A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.

Director:

Tobe Hooper

Writers:

Steven Spielberg (screenplay by), Michael Grais (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,146 ( 316)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Craig T. Nelson ... Steve Freeling
JoBeth Williams ... Diane Freeling (as Jobeth Williams)
Beatrice Straight ... Dr. Lesh
Dominique Dunne ... Dana Freeling
Oliver Robins ... Robbie Freeling
Heather O'Rourke ... Carol Anne Freeling
Michael McManus ... Ben Tuthill
Virginia Kiser ... Mrs. Tuthill
Martin Casella ... Marty
Richard Lawson ... Ryan
Zelda Rubinstein ... Tangina
James Karen ... Mr. Teague
Lou Perryman Lou Perryman ... Pugsley (as Lou Perry)
Clair E. Leucart Clair E. Leucart ... Bulldozer Driver (as Clair Leucart)
Dirk Blocker ... Jeff Shaw
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Storyline

A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The first real ghost story. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Poltergeist series has long been the subject of a legend that holds that there is a "curse" associated with it, largely because of four cast member deaths that occurred between 1982 and 1988. Of these four deaths, however, only one could be called "unnatural" in any way - the 1982 death of 22-year-old Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling in the first movie). Dunne was murdered by her ex-boyfriend when he strangled her after she rebuffed his attempt to reconcile. Of the other three deaths, all were the results of long-term, chronic illnesses: Julian Beck (Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)) died in 1985 after a long battle with stomach cancer; Will Sampson (Taylor in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)) died of complications from a heart-lung transplant; and Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne in all three movies) died in 1988 at age 12 from cardiac arrest caused by septic shock from a bowel obstruction caused by intestinal stenosis after being misdiagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 1987. Of the other main cast members in the first three movies (for example, JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Tom Skerritt, Nancy Allen, etc.) most are still alive as of 2020. See more »

Goofs

During Steve's interview by Dr. Lesh in her office at the university, Steve reveals age of his family: Diane is 32 years old, Dana 15, Robbie 9 and Carol Anne 5. In the assumption that Steve didn't committed a mistake confusing 32 with the more plausible 42, this would imply (taking the year of the movie) that Diane was pregnant of Dana in 1967 at 16 years old and that Dana was born when she was 17. It means when she still was a teenager. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Carol Anne Freeling: Hello? What do you look like? Talk louder, I can't hear you! Hey, hello! Hello, I can't hear you! Five. Yes. Yes. I don't know. I don't know.
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Crazy Credits

After the credits and the logo of the MGM lion is shown, we hear children laughing. Fans of the film have assumed that the laughing children are those who have been released from the beast and have crossed over the threshold into the next life. See more »

Alternate Versions

For ABC's 1985 network television premiere, Marty's hallucination is altered so instead of him ripping his own face off, he sees his face rapidly deteriorate briefly. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Light / The Tree (Outtakes)
(uncredited)
Written, Music and Performed by Jerry Goldsmith
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User Reviews

 
"They're heeeere!"
21 January 2017 | by PredragReviewsSee all my reviews

Sometimes to judge a film fairly you really need to consider the time at which it was made and what film-making technology existed at that time. This was the first big budget film to really tackle the subject of paranormal investigation, and at the time it was made it was seamless and sleek. It would be easy for people today to put it down for some of the early 1980's effects, but let's flip this perspective around and consider that no CGI what-so-ever was used. But at the same time, "Poltergeist" has a strangely family-friendly vibe. It was directed by Tobe Hooper, but it has the unmistakable fingerprints of producer/writer Steven Spielberg all over it. It focuses on an ordinary, harmless suburban family living their usual lives (their biggest problem is the death of a pet bird), which is suddenly thrown into chaos by outside forces. And unlike most horror movies, there isn't even a lot of violence... well, except for one grotesque hallucination.

Don't expect the usual gore and typical shocks you see in all modern horror films these days, Poltergeist is not about that. With all of the elements of visual effects, sound, acting, directing (Tobe Hooper) and writers (Steven Spielberg) this is one film that achieves everything you want to see in a motion picture. Anyway, Jo Beth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are great in this film. They have real chemistry. You believe they love each other and are a team. The kids are pretty great, too. It's actually quite a thoughtful movie and even has an odd warmth to it. Though there are a few scary moments. The final fifteen minutes are played out to such effect, that one could call it pure horror.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Poltergeist See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,896,612, 6 June 1982

Gross USA:

$77,142,388

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$77,142,388
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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