, who shows her true form. See more »

Connections

References Carnival of Souls (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

WHAT'S GOING ON
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
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant! On par with Kubrick!
26 July 2004 | by lbkSee all my reviews

Jacob's Ladder is a masterpiece. Nothing less.

It has a highly intelligent plot though not difficult or artsy and is void of cliches. It therefore confuses and aggravates many viewers and professional reviewers always wanting a standard has-it-all Hollywood outpouring.

It is so few films that leaves room for independent thoughts. Jacob's Ladder tumbles your mind the same way a dream of your own does. I have never felt this effect in a film so strong before. The images comes pouring in and your brain tries to make sense of it. Whenever you think you have a grasp it slides away again.

The brilliance of the progression of the story, twists and turns, and the final explanation, so obvious but elusive as real dreams are, makes it on par with the best of Kubrick.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jacob's Ladder See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,500,760, 4 November 1990

Gross USA:

$26,118,851

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,118,851
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Carolco Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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