Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Jacob's Ladder Details


A tortured man finds himself caught in a middle-ground between hallucination and reality in this supernatural thriller, scripted by Bruce Joel Rubin of Ghost (1990) and My Life (1993).Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is a soldier stationed in Vietnam who undergoes a traumatic experience on the battlefield - the nature of which is initially unclear. The film then moves into his post-Vietnam experience in 1970s New York, where he feels consistently traumatized, but can never quite remember exactly what happened to him in Southeast Asia or to free himself from his anxieties over the recent tragic death of his young son (Macaulay Culkin). Though well educated, Jacob works as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and has become romantically involved with one of his co-workers, Jezzie (Elizabeth Pena), after divorcing his wife. Soon, Jacob's tenuous hold on reality starts to slip as horrifying events befall him; he is nearly run over by a subway train, pursued by faceless demons in cars, and spots reptilian tails and horns protruding from the bodies of those he encounters. Jacob also suffers severe panic attacks related to the chaos that may be reality, or may exist only in his mind. He seeks counsel from Louis (Danny Aiello), a kindly chiropractor, as his ex-wife Sarah (Patricia Kalember), fellow Vietnam vet Paul (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and enigmatic stranger Michael (Matt Craven) all try to help the tortured soul. Jason Alexander, Ving Rhames and Eriq LaSalle highlight the supporting cast. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:November 2, 1990


Tim Robbins
as Jacob Singer
Elizabeth Peña
as Jezzie
Danny Aiello
as Louis
Matt Craven
as Michael
Ving Rhames
as George
Pruitt Taylor Vince
as Paul
Jason Alexander
as Geary
Macaulay Culkin
as Gabe
Patricia Kalember
as Sarah
Eriq La Salle
as Frank
Brian Tarantina
as Doug
Anthony Alessandro
as Rod
Brent Hinkley
as Jerry
S. Epatha Merkerson
as Elsa
Evan O'Meara
as Sam
Jan Saint
as Santa
Alva Williams
as Masked Man
Nora Burns
as Hospital Patient
Patty Rosborough
as Drunk
Antonia Rey
as Woman on Subway
Billie Neal
as Della
Kisha Skinner
as Street Singer
Christopher John Fields
Ann Pearl Gary
as Mourner
Davidson Thomson
as Evil Doctor
Diane Kagan
as Nurse
Elizabeth Abassi
as Hospital Patient
Chris Murphy
Barbara Gruen
as Mourner
Holly Kennedy
as Hospital Patient
Michael Tomlinson
as Field Doctor
Dennis Green
as Attendant
John-Martin Green
as Partygoer
Joe Quintero
as Street Kid
Gloria Irizarry
as Mrs. Carmichael
Becky Ann Baker
as Nurse
Suzanne Shepherd
as Hospital Receptionist
Kyle Gass
as Tony
Alison Gordy
as Hospital Patient
Arleigh Richards
as Paul's Wife
Raymond Anthony Thomas
as Policeman
Thomas A. Carlin
as Doorman
Sam Coppola
as Taxi Driver
Jaime Perry
as Field Medic
Lewis Black
as Jacob's Doctor
Carol Schneider
as Nurse
Byron Minns
as Orderly
Bellina Logan
as Emergency Ward Nurse
John Patrick McLaughlin
as Army Officer
John Capodice
as Army Officer
Perry Lang
as Jacob's Assailant
Brian Larkin
as Jed
Scott Cohen
as Resident Doctor
Stephanie Berry
as Partygoer
John Louis Fischer
as Machine Gunner
Doug Barron
as Group Leader


Adrian Lyne
Bruce Joel Rubin
Alan Marshall
Joel Blasberg
Bruce Joel Rubin
Jeffrey Kimball
Al Jolson
Featured Music
Marvin Gaye
Featured Music
Maurice Jarre
Composer (Music Score)
Tom Rolf
Brian Morris
Production Designer
W. Steven Graham
Art Director
Jeremy Conway
Art Director
Bruce Joel Rubin
Associate Producer
Mario Kassar
Executive Producer
Andrew G. Vajna
Executive Producer
Kathleen Dolan
Set Designer
Ellen Mirojnick
Costume Designer
Steven Dewey
Special Effects
Dale Dye
Billy Hopkins
James Brown
Musical Performer
Michael Dennison
Costumes Supervisor