6.1/10
8,956
48 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

Gross USA:

$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 length of time since Professor Dexter Cornell (Dennis Quaid) had written his last novel was a long four years. 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

TIE A YELLOW RIBBON 'ROUND THE OLD OAK TREE
Written by Irwin Levine & L. Russell Brown (as Larry Brown)
See more »

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User Reviews

Remake of a classic which just doesn't even come close to the required standard.
2 October 2004 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

D.O.A has a good premise, borrowed from a 1950 film of the same name and a 1969 film entitled Color Me Dead. But beyond the premise it fails to develop into anything worthwhile. The script mistakes ludicrousness for cleverness; the directors peculiarly seem to think they're making a pop video rather than a film; and Dennis Quaid puts on a weird grin and raises his eyebrows maniacally as if he's auditioning as a Jack Nicholson impersonator. It's good for a laugh but, since that wasn't the original intention, it's hard to rate this as a worthwhile film.

English lecturer Dexter Cornell (Quaid) is a bitter, bored shell of a man. Formerly a great author, he never recovered from the critical failure of his fourth and final novel and vowed never to write again. Without the drive of writing to fill his life, he gave up on everything else too, including his marriage and his dedication to the job. When pupil Nick Lang (Rob Knepper) apparently commits suicide after handing in an assignment, Cornell hits the booze to get over the shock. But soon thereafter, he learns that he has drunk a slow-acting poison, and that within 48 hours he will be dead. So close to death, he finally finds a renewed purpose in being alive.... as, aided by student Sydney Fuller (Meg Ryan), he desperately attempts to solve his own "murder".

It's such a good idea that one can hardly imagine how it could fail. But it does. It really, really does fail in a big way. All the pointlessly fancy camera angles, all the inappropriate musical scoring, and especially the jaw-droppingly stupid solution to the mystery, conspire to ruin the film. D.O.A stands for "Dead On Arrival", and that's the perfect adjectival phrase for the entire film. Some day, this wonderful idea for a film might be used once again to better effect, but for now you'd be best advised to stick with the 1950 version.


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