7.5/10
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368 user 122 critic

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

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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
Reviews
Popularity
2,181 ( 29)
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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dante's Inferno See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,500,760, 4 November 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$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 Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For all of the chiropractor scenes, director Adrian Lyne ensured there was a real chiropractor on-set, who would work with actor Danny Aiello so as to ensure authenticity. According to Lyne, chiropractors often approach him and thank him for going to the trouble of getting what they do exactly right. See more »

Goofs

To match the direction of movement, a shot of the Ford LTD racing around a corner has been flopped, but the license plate, which is now in reverse, is visible. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Animaniacs: Video Review/When Mice Ruled the Earth (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

MY THANG
Written by James Brown (as J. Brown)
Published by Unichappell Music (BMI)
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Anguishing, Intriguing, Original, Unique
7 October 2006 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

On 06 Oct 1971, in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, the American soldier Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is wounded by a bayonet during an attack to his platoon. He wakes up in New York subway while going home late night after working overtime in the post office. He is divorced from Sarah (Patricia Kalember), lives with his colleague and lover Jezebel (Elizabeth Peña) is a small apartment in Brooklyn and misses his young son Gabe (Macaulay Culkin), who died in an accident where Jacob feels responsible for. Along the next days, Jacob is chased by demons and finds conspiracy in the army, while having different visions of different moments of his life.

Yesterday I saw "The Jacket" and I decide to see once more "Jacob's Ladder", maybe for the fifth time. This anguishing and intriguing story is one of the most original and unique I have ever seen, and has been plagiarized many times mainly in the foregoing mentioned "The Jacket". Tim Robbins gives another top-notch performance in the role of a troubled man resolving his life, due to the feeling of guilty for the loss of his younger son. Bruce Joel Rubin, who also wrote and produced "Ghost", "Jacob's Ladder" and "My Life", shows that is very connected with spiritual issues, approaching this theme in his films. The Brazilian title of this movie, "Alucinações do Passado" ("Hallucinations From the Past"), wrongly induces the viewer and destroys the dubious sense of the original title: Jacob is the lead character, "Ladder" is the name of the experiment his platoon and him had been submitted in Vietnam; but the interpretation of "Jacob's Ladder" in the Bible is that this is the only means to reach the total ecstasy, the plenitude, however, we need first supersede the obstacles that we find in our ascension. Further, "Jacob experienced a vision in which he saw a ladder reaching into heaven with angels going up and down it, a vision that is commonly referred to as Jacob's Ladder" (from "Wikipedia"). Another interesting aspect is that all the characters have biblical names. For example, Jezebel is considered the most wicked woman in the entire Bible (the character of Elizabeth Peña was responsible for the separation of Jacob and Sarah and maybe he was blaming her for keeping him far from his family); and Gabriel is the angel that explained signs from God and announced the conception, birth, and mission of Jesus to Mary. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Alucinações do Passado" ("Hallucinations From the Past")

Note: On 19 May 2009, I saw this movie again, now on DVD.


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