88 user 35 critic

Brainstorm (1983)

Brilliant researchers Lillian Reynolds and Michael Brace have developed a system of recording and playing back actual experiences of people. Once the capability of tapping into "higher ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
... Michael Brace
... Karen Brace
... Lillian Reynolds
... Alex Terson
... Gordy Forbes
... Landan Marks
... Robert Jenkins
... Hal Abramson
Bill Morey ... James Zimbach
... Chris Brace
... Security Technician
... Chef
Stacey Kuhne-Adams ... Andrea
John Hugh ... Animal Lab Technician
... Barry (as David Wood)


Brilliant researchers Lillian Reynolds and Michael Brace have developed a system of recording and playing back actual experiences of people. Once the capability of tapping into "higher brain functions" is added in, and you can literally jump into someone else's head and play back recordings of what he or she was thinking, feeling, seeing, etc., at the time of the recording, the applications for the project quickly spiral out of control. While Michael Brace uses the system to become close again to Karen Brace, his estranged wife who also works on the project, others start abusing it for intense sexual experiences and other logical but morally questionable purposes. The government tries to kick Michael and Lillian off the project once the vast military potential of the technology is discovered. It soon becomes obvious that the government is interested in more than just missile guidance systems. The lab starts producing mind torture recordings and other psychosis inducing material. When ... Written by Eric van bezooijen <eric@webmethods.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...The Ultimate Experience See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Gordon Forbes Tapes  »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,196,965, 2 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Natalie Wood died before filming was complete, thus the ending had to be constructed from scenes shot earlier. The film was dedicated to her memory. See more »


At the beginning of the film, when they are calibrating the system, Lillian asks Michael what he sees, and he replies, "Clockwise rotation." However, the two superimposed images of the test pattern are rotating counter-clockwise. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: Can you see better if I move it a little closer?
Dr. Michael Anthony Brace: I can see something. It's parts of the grid, but it's still rotating. It's not locking up.
Hal Abramson: Maybe we all need a little break, Lillian.
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: Hal, you take a break.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the final credit has rolled, 'TO NATALIE' appears for a couple seconds See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'Event Horizon' (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Karen, look at the stars!
23 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

There's something magical about "Brainstorm". If it's the plot, the music, Christoper Walken, i don't know. But this one changed my digital lifestyle.

"Brainstorm" feels like a farsighted dot.com commercial to me, way before the web was won. OK, merchandised mind reading technology. Well, that was a doubtlessly stunning plot. But gee, this guy hooked a mobile (!) PC to some company's intra-net via phone line (!), just like operating a fax machine! Far out, THAT was cool and sensational! I was completely struck, and the next day i got me an acoustic coupling device, "communication software" and online i went, visiting "mailboxes" with my 1MHz IBM compatible. On 300 baud/sec. Or 0,003 MBit in contemporary terminology. The digits dropped in, one by one, and i felt sooo hip. Some months later i was the first person i knew doing online banking, and my friends considered me not hip but eccentric. However, it took me 20 years to actually purchase a mobile PC, because i needed slots slots slots *lol*...

By the time "Brainstorm" was made, being online was for nerds. The technological "atmosphere" held not the faintest haze of what we know now as the world-wide-web, turning the most remote and separate corners of the world into one global village.

The idea of sharing sensual impressions by technical means is not necessarily new, as plenty of sci-fi authors (especially of east-European origin) dealt with that before. "Brainstorm" was just too cool in depicting the consequences of such-alike machinery: elder men going nuts with looped orgasms, children haphazardly checking out tapes with psychotic episodes, deliberately tracked death experiences locked away by military, a black market of ethically questionable contents etc.

We're working on it, i guess. In fact, we're working on everything that mother nature won't supply voluntarily. Weird we are. The only question is: helmets or implants?

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