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Dreamscape (film): Wikis


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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joseph Ruben
Produced by Chuck Russell
Bruce Cohn Curtis
Written by David Loughery (story)
Chuck Russell
Joseph Ruben
Starring Dennis Quaid
Max Von Sydow
Christopher Plummer
Eddie Albert
Kate Capshaw
David Patrick Kelly
George Wendt
Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography Brian Tufano
Editing by Lorenzo DeStefano
Richard Halsey
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) August 15, 1984
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dreamscape is a 1984 science fiction film directed by Joseph Ruben and written by David Loughery, with Chuck Russell and Ruben co-writing. The first draft was written by Bill Sweet as a student in Screenwriting at Columbia College in Chicago in 1979.

It was the first 20th Century Fox movie to receive a PG-13 rating. The second one is The Flamingo Kid.



Alex in the dream chair.

Alex Gardner (Quaid) is a psychic who’s abandoned years of study and showcasing his talents for a life of gambling and sloth.

After running foul of a local gangster named Sneed (Gleeson), Gardner allows himself to be abducted by two men, Finch & Babcock (Jason & Mulkey) on behalf of his former mentor Dr. Paul Novotny (von Sydow).

Under the guise of a university project, Alex discovers that Novotny, aided by Jane DeVries (Capshaw) has learned a way to project the minds of certain individuals into the dreams of others.

It is soon learned by Alex, who willingly joins Novotny’s efforts, that he’s actually involved in a U.S. government-funded project to train psychics to enter other people's dreams as assassins.

Alex is tested by Jane.

It started out initially as a clinic to diagnose and treat sleep disorders, particularly in the form of nightmares, but the project has been hijacked by Bob Blair (Plummer), a powerful government agent with possible CIA ties, though it is never clearly revealed in the film.

Before the plot is revealed, Alex gains experience helping a man worried about his wife’s infidelity and taking over the case of a young boy named Buddy (Yothers) who’s plagued with nightmares so terrible that a previous psychic lost his mind in an attempt to help Buddy. Buddy's nightmare bogeyman involves a large snakeman which later becomes a weakness for Alex.

Alex is caught invading Jane's dream.

A subplot involving Alex and Jane’s growing infatuation culminates with him sneaking into Jane's dream without the use of the machines which are a part of the process, a point Jane doesn’t realize at first while too furious about the erotic elements of the dream Alex instigated.

With the help of a novelist named Charlie Prince (Wendt), who has been covertly investigating the project for the basis of a new book, Alex learns of Blair’s sinister intentions.

Prince and Novotny are both murdered to silence them, things get worse when the President of the United States (Albert) is admitted as a patient, and Alex’s co-hort Tommy Ray Glatman is sent into the President's nightmare in an attempt to have him assassinated.

Tommy Ray Glatman, dream assassin.

Blair considers the President a threat to national security due to the President's nightmares of a post-apocalyptic world, which represent his fears and becomes cause for his wishing to enter unfavorable negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Alex and Jane manage to get close enough to the President’s room to save the President and kill Glatman.

The President is grateful but reluctant to confront Blair, who apparently holds a truly powerful position in the government. To protect himself and Jane, Alex enters Blair’s dream and murders him before Blair can bring about any sort of retribution.

The film ends with Jane and Alex boarding a train to Louisville, Kentucky (home of Churchill Downs), intent on making their previous dream encounter a reality. Noticing the same Ticket Conductor from the dream gives them a moment of pause.



  • Dreamscape was the third film, after The Flamingo Kid and Red Dawn, to receive the PG-13 rating under the MPAA rating system, although because of a delay in the release of The Flamingo Kid, Dreamscape was actually the second film released with that rating.[1]
  • Originally there was a love scene involving Alex and Jane that was supposed to have taken place in the middle of the film involving nudity, but it was edited for pacing issues and content because of the MPAA's new PG-13 rating guidelines.
  • Ranked #93 on Rotten Tomatoes' Journey Through Sci-Fi (100 Best-Reviewed Sci-Fi Movies).
  • All On Campus shots were filmed at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.
  • The film developed from an initial outline that Roger Zelazny wrote in 1981, based in part upon his novella "He Who Shapes" and novel The Dream Master. He was not involved in the project after 20th Century Fox bought his outline. Since he didn't write the film treatment or the script, that is why his name doesn't appear in the credits; assertions that he removed his name from the credits are unfounded.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Dreamscape (1984) - Trivia
  2. ^ "...And Call Me Roger": The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny, Part 4, by Christopher S. Kovacs. In: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Volume 4: Last Exit to Babylon, NESFA Press, 2009.

External links



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