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Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder

4.6 6
Director: Adrian Lyne

Cast: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello


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Jacob's Ladder was released on DVD by Artisan in 1998 as a "special edition." The anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer still shows some age and the Dolby Digital soundtrack is adequate, but Jacob's Ladder is not about state-of-the-art picture and sound; it is about the story. The commentary focuses on the small touches and changes that Adrian Lyne's


Jacob's Ladder was released on DVD by Artisan in 1998 as a "special edition." The anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer still shows some age and the Dolby Digital soundtrack is adequate, but Jacob's Ladder is not about state-of-the-art picture and sound; it is about the story. The commentary focuses on the small touches and changes that Adrian Lyne's involvement brought to the film. It's not bad as director commentaries go, but Artisan unfortunately did not consider including writer Bruce Joel Rubin on the track. Rubin comments plenty during the documentary, which seems like it was made at the time of the film, either for cable or a laserdisc release. The story behind Rubin's script is fascinating, the documentary thankfully focusing less on promoting the film and more on gaining a deeper understanding of it. The three deleted scenes are all valuable extensions of the story that were cut to streamline the narrative. They are presented with the choice of director commentary, but Lyne doesn't really go into specifics on the decision not to include them in the film. A trailer, a television spot, cast lists, and production information round things out. This isn't a flawless presentation of the film, but Artisan's commitment to "special edition" DVD makes the disc worthwhile.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Too dark and obscure to connect with mainstream audiences, Jacob's Ladder earned a devoted cult following based on its bizarre hallucinatory visuals and terrifying story of a Vietnam veteran apparently suffering a mental breakdown. The New York City inhabited by Jacob Singer is at first just a few degrees away from normal, but the differences make the viewer's flesh crawl. As he's exiting a subway, Jacob notices that the homeless man lying across the seats has a reptilian tail that slithers out of view; later, a nurse drops her cap to reveal a horn-like growth that is clearly inhuman. Whether these and the more extreme images that follow are figments of Jacob's henpecked imagination is open to audience interpretation. Although the film ultimately offers a satisfying explanation for the wartime mishap and subsequent demonization of Jacob's life, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, who scripted Ghost the same year, is clever enough to leave things open-ended. Director Adrian Lyne's ease with special effects, never previewed in such prior outings as Flashdance and Fatal Attraction, is that of an experienced horror director. The hospital/mental ward/afterworld purgatory he brings to twisted life near the end is both difficult to watch and impossible to look away from. Though all the supporting performances are strong, Tim Robbins has never been more nakedly emotional as the star of his own unrelenting nightmare.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; 16:9 widescreen version; 5.1 Dolby Digital audio; Digitally mastered; Reverse-spiral dual-layer disc; Interactive menus; Scene access; Spanish subtitles; Theatrical trailer; Production notes; Cast and crew information

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tim Robbins Jacob Singer
Elizabeth Peña Jezzie
Danny Aiello Louis
Matt Craven Michael
Ving Rhames George
Pruitt Taylor Vince Paul
Jason Alexander Geary
Macaulay Culkin Gabe
Patricia Kalember Sarah
Eriq La Salle Frank
Brian Tarantina Doug
Anthony Alessandro Rod
Brent Hinkley Jerry
Christopher John Fields Actor
Dennis Green Attendant
Brad Hamlet Actor
Chris Murphy Actor
S. Epatha Merkerson Elsa
Suzanne Shepherd Hospital Receptionist
Doug Barron Group Leader
Jan Saint Santa
Kisha Skinner Street Singer
Dion Simmons Street Singer
Patty Rosborough Drunk
Evan O'Meara Sam
Kyle Gass Tony
Gloria Irizarry Mrs. Carmichael
Lewis Black Jacob's Doctor
Raymond Anthony Thomas Policeman
Jaime Perry Field Medic
Michael Tomlinson Field Doctor
A.M. Marxuach Field Doctor
Antonia Rey Woman on Subway
John Patrick McLaughlin Army Officer
Bellina Logan Emergency Ward Nurse
Scott Cohen Resident Doctor
Davidson Thomson Evil Doctor
Brian Larkin Jed
B.J. Donaldson Eli
Thomas A. Carlin Doorman
Carol Schneider Nurse
Becky Ann Baker Nurse
Diane Kagan Nurse
Billie Neal Della
Mike Stokie Field Sergeant
James Ellis Reynolds E.M.T. Bearer
Byron Minns Orderly
Reggie Mc Fadden Partygoer
Stephanie Berry Partygoer
John-Martin Green Partygoer
Arleigh Richards Paul's Wife
Ann Pearl Gary Mourner
Barbara Gruen Mourner
Joe Quintero Street Kid
John Louis Fischer Machine Gunner
Alva Williams Masked Man
Elizabeth Abassi Hospital Patient
Nora Burns Hospital Patient
Alison Gordy Hospital Patient
Jessica Roberts Hospital Patient
Holly Kennedy Hospital Patient
Blanche Irwin Stuart Hospital Patient
Perry Lang Jacob's Assailant
Sam Coppola Taxi Driver
John Capodice Army Officer

Technical Credits
Adrian Lyne Director
R. Benson Songwriter
Joel Blasberg Screenwriter
Risa Bramon Casting
Connie Brink Special Effects
Jeremy Conway Art Director
Richard Dean Makeup
Steven Dewey Special Effects
Kathleen Dolan Set Decoration/Design
Dale Dye Consultant/advisor
FX Smith, Inc. Special Effects
W. Steven Graham Art Director
Billy Hopkins Casting
Maurice Jarre Score Composer
Mario Kassar Executive Producer
Jeffrey Kimball Cinematographer
Tod A. Maitland Sound/Sound Designer
Alan Marshall Producer
Ellen Mirojnick Costumes/Costume Designer
Brian Morris Production Designer
Musikwerks Special Effects
Phil Nelson Stunts
Tom Rolf Editor
Bruce Joel Rubin Associate Producer,Screenwriter
Gordon J. Smith Makeup Special Effects
Andrew G. Vajna Executive Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Credits [3:00]
2. Hell [3:36]
3. Escape [1:00]
4. Subway [2:17]
5. Bunsen Street [3:13]
6. Spiderweb [2:45]
7. Photos [4:42]
8. Incinerator [:48]
9. Back Problems [4:06]
10. Mr. Postman [1:26]
11. Dr. Carlson [4:23]
12. Demons [2:08]
13. Lifeline [2:43]
14. Dancing [3:12]
15. Fever [:58]
16. Freezing [1:43]
17. Nightmare [6:29]
18. Luck [1:25]
19. EVAC [3:02]
20. Occult [2:36]
21. Problems [3:23]
22. Detonate [1:52]
23. Funeral [3:34]
24. Red Tape [5:31]
25. Cover-Up [1:28]
26. Abduction [2:49]
27. Hospital [1:31]
28. "I'm Alive" [3:29]
29. Memories [7:02]
30. Artifacts [3:05]
31. Mirror [2:59]
32. The Ladder [2:45]
33. Chemistry [5:04]
34. Home [3:57]
35. Ascension [3:24]
36. End Credits [5:26]


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Jacob's Ladder 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very strange but very worthwhile film. If you can sit through the parts that seem to make no sense, the end will explain everything. The finale is both sad and uplifting at the same time. I found the dual narrative structure a little hard to follow at first, but it was great once I figured it out. While not exactly shocking, the ending may surprise you, and it will totally change your view of the story. I highly recommend this to fans of The Sixth Sense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember watching this movie when it came out in 1990, and being very confused. I only watched the movie, instead of viewing the details and listening to the dialogue. It took a couple of viewings, and television interview with the Director, for me to finally "get it". The basic plot is about a Vietnam veteran who is experiencing various visions of demons and other strange phenomena. Are the visions reality, or did the US government experiment on some of our US soldiers fighting in Vietnam? Hmm, would our government do that in the movies? The movie start off in Vietnam, then fast forwards to the present, and then flashes back to Vietnam at times throughout the movie. I really enjoyed the acting of Elizabeth Pena and Danny Aiello. I really like Danny, and wish there were more scenes of him in the movie. Ving Rhames is also in the movie, as one of Tim Robbins Vietnam buddies, and Jason Alexander of Seinfeld, as a lawyer. I would recommend a couple of viewings, as you will miss things the first time. All in all, I really enjoyed the movie, and learned to appreciate the ending. I know some people do not like it, but I liked the "choice" that Jacob Singer makes on where he ultimately goes!
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