1990s Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Published on December 30th, 2006 | by Chris


Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Movie by:
Adrian Lyne

Reviewed by:
On December 30, 2006
Last modified:October 4, 2012


A psycho conspiracy theory thriller you won't forget. Starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello.

jacobsladder I've always wanted to see "Jacob's Ladder" since it came out, and never had the opportunity. When it finally aired on HDNet Movies this past weekend I made a point of staying up and watching it. I'm glad I did.

I suppose you could say this isn't a "war movie" in the strictest sense, but it's premise relies on the Vietnam war experience of one Private Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins.) In fact the movie starts out with an ambush on his platoon's position by an unknown force.

And then it gets weird. And it keeps getting weirder. Part horror movie, part psychological thriller, part conspiracy movie, this thing just keeps your brain wondering just what the *@$% is going on! And it does it in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and sometimes hiding behind it.

I'm sitting here trying to come up with a way to explain it without spoiling it. If you have seen it you'll understand, if not then there is no other way than to see it. Period.

Tim Robbins as usual does an amazing job in his portrayal of Singer. Facing his angels and demons and trying to make sense of what is happening to him and his ex-army buddies. I will say that a big part of this revolves around him (seemingly) discovering that his unit was exposed to an experimental chemical agent that was supposed to make them better warriors, but had undesired effects. The film ends with a slide explaining that there are unconfirmed rumors that troops were actually exposed to a chemical called 'BX', but how that matters given the outcome of the movie really doesn't make any sense when you think about it.

When its over, you'll look back and see certain things that begin to make sense, especially when it comes to the whole angels-and-demons thing, and in particular Danny Aiello's role as Louis, Singers chiropractor.

Only tangentially a "war movie," "Jacob's Ladder" is an experience that must be seen to be understood.

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A Vietnam vet, back at home in New York City, finds himself losing his grip on reality, in a horrifying way; only his friend can help him.Genre: Feature Film-DramaRating: RRelease Date: 22-AUG-2006Media Type: DVD

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Manufacturer: Lions Gate
Original Release Date:
  • Tim Robbins
  • Elizabeth Peña
  • Danny Aiello
  • Matt Craven
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince


Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A+, August 28, 2017
D. Vick (Scottsdale, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
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Nightmarish story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 22, 2017
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I love it!!!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly GREAT movie---as underrated as any has ever been..., April 20, 2007
J. Lee (Birmingham, AL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jacob's Ladder (DVD)
I have loved this movie since seeing it upon its' initial theatrical release. Many sleepless nights (and views) later, I was able to begin to make some sense out what Jacob Singer was going through. As listed in the other reviews, this is not a movie for the 'casual' film-watcher, as it requires the viewers' full attention. The imagery is amazingly suggestive without being overt, and is one of my favorite elements---what you 'think' you see may sometimes be more psychologically terrifying than what you actually see...

But, this is NOT a horror film in the strictest sense, although it is horrifying, considering what Jacob Singer experiences. I am amazed, even here in 2007 how well this movie holds up in story, cinematography, acting, and general flow. It works itself into your brain and sets off a bomb inside, making you "live" through the mind of the protagonist, feeling his "ascension"...

If you've not seen this movie, then you've missed a real treat, but... Read more
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Jacob’s Ladder (1990) Chris

Summary: A psycho conspiracy theory thriller you won't forget. Starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Pena, Danny Aiello.


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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

2 Responses to Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

  1. Pingback: War Movie Blog | War Movies | Reviews and News

  2. William says:

    Does anyone check in here any more? I have thought and analyzed. I can explain the ending of this movie…Really!

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