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Brainstorm (1983)

Researchers develop a system where they can jump into people's minds. But when people involved bring their personal problems into the equation, it becomes dangerous - perhaps deadly.

Director:

Douglas Trumbull

Writers:

Bruce Joel Rubin (story), Robert Stitzel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Walken ... Michael Brace
Natalie Wood ... Karen Brace
Louise Fletcher ... Lillian Reynolds
Cliff Robertson ... Alex Terson
Jordan Christopher ... Gordy Forbes
Donald Hotton ... Landan Marks
Alan Fudge ... Robert Jenkins
Joe Dorsey ... Hal Abramson
Bill Morey Bill Morey ... James Zimbach
Jason Lively ... Chris Brace
Darrell Larson ... Security Technician
Lou Walker ... Chef
Stacey Kuhne-Adams Stacey Kuhne-Adams ... Andrea
John Hugh John Hugh ... Animal Lab Technician
Ira David Wood III ... Barry (as David Wood)
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Storyline

Brilliant researchers Lillian Reynolds and Michael Brace have developed a system of recording and playing back actual experiences of people. Once the capability of tapping into "higher brain functions" is added in, and you can literally jump into someone else's head and play back recordings of what he or she was thinking, feeling, seeing, etc., at the time of the recording, the applications for the project quickly spiral out of control. While Michael Brace uses the system to become close again to Karen Brace, his estranged wife who also works on the project, others start abusing it for intense sexual experiences and other logical but morally questionable purposes. The government tries to kick Michael and Lillian off the project once the vast military potential of the technology is discovered. It soon becomes obvious that the government is interested in more than just missile guidance systems. The lab starts producing mind torture recordings and other psychosis inducing material. When ... Written by Eric van bezooijen <eric@webmethods.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...The Ultimate Experience See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gordon Forbes Tapes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,196,965, 2 October 1983

Gross USA:

$10,219,460

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,219,460
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The corporate board demo is seen to be taking place over an acoustic coupled modem, using a then-standard telephone handset. Such connections were limited to about 300 bits per second, or less than 40 characters of text per second. Such a speed is barely adequate for a text-based 80x25 terminal screen without any graphics. A fax transmission at the lowest usable resolution over such a line would require many minutes for a single image. See more »

Goofs

When Lillian is recording her death, the tape reel is almost empty and it only records for about 30 seconds. After the funeral, when Brace and Hal are in the lab , the reel on the table is full. Then later, when we see the tape reel in the tape lab, it's almost empty again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: Can you see better if I move it a little closer?
Dr. Michael Anthony Brace: I can see something. It's parts of the grid, but it's still rotating. It's not locking up.
Hal Abramson: Maybe we all need a little break, Lillian.
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: Hal, you take a break.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the final credit has rolled, 'TO NATALIE' appears for a couple seconds See more »

Alternate Versions

In the psychotic episode sequence when Michael's (Christopher Walken) son Chris (Jason Lively) wears the headset, there's a slight difference between the 70mm version and 35mm version. In the 70mm version of Chris' hallucination when Michael turns on a lever sending presumably an electrical current to Chris' head, the camera cuts to and remains on a shot of a circular device with electricity running through it as we hear Michael say 'Now you're gonna find out it's mine!'. In the 35mm version, the shot arrangement is the same except that it cuts back to a close up of Michael saying the line 'Now you're gonna find out it's mine!'. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Knock my socks off
22 August 2003 | by hodappSee all my reviews

Brainstorm had a rocky road to completion. After Natalie Wood died before completion of shooting, the studio wanted to shut it down and cash in the completion bond. Trumbull had fought tooth and nail to get the film made to begin with, and when it looked like it would be snatched from the jaws of victory, he hunkered down and dramatically altered sequences to prove it could indeed be finished without Wood's unshot scenes.

The "recorded memory" sequences were even more vivid for us in Indianapolis who saw it at the Eastwood theatre. The Eastwood had one of the few curved Cinerama roadshow screens outside of New York and Hollywood's Cinerama Dome. Think of it as a smaller version of an Omnimax screen. Sitting in the front row, you were completely enveloped by the film, and the visual and audio effect when the "memory" sequences lit up were quite attention grabbing. Trumbull was at this time working on his ill-fated Showscan process for amusement park rides, and was very interested in audience perceptions of diffrent lenses and frame rates. Some of this is used in Brainstorm. It's just not the same on a TV set of any size.

The central core of the story - the recording of the death of Lillian and Michael's obsession to experience it - is a disturbing one, because it explores the very nature of life and death. It can satisfy or dissappoint, because Trumbull has put his vision of memory, experience, death and afterlife on film for everyone to take pot shots at. And they did. It's a shame, because the film is beautiful, thought provoking, and ingenious. Yeah, I know, it has all of that evil government plot boilerplate. Look past it.

(It even revels in the quirks of the researchers, showing the second thing everybody does with new technology is use it for porn.)


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