6.2/10
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50 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 »
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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
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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 »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dead student is named "Nick Lang", a name combining those of two directors famous for working in film noir, Nicholas Ray and Fritz Lang. One of the policemen is surnamed "Ulmer", a reference to another famous film noir director, Edgar G. Ulmer. The heroine is surnamed "Fuller", very likely a reference to Samuel Fuller. The name of the hero, "Dexter Cornell", may be drawn from two famous writers of noir fiction, Pete Dexter and Cornell Woolrich. See more »

Goofs

Dexter suddenly gains glasses when he first asks Sydney to join him for a date. 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

References Miracle on 34th Street (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

DON'T BANG THE DRUM
Written by Mike Scott & Karl Wallinger
Performed by The Waterboys
Courtesy of Ensign/Chrysalis Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic Sleeper Film.
5 April 2002 | by Howlin WolfSee all my reviews

"D.O.A" is an involving and entertaining little picture from start to finish. Dennis Quaid is at his caustic best; and Quaid is sadly one of the most underused talents in Hollywood. His then beau Meg Ryan also appears with him, but as is usually the case, doesn't really make much of an impact.

The film is stylishly directed throughout, drawing on a number of influences to capture its 'seamy' feel. Would you credit that it's actually directed by two people? The answer is no. The whole thing is superbly slick, from its innovative camerawork to its unabashed use of black and white photography. All these elements help to keep proceedings fresh.

Really the greatest thrill here is to be had with the dialogue, it's snappy yet intricate, doesn't waste a word and yet still manages to be entertaining. The screenplay for this is like a pocket work of art.

This went unnoticed by me for ages before I finally caught it late at night. If this is the first you've heard about it, don't leave it like I did! Catch it soon, it really is top-notch... !

If you're in the mood for a solid genre flick that manages to surprise at every turn, this really fits the bill.


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