7.2/10
2,289
62 user 17 critic

The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber, an assigned psychiatrist, discovers the gift to be real and ... See full summary »

Directors:

Fred Barzyk, David R. Loxton (as David Loxton)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Lathe of Heaven (TV Movie 2002)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In a near future society, a man claims that his dreams physically change reality. His therapist is confused at first, but soon decides to use him for his own gain.

Director: Philip Haas
Stars: James Caan, Lukas Haas, Lisa Bonet
The Starlost: The Beginning (TV Movie 1980)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Three farmers in Cypress Corners discover that farm life is not so simple. Discovering a hidden door in the earth, they break through it, discovering they are not on Earth, but in a giant ... See full summary »

Director: Harvey Hart
Stars: Keir Dullea, Robin Ward, Gay Rowan
Communion (1989)
Biography | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Whitley Strieber goes with his family and some friends to his holiday home in the forest. They experience some weird occurances, are they UFO activity? Whitley is abducted and then faces a ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Mora
Stars: Christopher Walken, Lindsay Crouse, Frances Sternhagen
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mute alien with the appearance of a black human is chased by outer-space bounty hunters through the streets of Harlem.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Rosanna Carter
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Davison ... George Orr
Peyton E. Park Peyton E. Park ... Mannie Ahrens (as Peyton Park)
Niki Flacks Niki Flacks ... Penny Crouch
Kevin Conway ... Dr. William Haber
Vandi Clark Vandi Clark ... Aunt Ethel
Bernedette Whitehead ... George's Mother (as Bernadette Whitehead)
Jo Livingston Jo Livingston ... George's Father
Jane Roberts Jane Roberts ... Grandmother
Tom Matts Tom Matts ... Grandfather
Frank Miller Frank Miller ... Parole Officer
Joye Nash Joye Nash ... Woman on Subway
Gena Sleete Gena Sleete ... Woman on Subway
Margaret Avery ... Heather LeLache
Ben McKinley III Ben McKinley III ... Orderlie
R.A. Mihailoff ... Orderlie
Edit

Storyline

George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber, an assigned psychiatrist, discovers the gift to be real and hypnotically induces Mr. Orr to change reality for the benefit of mankind --- with bizarre and frightening results. Written by Will Briggs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Thirteen/WNET

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La rueda celeste See more »

Filming Locations:

Agate Beach, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Unseen for twenty years because of a copyright issue: in one scene, George Orr plays a record of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." The film was finally allowed to be rebroadcast when The Beatles' version of the song was replaced with one sung by a different vocalist. See more »

Goofs

On the government water distribution tanker truck, the word "mobile" is misspelled "MOBIL". See more »

Quotes

[Quoting Chuang Tse.]
George Orr: Those whom heaven helps we call the sons of heaven. They do not learn this by learning. They do not work it by working. They do not reason it by using reason. To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

With a Little Help from My Friends
(uncredited)
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A must see for science fiction fans - be careful what you dream about
12 March 2001 | by DilipSee all my reviews

I had public television on several days ago (March 10, 2001) and "Lathe of Heaven" was starting on their series "Movies Worth Taping". I'm glad I happened to turn the TV on, as it was a movie well worth watching! It was made in 1987 as the first made-for-public-TV film, and is based on a novel by Ursula Le Guin.

This movie explores the notion of "effective dreaming", where one's dreams actually come true. It explores the strange dreams of George Orr (Bruce Davison). When he has these dreams, he wakes to find that his dreamt-up situations are now not only reality, but other people suddenly have adapted as if this reality has been with the world for some time.

George is traumatized by these dreams, and seeks the help of Dr. William Haber (Kevin Conway). Dr. Haber's intentions are good, to harness the power of these effective dreams to the betterment of the world, but he clearly abuses the doctor-patient relationship and hypnotizes George to have specific kinds of dreams. One motto of this film might be "be careful what you dream about"!

I found the special effects sometimes interesting, but often heavy-handed and not so smoothly executed. The setting, sometime in the near future in Portland, Oregon, was inexplicably dreary, beyond the rain that the city is well known for. The character development could have been stronger, with ancillary characters like Dr. Haber's secretary and the very few others seeming to be made out of cardboard and lacking emotion. George and Heather LeLache (Margaret Avery), however, enjoyed more solid and believable depictions.

In spite of these criticisms, the film was an exciting journey into inner space that indulges us to think about deep philosophical questions. What is reality? Are there parallel realities? What is or should be knowable about the nature of existence (to me reminiscent a bit of "2010", one of my favorite science fiction films)? What happens if we dream each other into or out of reality? "The greatest good for the greatest number" or rights of the individual? Can we design a utopia or will we be doomed to experience accidents we never considered that render such a proposed utopia much less than ideal? "The Lathe of Heaven" doesn't have the fresh and exciting visual effects of earlier science fiction films like "2001" or later ones, but is an interesting film that is a must see for science fiction fans.


13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed