7.1/10
2,491
65 user 17 critic

The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

In a highly controlled and overpopulated society, a man who has terrifying dreams that affect reality is assigned a psychiatrist who takes advantage of the situation.

Directors:

Fred Barzyk, David R. Loxton (as David Loxton)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The night that this was first broadcast, there was a major power outage in the Pacific Northwest, which meant that author Ursula K. Le Guin was unable to watch the film based on her own book on its first run. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

George Orr: Oh, my God... I just killed six billion people...
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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
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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.


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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:

Highland Park, Texas, 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 »

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