7.5/10
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358 user 114 critic

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

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1:46 | Trailer

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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.

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3,197 ( 318)
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jacob
... Jezzie
... Louis
... Michael
... Paul
... Geary
... Sarah
... Frank
... George
... Doug
Anthony Alessandro ... Rod
... Jerry
... Elsa
... Hospital Receptionist
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:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dante's Inferno  »

Filming Locations:

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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Adrian Lyne, the drug aspect of the story was inspired by the Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain book, "Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and Sixties Rebellion". See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Michael: I'd only been in jail 13 hours, I thought 'Nam couldn't be any worse.
Jacob Singer: Shows how little you knew.
Michael: Yeah, really.
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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

Features To Tell the Truth (1969) 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

Way before Shyamalan came on board, Adrian Lyne had blown the collective consciousness!
9 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

One "reviewer" here wrote (I presume) in all seriousness "Like a bad dream - impossible to understand!" That being the case, I can only describe his subsequent attempt to compile a review as "gutsy" in the extreme.

I believe JACOB'S LADDER is one of the 10 best films ever made. It is NOT impossible to understand...you merely have to listen and interpret! For those without the ability to effect the latter...just listen! Danny Aiello's character, Louis the chiropracter lays it out for you - word for word. I think it is the best part Aiello ever had, small one though it is in terms of screen time. Integral to a collective grasp of this great and disturbing film however is the need to tie-in the relationship between Jacob the individual, the biblical "Jacob's Ladder" itself and the relevance of "The Ladder" as explained (and seemingly forgotten by most everybody) by the runty chemical weapons boffin at the near conclusion of the film.

To those who view the ending as "rushed," "unsatisfying," "obscure" even "dumb" as I recall, I would merely suggest you watch it again and take into account the likelihood is, that it is in fact YOU that has missed what has been so cleverly set out for you. SIGNS was equally misunderstood by the majority of people that even liked it - there never WERE any aliens!

JACOB'S LADDER is Robbins' greatest film - Lyne's too. The last few minutes are amongst the most emotional and uplifting scenes I have ever seen since the "star child" in 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY. Culkin was the perfect choice!

I saw this movie in a near deserted theater in Times Square the week it came out. At the conclusion of this particular late show I noticed an old man sitting some two rows away to my left, absorbed in his thoughts. Having to walk past him to gain the exit I noticed tears in his eyes. He looked up as I approached. After studying me for a moment all he said to me was "You understood didn't you?" I said, "Yes I understood!" He replied softly..."You're very lucky!"


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