Altered States (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Altered States1980

Altered States (1980)



Critic Consensus: Extraordinarily daring for a Hollywood film, Altered States attacks the viewer with its inventive, aggressive mix of muddled sound effects and visual pyrotechnics.

Altered States Photos

Movie Info

In this 1980 sci-fi horror film, William Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, a scientist obsessed with discovering mankind's true role in the universe. To this end, he submits himself to a series of mind-expanding experiments. By enclosing himself in a sensory-deprivation chamber and taking hallucinogenic drugs, Jessup hopes to explore different levels of human consciousness, but instead is devolved into an apelike monster. Director Ken Russell helmed Altered States from a script by Paddy Chayefsky, who adapted his own novel of the same name. Unhappy with the finished product, Chayefsky had his name replaced with his pseudonym Sydney Aaron.

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William Hurt
as Eddie Jessup
Blair Brown
as Emily Jessup
Bob Balaban
as Arthur Rosenberg
Charles Haid
as Mason Parrish
Miguel Godreau
as Primal Man
Dori Brenner
as Sylvia Rosenberg
Drew Barrymore
as Margaret Jessup
Megan Jeffers
as Grace Jessup
Jack Murdock
as Hector Orteco
Evan Richards
as Young Rosenberg
Hap Lawrence
as Endocrinology Fellow
John Walter Davis
as Medical Technician
Cynthia Burr
as Parrish's Girl
Susan Bredhoff
as Eccheverria's Girl
John Larroquette
as X-Ray Technician
George Gaynes
as Dr. Wissenschaft
Ora Rubinstein
as Young Medical Student
Paul Larsson
as Charlie Thomas
Thaao Penghlis
as Echeverria
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News & Interviews for Altered States

Critic Reviews for Altered States

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (9)

It opens at fever pitch and then starts soaring -- into genetic fantasy, into a precognitive dream of delirium and delight.

August 16, 2014 | Full Review…

It's got Russell's trademark eccentricity (read: slight bonkers-ness) all over it, which you may take as a warning or a recommendation.

August 16, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

As the proceedings briskly fly, the silliness of the entire endeavor becomes more readily apparent.

July 23, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Direction by Ken Russell has energy to spare, with appropriate match-up of his baroque visual style to special effects intensive material.

June 6, 2007 | Full Review…

There isn't a lucid moment in it (and much of the dialogue is rendered unintelligible by Russell's subversive direction), but it has dash, style, and good looks, as well as the funniest curtain line since Some Like It Hot.

June 6, 2007 | Full Review…

[Director] Russell's noisily grandiose swipe at psychedelia embellishes what is no more than the cosily familiar story of the obsessive Scientist Who Goes Too Far and Unwittingly Unleashes, etc.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Altered States



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

I was a little overwhelmed with all the scientific mumbo-jumbo at first but once I got an idea of what was going on I found this to be a very interesting and surprisingly creepy experience. It's quite Cronenberg-esque and reminded me of "The Fly" in some ways. Great performance too by William Hurt in his debut and Dick Smith worked his grotesque magic with the special make-up effects. Give this one a watch!

Lee ?
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

They might as well have called this "The Trip 2", like The Trip, this movie's character goes on a strange journey after doing weird experiments on himself. It's really hard to watch, and I couldn't hardly stand it. I don't recommend seeing this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Altered States Quotes

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