Brainstorm (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes


Brainstorm (1983)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Brainstorm Photos

Movie Info

Natalie Wood made her last screen appearance in Brainstorm; in fact, she died before the film was completed, necessitating extensive rewrites. Wood's character is secondary to the one played by Christopher Walken. A research scientist, Walken has been experimenting with a revolutionary brain-reading device. This wondrous machine is able to read a person's thought processes and translate these to videotape. When Walken wants to study the brainwaves of his late partner Louise Fletcher, he finds himself seriously at odds with his superiors-not to mention several ominous-looking government types, headed by Cliff Robertson.

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Natalie Wood
as Karen Brace
Christopher Walken
as Michael Brace
Louise Fletcher
as Lillian Reynolds
Cliff Robertson
as Alex Terson
Jordan Christopher
as Gordy Forbes
Bill Morey
as James Zimbach
Donald Hotton
as Landon Marks
Alan Fudge
as Robert Jenkins
Jason Lively
as Chris Brace
Nina Axelrod
as Simulator Technician
Desiree Ayres
as Bikini Girl #1
Roger Black
as Bob Burns
Robert Bloodworth
as Man at Party #4
Charlie Briggs
as Colonel Easterbrook
Jim Burk
as Lab Technician
Keith Colbert
as Dr. Ted Harris
John Gladstein
as Dr. Pederson
Jack Harmon
as Security Guard
Thomas Huff
as Stunt Guard #2
Darrell Larson
as Security Technician
Glen Lee
as Agent #4
Wallace Merck
as Agent #3
John Vidor
as Bellhop
John Hugh
as Animal Lab Technician
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Critic Reviews for Brainstorm

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (1)

The characters take such a secondary importance to the gadget that we never feel much for them.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

An absorbing and disturbing look into telepathic engineering with a spectacular pay-off that deeply touches us all, dealing as it does with the subject of life after death.

June 29, 2020 | Full Review…

It could have worked much more efficiently if its script did not fail so miserably either to make us feel close to its protagonists or to propose a plot that did not reach its last minutes completely frayed. [Full Review in Spanish]

May 7, 2020 | Full Review…

The film can't decide whether it's scientific, political, or simply a romance. [Full Review in Spanish]

February 10, 2020 | Full Review… ambitious yet disastrously unfocused misfire from a thoroughly talented filmmaker.

October 3, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

This doomed effort fails to generate much excitement either visually or conceptually.

August 8, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Brainstorm


Brainstorm is a movie I want to rate up but can't. The plot simply is not there and the whole thing becomes silly towards the end. However, I did enjoy the 80s style futurism, Walken (as always), as well as the performance by Louise Fletcher. The transfer looks good, much better than I expected, better than most 80s films.

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer


Brainstorm was simply just kind of okay when you stop to consider how great a movie about this concept of memory/emotional transference should have been. EVERY character in this movie was incredibly dull and half baked. The story was also weak and the only thing that really shined with Brainstorm was some of Douglas Trumbull's (the man responsible for 2001: A Space Odyssey's effects) direction. The fact that he changed aspect ratios to show the perspective of Christopher Walken and Louise Fletcher's invention in itself is almost worth the watch. The fact that Brainstorm is full of 2001 nods/ripoffs (one of the characters is named Hal for crissakes) kind of deflates it. I realize that Natalie Wood's death kind of crapped on the production as a whole but there's only so much you can blame on tragedy.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

From Douglas Trumbull, the man behind visual effects in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner comes Brainstorm. His only other notable directorial work before this was Silent Running, an ecological Sci-Fi thriller that was decades before its time. There's no argument that the man knows special effects, but that doesn't always translate into knowing how to direct actors. Some of the takes come off as awkward first take rehearsals and the dialogue can be thin at times. Still, it's great to see Christopher Walken in one of the few lead roles in his career. Louise Fletcher is great as the head scientist fighting for control of her invention from the evil military forces who have come up with a new and exciting way to kill people. The film is also noted for being the final work of Natalie Wood who drowned during the production and blah blah blah. The main attractions of the film are cinematography and the special effects. The lights bouncing off of the silver tape, the virtual theater scenes, this button, that light, etc... All in all, Brainstorm remains a provocative sci-fi flick and should be seen once by all film fans. Photobucket

El Hombre Invisible
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

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