7.5/10
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363 user 115 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
1,306 ( 1,213)
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

New York postal worker Jacob Singer is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Although his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adrian Lyne turned down directorial duties on The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) so he could direct Jacob's Ladder. His first choice for the role of Jacob Singer was Tom Hanks, but, by coincidence, Hanks turned down the film so he could make The Bonfire of the Vanities. See more »

Goofs

Louis shouts out for "Jacob Stinger" at one point when he is demanding Jacob's release from hospital. See more »

Quotes

Evil Doctor: Dream on!
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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 The Simpsons: The Squirt and the Whale (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

WHAT'S GOING ON
Written by Renaldo Benson (as R. Benson) / Al Cleveland (as A. Cleveland) / Marvin Gaye (as M. Gaye)
Published by Jobete Music Co., Inc. (ASCAP) / Stone Agate Music (BMI)
Performed by Marvin Gaye
Courtesy of Motown Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A film that sports technicality, a fresh plot, incredible editing and immersive characters
3 November 2004 | by Cubert_99See all my reviews

Jacobs Ladder is one of those rare films that throws you and your mind about like a ragdoll before giving you a bitter conclusion that turns everything upside down again. Forget Donnie Darko, that was mere childs play, this film is something else. Jacobs Ladder provides an experience so intimidating, brutal, wonderful and beautiful unparalleled to this day. This is something you have never seen or experienced before in film, and will probably never experience again.

Jacob Singer is a postal worker, who, through the brutal effects of Vietnam, mentally breaks down, and starts seeing demons following him, killing his friends, raping his wife...... Make no mistake, Jacobs Ladder is a grim film but behind its dark mask lies an uplifting message of hope, freedom and mental release. I wont say anymore, because spoiling the plot for you would be extremely horrible of me, who am i to take away the magic of seeing the film from you.

I'm not going to say that this is accessible to everyone, its not in the least. If your favourite film is American Pie than turn away, this is REAL film making. A lot of people will not like this, because they will expect, like with most films, to have all the answers served to them on a plate. Jacobs Ladder requires the viewer to do the thinking, letting them have their own perceptions of the film rather then being fed that of the directors. If you do choose to go on Jacobs journey with him be warned, it wont always be pretty, but you will come out of it gratified that for once in film you have the freedom to think for yourself.


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