The Hand (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hand (1981)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This early effort from Oliver Stone stars Michael Caine as a cartoonist whose right hand, amputated after an accident, takes on a murderous life of its own.

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Michael Caine
as Ian Lansdale
Andrea Marcovicci
as Anne Lansdale
Annie McEnroe
as Stella Roche
Bruce McGill
as Brian Ferguson
Rosemary Murphy
as Karen Wagner
Mara Hobel
as Lizzie Lansdale
Pat Corley
as Sheriff
Nicholas Hormann
as Bill Richman
Charles Fleischer
as David Maddow
John Stinson
as Therapist
Brian Kenneth Hume
as Boy in Classroom
Lora Pearson
as Girl in Classroom
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Critic Reviews for The Hand

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (9)

The film has all the Ingredients of the classical horror story a creepy score, dark interiors, rainy nights, scenes shot from peculiar angles, slow tracking of the camera. And as long as the ambiguity is maintained, the picture works.

August 11, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

When The Hand is bloody, it is very bloody. Even so, there won't be enough for true aficionados of that genre. Similarly, there is just enough gore to alienate the class thriller audience.

August 11, 2021 | Full Review…

Caine's performance is exceptional. (His anguished, "Anne, it's so ugly," as he faces his disfigurement, puts us completely on his side.) And the hand may haunt your nights and days.

August 11, 2021 | Full Review…

What is the sound of one hand clapping? You could measure it on an applause meter at The Hand...

August 11, 2021 | Full Review…

The whole thing seems to be about five hours long.

August 11, 2021 | Full Review…

About halfway through this thing, you'll find there's more fun in making up jokes than following the story.

August 11, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Hand

The radical rascal Oliver Stone's second directorial foray is this monotonous, psychogalvanic thriller. Given his political leanings, one can be forgiven for assuming this is a biopic on the Mano Blanca death squad in Guatemala. Firstly, the inciting incident in which comic book artist Joe Lansdale's (Michael Caine) extremity is decorked like a champagne bottle is alternately ghastly (the blood spray on the rear of the truck is too delayed though) and campy because of the cleanliness of the disembodiment and the tawdry prosthetic for his stump (in fairness, a twitchy lizard tail is more conspicuous because of its limited mobility). According to legend, Stone and the studio fought over the execution of the hair-raising plotline. With the cursive-signature font, Stone purveys the film as a highbrow affair and the friction between Joe and his callisthenic wife at the beginning suggests that conjugal strain will be the locus. The "re-appreciation" discussion before the crash is purely hypnotic because of Caine's thousand-yard stare at his wife's request to relocate. As Joe is Sisyphean with his drawing, Stone's commentary on artistic impotence born from emotional constipation is astute. However, it is immediately sabotaged by an insipid screeching-cat gag. The film reeks of compromise in the editing bay. The black-and-white POV of the crawling hand might seem impressive if this were a Universal monster movie but it is a few decades shy of that target. Unfortunately, Caine is abetted by Stone to be self-indulgent in several scenes of Gene-Wilder-foppish-hair overacting when his page creation is seized by a new artist. In the margins of a B-movie, Stone endeavored for a more disturbing take on the material but the deliciously envious performance of Caine can't straddle the obtuse, strangulating attacks (one of which is director Stone as an embattled, boozing bum. Not since the heyday of Joe Eszterhas has a film been coated in such a dismissive manner towards the female characters who are either ice queens or coquettish co-eds with an unhealthy cynicism towards relationships and the yuletide season.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


The Hand is a very interesting psychological horror second feature of Oliver Stone who would later craft some memorable films throughout his career. However this is an underrated film, one that should be seen by his fans along with horror fans. This is an effectively creepy film that has some surprising moments of genuine terror. Michael Caine is great here and the film has a tense, dark atmosphere that adds to the experience. This is flawed film, but considering that this came out during the Slasher craze, it's refreshing to see a different style of horror film to offer genre fans something different. Caine's performance stands out and with that said this is a pretty effective horror gem that is worth seeing. Oliver Stone direction is immaculate and with a great script at hand, he has made a fine second feature that is different than other picture of the early 80's horror craze. The film works around its faults to be a memorable chiller that is sure to delight horror hounds. The fact that it's different from other of Stone's works is what make this interesting to watch, and you see glimpse of brilliance from Oliver Stone as he would hone his craft on future films such as Platoon and Natural Born Killers. If you come across The Hand be prepared for a stunning picture, a decent into madness, and extraordinary performance by Michael Caine who proves that he is a phenomenal talent, and with his co stars, creates something that is among the most atmospheric and original psychological horror films in the genre. A fun and memorable picture from Oliver Stone. This is a film that succeeds at delivering the chills that make up a great horror film.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

An awesome horror movie starring Michael Caine, who's not usually in horror movies, but he is a great actor and he's great in this movie. The story may seem silly or predictable, but it can surprise you. I really liked this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Hand Quotes

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