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The Shining (1980)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 58 | Rotten: 5

Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson

63

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 472,319

My Rating

Movie Info

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- or, rather, a homicidal boy in Stanley Kubrick's eerie 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel. With wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd) in tow, frustrated writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as the winter caretaker at the opulently ominous, mountain-locked Overlook Hotel so that he can write in peace. Before the Overlook is vacated for the Torrances, the manager (Barry Nelson) informs Jack that a

Jun 29, 1999

Warner Bros. Pictures

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July 18, 2014:
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He's in talks for "Overlook Hotel," currently in development at Warner Bros.
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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (58) | Rotten (5) | DVD (28)

A masterpiece.

October 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kubrick has made a movie that will have to be reckoned with on the highest level.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a ghost story and adaptation of the Stephen King novel, it's largely a failure. On the other hand, as an example of directorial bravura and as a study of madness and the unreliable narrator, it's a brilliant success.

April 30, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kubrick is after a cool, sunlit vision of hell, born in the bosom of the nuclear family, but his imagery -- with its compulsive symmetry and brightness -- is too banal to sustain interest, while the incredibly slack narrative line forestalls suspense.

Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them.

Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With everything to work with, director Stanley Kubrick has teamed with jumpy Jack Nicholson to destroy all that was so terrifying about Stephen King's bestseller.

Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the best scary movies ever made, one of the best scary movies even imaginable.

June 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The Shining is like a near-miss auto accident: You don't know how scared you really were until you start shaking a few hours later.

October 6, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The first time I saw Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, I had to turn it off during three key moments... Perhaps this time, I prayed, [it] would seem almost comically silly. Yeah, not so much.

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

...above all a movie about spaces, and how few things are more frightening than not knowing which way to go.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Strange and deeply creepy.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Star
Daily Star

The technique is as overpowering as Nicholson's performance, which is both hammy and deeply disturbing.

November 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Kubrick's compositions and Jack Nicholson going kill-crazy with an axe remain hard to beat on the big screen.

November 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Scotsman

It's all in the build-up: Kubrick sets the scene for the horror with meticulous care.

November 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Re-cut or not, The Shining remains one of the most viscerally disturbing films ever made.

November 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Deeply scary and strange.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Essential viewing. Prepare to be disturbed.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Its artful ambiguities are immersive. Check in.

October 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

As in 2001, Kubrick likes ghost stories more than I do. And he gives me enough else, in the way of acting and bizarrely beautiful surroundings, to keep me happy.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Stanley Kubrick's film is a work of art that will continue to be broken down and explored for decades to come...

September 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Kubrick doesn't dumb it down or anything, but he's not actively trying to appeal only to film connoisseurs either. If any of his movies could be called mainstream, it's this one.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The Shining is an intense and not always ingratiating experience, a natural bookend to 2001...

July 13, 2009 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The result may not quite match Kubrick's greatest films, but it is enthralling and hypnotic - a brilliant, ambitious attempt to shoot a horror film without the Gothic trappings.

February 3, 2009 Full Review Source: ESplatter
ESplatter

Audience Reviews for The Shining

A writer and his family move in as caretakers to a secluded mountainside hotel for the winter, but a presence inhabiting it causes his mental disintegration leading to the urge for bloody murder. I'm not a fan of Stephen King. In fact, I'd go as far as to describe him as "a bag of cock". But what Kubrick did was to strip away the hokey nonsense of King's original novel and create a master class in haunting imagery and suspense. In fact, the supernatural elements of the story are almost irrelevant. The horror lies in the subtext of domestic violence; it's difficult to see a plaid wearing, balding middle-aged man as a terrifying monster, and Nicholson is hardly the most physically formidable presence. But in the classic scene in which he finally snaps, it is easy to see why waif-like Shelly Duvall (or anyone like her) would be incredibly intimidated. Without resorting to unnecessary gore Kubrick's visuals are disturbingly intense and complimented by one of the eeriest soundtracks ever written, the sense of unease is as creepy and atmospheric as any created. Far from being dated, compared to what passes for "horror" these days The Shining has actually improved with age. Another example of Kubrick being Jack of all trades and master of all.
July 16, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

'The Shining'. The camera movement, the score, the sound design, the production design and Jack Nicholson all contribute to a deep unease. You feel the uncertainty throughout the metaphorical and literal mazes the characters traverse.

The most beautiful horror film I've seen.
March 28, 2013
c0up
c0up  

Super Reviewer

The Shining can sometimes seem silly by today's standards, but it is still a very unsettling and chiling psychological horror film.
February 28, 2013
Daniel Lermenator

Super Reviewer

A film that transcends its genre, leaves itself open to interpretation and deep analysis from both film historians and the viewing public throughout the years, and is a cinematic classic as well as a horror classic; "The Shining" is the seminal best. Based upon the novel by famed horror author Stephen King, this adaptation takes liberties from the book, which led to King leaving the set and creating his own miniseries in 1997. This version takes liberties with the motivations behind the lead character, some of the plot, and some of the less horrible of the ghosts and monsters. Set in the Overlook Hotel, writer and alcoholic family man Jack Torrance is broke and trying to get sober for the sake of his young son and waifish wife, Wendy. The family sets up shop in the hotel as caretakers while the rest of the employees and residents are gone, snow covering the road twenty inches high, trapping them inside. The film, like the book, is a morphing of psychological thriller and ghost story, as the motivations of the characters become skewed along the way. The hotel is haunted by many specters, including the last caretaker's bludgeoned young daughters, axed in the upstairs' hallway, hallucinations of twenties' parties in the ballroom including butler Grady, and a sickly, skin peeling woman in the upstairs bathroom. Those elements are of course horrific, contrasted by Torrance's son, Danny, who is psychic, possessing an ability called the shining. His visions and distorted facial expressions make you squirm in your seat, as you wonder how this child wasn't frightened by his own performance. (Kubrick shot the scenes so the child in question didn't know he was in a horror film.) Though Danny's psychic visions of the future and the ghosts themselves are bloody and gruesome, they are nothing compared to the psychological workings of Jack's mind. King rallied hard against the casting of Nicolson in the part of Torrance, because Torrance goes through a psychological breakdown. Nicolson had already shown his abilities in the Oscar winning "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" several years before, and quite obviously has a look of lunacy to him: his arched brows, that crooked grin, his sneaking look of pained horror. He exemplifies creepy, and the moments leading up to his breakdown, especially the scene between him and his son on the bed, proved to be overwhelming and absolutely dripping with creepiness. His attitudes, his method of yelling out animalistic words as he runs after his family comes off as downright manic. Though you can see it coming from a mile away, it is still one of the most lauded and quoted performances of all time. The casting of Shelley Duvall seems strange when looking to the book, because the character is so strong and effectual against the tyranny of her husband, his alcoholism, and his paranoia. In reality, the character of Wendy Torrance comes off as a weak, horrified woman, trying to save her son, yet still feeble in the wake of her husband as a newly formed monster himself. The child actor, Danny Lloyd, was brilliant, and was chosen for his lengthy amount of attention and intensity. He is very innocent throughout, and visibly frightened, finally becoming possessed by his imaginary friend when his father attacks. The mood of the film is achieved through the hauntingly paced music, screaming through every scene even if nothing happens, the wide shots and vivid block colors of every room, and the exterior shots of the hotel, which are all cloaked in a mass of white snow. The wind howls through the dialogue in the last thirty minutes, which simply builds the action, the dire suspense to an unblinking climax. There are many theories about the hallucinations and the ending of the film, which Kubrick implies makes the entire series of events predestined, but others have their own opinions and theories about the implications of these events. I take what I see onscreen and what Kubrick has espoused on this film at face value, though each scene is riddled with complex implications about the true nature of the hotel, why Jack goes insane and murderous in the last thirty minutes, and the ghostly inhabitants of the hotel. Like Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House", the actual place seems intrinsically evil, based on events that transpire there, and hopeless for any kind of help from the outside world. That's why Jack Torrance is predestined to follow in the footsteps of Grady, his reincarnated self. Kubrick liked to leave fans with a sense of intellectual wow in his films and let most things up to interpretation. The Shining is one of the best horror films because it lets us choose why we are horrified, whether because this horror is based in the reality of insanity, or the imagination of the dead, decaying, bloody ghosts of the evil hotel. Kubrick creates another kind of genre within a genre, and creeps us all out with his choices even against the source material. Beautiful and yet so evil, "The Shining" is an entirely new kind of experience, and a film that keeps you awake.
January 16, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

    1. Jack Torrance: Darling, I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm just gonna bash your brains in.
    – Submitted by Miles F (46 days ago)
    1. Jack Torrance: Am not going to hurt you i just want to smash your brains in.
    – Submitted by Matthew B (3 months ago)
    1. Jack Torrance: Here's Johnny!
    – Submitted by Ben S (8 months ago)
    1. Nurse: Who's Tony?
    2. Danny Torrance: He's the little boy that lives in his mouth.
    – Submitted by Sam F (12 months ago)
    1. Jack Torrance: A momentary loss of muscular coordination. A few extra footpounds of energy per second, per second.
    – Submitted by Sam F (12 months ago)
    1. Jack Torrance: White man's burden, Lloyd, my man, white man's burden.
    – Submitted by Sam F (12 months ago)
View all quotes (108)

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