6.1/10
9,050
49 user 34 critic

D.O.A. (1988)

A college professor's day: his top student allegedly commits suicide, his wife presents him with divorce papers and he overnights in a freshman girl's dorm. The next day: more murders around him. Will he find the killer in time?

Writers:

Charles Edward Pogue (screenplay), Charles Edward Pogue (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Big Easy (1986)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A corrupt lieutenant in the homicide division is threatened by the righteous DA while trying to solve a string of mysterious murders.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Ned Beatty
D.O.A. (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler
Suspect (1987)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a homeless man is accused of murdering a Justice Department file clerk, a public defender is tasked with mounting his legal defense.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Decades after, a son of a killer falls in love with a girl, which family's horrifying murder he saw in childhood.

Director: Steve Kloves
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, James Caan
The Presidio (1988)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A San Francisco civilian police detective is forced to work on a series of murders with his former enemy commanding officer while dating his daughter.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A couple fall in love despite the girl's pessimistic outlook. As they struggle to come to terms with their relationship, something supernatural happens that tests it.

Director: Norman René
Stars: Meg Ryan, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life's complexities after his college career is over.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe
Innerspace (1987)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A hapless store clerk must foil criminals to save the life of the man who, miniaturized in a secret experiment, was accidentally injected into him.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

During a joint dinner at the restaurant, the neighbors offer to exchange wives for one night. It was a joke, but only at first.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Kevin Spacey
Jagged Edge (1985)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wealthy woman is murdered in her beach house. The husband is allegedly knocked out first. He inherits all her inherited wealth. He has a female corporate lawyer, criminal prosecutor 4 years ago, represent him in court. Guilty?

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A wise-cracking husband and wife team of ex-Spies arrive in New Orleans on maternity leave with their baby girl. There they are hassled by muggers, the police and their FBI boss, who wants ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Fiona Shaw
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Quaid ... Dexter Cornell
Meg Ryan ... Sydney Fuller
Charlotte Rampling ... Mrs. Fitzwaring
Daniel Stern ... Hal Petersham
Jane Kaczmarek ... Gail Cornell
Christopher Neame ... Bernard
Robin Johnson ... Cookie Fitzwaring
Robert Knepper ... Nicholas Lang (as Rob Knepper)
Jay Patterson ... Graham Corey
Brion James ... Detective Ulmer
Jack Kehoe ... Detective Brockton
Elizabeth Arlen ... Elaine Wells
Karen Radcliffe Karen Radcliffe ... Jane Corey
William Forward ... Chief Resident
Lee Gideon Lee Gideon ... Mr. Fitzwaring
Edit

Storyline

Dexter Cornell, an English Professor, becomes embroiled in a series of murders involving people around him. Dexter has good reason to want to find the murderer but hasn't much time. He finds help and comfort from one of his students, Sydney Fuller. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone poisoned Dexter Cornell. He's got to find out who. He's got to find out why. He's got to find out now. In 24 hours, he'll be Dead On Arrival.

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 March 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead on Arrival See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,751,432, 20 March 1988

Gross USA:

$12,706,478

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,706,478
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White (some sequences)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the unpublished fiction novel manuscript written by student Nick Lang (Robert Knepper) was "Out of Whack". See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, Dex shoots the villain, who falls out of a window. Dex shot the villain in the front and the villain took several steps backwards without turning around. The next shot shows the villain very obviously jumping out of the window by running up to it facing forward and spinning around in the air. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dexter Cornell: I need to speak to Detective Ulmer
Desk Sergeant: What for?
Dexter Cornell: I need to report a crime
Desk Sergeant: What crime?
Dexter Cornell: A murder
Desk Sergeant: [confused] Who was murdered?
Dexter Cornell: [finally looks up at him] I Was
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Touchstone Logo is in black & white and the logo's flash is accompanied by a thunder clap. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Game k n b?: Episode dated 3 March 2007 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

REBEL YELL
Written by Billy Idol & Steve Stevens
Performed by Billy Idol
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Another One slipped by
4 December 2001 | by artbyjudeSee all my reviews

For all those people who believe the dialog is worth something, and who appreciate a farce that is clever enough for you to take it seriously, this movie will surprise you. It is not a 'whodunit' for people who can't aren't able to follow the verbal exchange of our hero, Professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid).

Cornell teaches in Southern California, near the tar pits. He has not published a novel in four years, his wife is divorcing him, he drinks a bit much, and is blessed or cursed with caustic wit, which he freely dispenses to his students. He has recommended a friend for advancement, and one bright young student has submitted a manuscript to him as an independent project. Cornell doesn't even want to read it, so gives it an "A", and pushes it to the side. Leaning back with a drink in his office he stares out the window, when the bright young student falls past his window on the way to meeting the sidewalk in a splat encounter.

Hal comes to talk, and they chat, drinking some more. The Cornell realizes that he HAS to read the manuscript, now. When he goes home, his wife is waiting with divorce papers. He drinks some more. She leaves, and he goes to a faculty affair, only to find her there. He drinks even more. And when his wife learns that the student is dead, she swoons, and he learns that she had been having an affair with the student. This of course prompts him to do some more serious drinking. The next morning he wakes up to find himself in the dorm room of one of his students, a freshman named Syd (Meg Ryan).

He feels worse than a hangover, goes to the doctor and learns that he has been poisoned, it is irreversible, and he has 24-48 hours to live. He doesn't have much time to find out who killed him, and there are sub-plots, motives, relationships and surprises at every turn, although everything makes sense at the end. All his discoveries and exchanges are adorned with sarcasm, dry wit and keen observations. Let's just say that this movie will give new meaning to the adage "publish or perish".

There are no bad performances in this movie. There are recurrent images, and symbolism used at careful intervals. Watch for the cracked glass, and images distorted through glass. Some of the camera shots are revolutionary for 1988, and some of the violent action is carefully and skillfully choreographed. The music is unobtrusive and appropriate, although occasionally it makes it's own statement, in song lyrics. The visuals in this flick are impressive.

If there are any failures, it is that the opening 20 minutes move a little slow, and nearly puts you to sleep. But the pacing picks up quickly, with just the right amount of exposition in between action segments.

There are no explicit sexual encounters, although there is violence and some bad language.

This is a writer's movie, and is best appreciated by those who have a sense of humor about their own success or failure. I do think if you take it seriously, you're already in big trouble.


10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 49 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed