6.3/10
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73 user 74 critic

Dreamscape (1984)

A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by a government agency experimenting with the use of the dream-sharing technology and is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president.

Director:

Joseph Ruben

Writers:

David Loughery (story), David Loughery (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Quaid ... Alex Gardner
Max von Sydow ... Doctor Paul Novotny
Christopher Plummer ... Bob Blair
Eddie Albert ... The President
Kate Capshaw ... Jane DeVries
David Patrick Kelly ... Tommy Ray Glatman
George Wendt ... Charlie Prince
Larry Gelman ... Mr. Webber
Cory 'Bumper' Yothers Cory 'Bumper' Yothers ... Buddy
Redmond Gleeson Redmond Gleeson ... Snead
Peter Jason ... Babcock
Chris Mulkey ... Finch
Jana Taylor Jana Taylor ... Mrs. Webber
Madison Mason ... Fred Schoenstein
Kendall Carly Browne Kendall Carly Browne ... Mrs. Matusik
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Storyline

A government funded project looks into using psychics to enter people's dreams, with some mechanical help. When a subject dies in his sleep from a heart attack Alex Gardner becomes suspicious that another of the psychics is killing people in the dreams somehow and that is causing them to die in real life. He must find a way to stop the abuse of the power to enter dreams. Written by Zaphod <aaa@scs.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Alex Gardner has an extraordinary gift. To keep it may cost him his life... See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dreamscape See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,257,627, 19 August 1984

Gross USA:

$12,145,169

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,145,169
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Costner was offered the role of Tommy Ray Glatman but turned it down because he did not want to play a supporting role. See more »

Goofs

Although the movie is fictitious, the underlying premise is completely absurd in that if someone dies in their dream, they die in real life. Millions of people all over the world have reported that they have died in their dreams, and at the moment of death in their dreams, they simply woke up. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Ray Glatman: Help me, Help me! There he is! He's the one who pushed the button. He did this to you!
[shouting]
Tommy Ray Glatman: He did this to you! He did this to you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

A brief shot of topless nudity from Kate Capshaw during the love sequence on the train with Dennis Quaid was cut from the film in the US in order to secure a PG-13 rating. The scene is uncut in European prints of the movie. The scene is not present on the R1 Image Entertainment Special Edition DVD although the commentary makes reference to nudity in the scene. See more »


Soundtracks

Baby, Can't We Take It Home
Composed and Produced by Craig Huxley (as Craig Hundley)
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User Reviews

 
A great low-budget genre-melder
10 February 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

Years after studying Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) for his psychic abilities, Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) tracks him down to talk him into experimenting with psychic dream research. However, higher ups in the dream research program may have ulterior, nefarious motives.

Dreamscape may be a good candidate for "most misleading poster art". The theatrical poster, which is also the DVD cover, suggests a kid-oriented, slightly hokey adventure film--perhaps a combination of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), The Neverending Story (1984) and "The Hardy Boys Mysteries" (1977). Not that the combination sounds like a bad idea to me, but this film is much more adult, much more sci-fi, and more of a thriller. It's not really an adventure, although some of the dream material could be seen that way. The tone, if not content, is closer to something like Coma (1978), and later films like Flatliners (1990) and The Cell (2000), the latter being obviously influenced by Dreamscape. It also has a bit of the bizarre surrealist tone of late-1970s fare such as Phantasm (1979) (and this aspect also influenced films like The Cell).

Part of the reason the films works as well as it does is the cast. Dennis Quaid carries the film, frequently injecting enjoyable comic relief. Max von Sydow is always excellent. Kate Capshaw, as Jane DeVries, is also good as the research assistant and Alex' love interest. Although they're underused, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, George Wendt and David Patrick Kelly all turn in superb performances as well.

Director Joseph Ruben frequently treats us to great dream sequences, with often-subtle touches. Note, for example, the different colors upon entering different persons' dreams. For the relatively benign construction worker, the entry is blue. For the child troubled with nightmares, there is a complex of colors. For Jane, who is giving Alex the cold shoulder, the color is an icy silver-white. Although the film was relatively low budget, and effects relatively primitive at the time, I thought all of the effects worked well. I even loved the part stop-motion, part guy-in-a-costume snake-man. At times the stop motion work briefly resembled Harryhausen. I especially loved the more surreal and more horrific aspects of the dreamworlds, such as we see from Eddie Albert's character, the expressionistic sets for the child's dream, the zombies, and so on.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Dreamscape is also much more effective on the suspense/thriller end than I expected it to be. There are a few great chase scenes, and one brutal (though not graphic) murder on-screen, one off-screen. It was also steamier than I expected in one section.


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