Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.

Director:

Adrian Lyne
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Popularity
2,636 ( 108)
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Robbins ... Jacob
Elizabeth Peña ... Jezzie
Danny Aiello ... Louis
Matt Craven ... Michael
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Paul
Jason Alexander ... Geary
Patricia Kalember ... Sarah
Eriq La Salle ... Frank
Ving Rhames ... George
Brian Tarantina ... Doug
Anthony Alessandro Anthony Alessandro ... Rod
Brent Hinkley ... Jerry
S. Epatha Merkerson ... Elsa
Suzanne Shepherd ... Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron Doug Barron ... Group Leader
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Storyline

Jacob Singer is trying to make sense of his fractured life and memories. Plagued by hallucinations, flashbacks, and conspiracies, he struggles down a path to enlightenment from these manic strains. With nothing but support from friends and loved ones will he be able to push through the haze of his PTSD.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer's nightmare is that he isn't dreaming.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Adrian Lyne used the art of painters William Blake, H.R. Giger, and Francis Bacon and photographers Diane Arbus and Joel-Peter Witkin as his primary influences for the visual style of the film. See more »

Goofs

When Jacob's kidnapped and the car makes a turn, the shot is flipped - the car's plate is mirrored. See more »

Quotes

Jacob: You know you look like an angel, Louie? Like an overgrown cherub. Anyone ever tell you that?
Louis: [smiling] Yeah, you. Every time you see me.
Jacob: You're a lifesaver, Louie.
Louis: [smiling] Yeah, I know.
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Crazy Credits

The credits roll over a grainy black and white photo of Gabe and Jacob crossing the street together. See more »

Alternate Versions

Showtime Networks' The Movie Channel in the United States broadcast a version with the director's cuts included in March 1993. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

PLEASE MR. POSTMAN
Written by Robert Bateman (as R. Bateman) / Georgia Dobbins (as G. Dobbins) / William Garrett (as W. Garrett) / Brian Holland (as B. Holland) / Freddie Gorman (as F. Gorman)
Published by Jobete Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) / Stone Agate Music (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
original, scary, mesmerizing what more can I say?
27 September 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

For several years, there's a very trendy cinematographic genre. This is the "psychological fantastic". This genre is very successful as the movies: "the sixth sense" (1999), "what lies beneath" (2000) or "unbreakable" (2000) showed. All these movies must have been influenced by "Jacob's ladder". In this way, you can regard Adrian Lyne's movie as a precursory and innovative movie. Lyne achieved a masterstroke in an absolutely new genre for him. It means that you're very far from the atmosphere of "9 weeks and a half" or "fatal attraction".

"Jacob's ladder" is based on an outstanding screenplay including numerous weird details that increase the spectator's curiosity. It's precisely with the spectator that Lyne and Bruce Joel Robin, the scriptwriter play with. They take a malicious pleasure in getting the spectator lost in a real maze where seem to border dream and reality. Like Tim Robbins, you look for the clue to the mystery. This clue may be the chemist which Jacob's meeting at the refreshment bar truck. This chemist will lead the plot towards an amazing conclusion.

In Adrian Lyne's movie, there's also a part of the fantastic genre that is very well exploited: at first common and normal living conditions but that are little by little overcome by the unreal, the strange and the fear.

The movie also enjoys an outstanding performance to begin with Tim Robbins. A brilliant success and a movie that deserves to rank among the ten best fantastic movies of the nineties


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jacob's Ladder See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,500,760, 4 November 1990

Gross USA:

$26,118,851

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,118,851
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Carolco Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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