Flatliners (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes


Flatliners (1990)



Critic Consensus: While it boasts an impressive cast, striking visuals, and an effective mood, Flatliners never quite jolts its story to life.

Flatliners Videos

Flatliners Photos

Movie Info

In an attempt to discover what awaits us after death, med-school buddies Nelson Wright (Keifer Sutherland), Rachel Mannus (Julia Roberts), Joe Hurley (William Baldwin), David Labraccio (Kevin Bacon), and Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt) concoct a plan to temporarily "flatline" themselves one at a time, stopping all brain activity, to briefly experience death before being resuscitated. A number of them are "killed" and brought back with vivid memories of their past, and the experiment is deemed a success. However, it seems as though they may have gotten more than they bargained for when their past literally comes back to haunt them.

Watch it now


Kiefer Sutherland
as Nelson Wright
Julia Roberts
as Rachel Mannus
Kevin Bacon
as David Labraccio
William Baldwin
as Joe Hurley
Oliver Platt
as Randy Steckle
Kimberly Scott
as Winnie Hicks
Joshua Rudoy
as Billy Mahoney
Benjamin Mouton
as Rachel's Father
Aeryk Egan
as Young Nelson
Kesha Reed
as Young Winnie
Jim Ortlieb
as Uncle Dave
John Joseph Duda
as Young Labraccio
Elinore O'Connell
as Rachel's Mother
Sanna Vraa
as Bridget
Patricia Belcher
as Edna, the Ward Nurse
Susan French
as Terminal Woman
Beth Grant
as Housewife
Cage S. Johnson
as Near-Death Patient
Evelina Fernandez
as Latin Woman
Miguel M. Delgado
as Latin Husband
Ingrid Oliu
as Latin Wife
Raymond Hanis
as Latin Orderly
Zoaunne LeRoy
as Waitress
Tom Kurlander
as Medical Student
John Duda
as Young Labraccio
Nili Levi
as Little Girl
Natsuko Ohama
as Professor
Megan Stewart
as Playground Kid
Tressa Thomas
as Playground Kid
Gonzo Gonzalez
as Playground Kid
Nicole Niblack
as Joe's Woman
Cynthia Bassham
as Joe's Woman
Sarabeth Tucek
as Joe's Woman
Ilona Margolis
as Joe's Woman
Julie Warner
as Joe's Woman
Iilana B'Tiste
as Joe's Woman
Deborah Torchio
as Joe's Woman
Deborah Goomas
as Joe's Woman
Michelle McKee
as Joe's Woman
Nancy Moran
as Joe's Woman
Dede Latinopoulos
as Joe's Woman
Jared Milmeister
as Young Nelson's Friend
Patrick Gleeson
as Young Nelson's Friend
John Fink
as Doctor
Ray Hanis
as Latin Orderly
Deborah Gooman
as Joe's Woman
View All

News & Interviews for Flatliners

Critic Reviews for Flatliners

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (15)

Goofily self-important.

August 18, 2021 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon all bring conviction to these scenes, and William Baldwin, as the most irresponsible of the students, continues to suggest an electric screen presence that rivals his brother Alec.

July 1, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Except for the performances by Roberts and Bacon, which occasionally redeem it, Flatliners is exasperating, a compelling concept unfulfilled.

July 1, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

All I remember is that, just before I came to, there was a sudden burst of brightness. At last the movie was over, and someone had turned on the lights in the theater.

July 1, 2013 | Rating: 1/5

The movie's problem, like many others recently, is that it isn't any deeper, dramatically or psychologically, than its own trailer. It is the trailer: the long version.

July 1, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It`s much to Schumacher's credit that Flatliners, for all of its crazy excess, does not turn into camp. Despite two or three bad laughs, the picture retains a basic conviction.

July 1, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Flatliners

"Med students explore to see what might lie beyond death" might be the advertisement, but what one gets is the old bait-and-switch. Instead of that exploration we get pseudo-Freudian analysis delivered by runway cute actors. What happens after death? One's perm still looks good, baby ... and Zoolander pout. Filmed in Chicago.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


This mild horror thriller about a couple of medicine students who are trying to find the threshold between life and death did not age very well. There is a lot of neon light, fog machines and late 80s sounds. That does make for a very unique atmosphere and is a prime example of the films of that era. The story itself is pretty interesting and has its gloomy and wonderfully mysterious moments, in the end we all wonder what's happening after death. This movie's answer may be a bit naive, but is told in a enthralling way. People can say about Schumacher what they want, but given a decent script the man can film compelling tales. This is no exception and still works for a few goosebumps over Halloween.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


A film I really feel as though I should have watched sooner. The idea seems so genius to me I don't know why it took me this long to watch it. Flatliners focuses on a bunch of medical students that briefly kill themselves and bring themselves back to life in order to explore the afterlife. However, they each bring back a sin from their past that now haunts them. The idea of experimenting with death is a fascinating one, and I feel like they could have done more with it. Perhaps exploring the nature of time, and mortality itself. Instead we get a very heavy handed anti-bullying message. Quite what near death experiences and past sins have in common I'm not sure. Had the characters been classified as terminally ill and wanted to make a mends themselves, that I could understand. Instead, as we see four characters do the experiment, it becomes very repetitive, and after Bacon comes to peace with his past it doesn't seem all that dangerous. I loved theearly 90's feel, and some of the bizarre visuals. Why exactly is the medical school in a cathedral or something? Why does Kevin Bacon abseil down a wall when he leaves school? A film where I would actually welcome a remake, as long at it took the core idea and explored it in a different way.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

Flatliners Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features