Misery

1990, Mystery & thriller/Horror, 1h 47m

69 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who claims to be his biggest fan. Annie brings him to her remote cabin to recover, where her obsession takes a dark turn when she discovers Sheldon is killing off her favorite character from his novels. As Sheldon devises plans for escape, Annie grows increasingly controlling, even violent, as she forces the author to shape his writing to suit her twisted fantasies.

Cast & Crew

James Caan
Paul Sheldon
Kathy Bates
Annie Wilkes
Frances Sternhagen
Virginia McCain
Lauren Bacall
Marcia Sindell
J.T. Walsh
State Trooper Sherman Douglas (uncredited)
Jeffrey Stott
Co-Producer
Marc Shaiman
Original Music
Barry Sonnenfeld
Cinematographer
Robert Leighton
Film Editor
William Goldman
Screenwriter
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News & Interviews for Misery

Critic Reviews for Misery

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (7)

  • The film hasn't any depth to speak of, but is consistently shrewd enough not to go totally obvious ways. And the audacity in casting Kathy Bates as the dotty fan pays considerable dividends.

    May 9, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Bates turns Wilkes into the nastiest nurse to reach the screen since Louise Fletcher tormented Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Like any good work of popular culture, Rob Reiner's film of Stephen King's best-selling book Misery functions on more than one level.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Popular moviemaking -- elegantly economical, artlessly artful -- doesn't get much better than this.

    October 14, 2008 | Full Review…
  • From start to harrowing finish, it is blissfully apparent that Rob Reiner can indeed turn his hand to virtually anything.

    September 25, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Bates has a field day with her role, creating a quirky, memorable object of hate.

    September 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The film hasn't any depth to speak of, but is consistently shrewd enough not to go totally obvious ways. And the audacity in casting Kathy Bates as the dotty fan pays considerable dividends.

    May 9, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Bates turns Wilkes into the nastiest nurse to reach the screen since Louise Fletcher tormented Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Like any good work of popular culture, Rob Reiner's film of Stephen King's best-selling book Misery functions on more than one level.

    August 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Popular moviemaking -- elegantly economical, artlessly artful -- doesn't get much better than this.

    October 14, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Casting Kathy Bates as Annie was certainly a culminating factor in the film's success but kudos must also go to William Goldman for coming up with a screenplay that just never lets up...

    June 10, 2021 | Full Review…
  • It is hard to come by psychological thrillers like this nowadays - a film that makes you feel the anxiety and horror that the character is facing.

    May 11, 2021 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Misery

  • Dec 31, 2017
    From director Rob Reiner comes the intense suspense thriller Misery. Based on a Stephen King novel, the story follows famed novelist Paul Sheldon who's rescued from a car crash by an obsessed fan; but things take a dark turn when he discovers that he's being drugged and is locked in his room. James Caan and Kathy Bates both give strong performances; particularly Bates, who does a good job at subtly moving from eccentric fan and psychopath. And Reiner effectively builds tension and suspense quite well; especially in showing Sheldon's captivity and isolation. Still, there are some problems with the script, such as the underdeveloped subplot of the sheriff's investigation and the rushed conclusion. Yet despite its flaws, Misery is a frightening horror film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 03, 2016
    One of the better Stephen King horror adaptations. Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes is one of the best (and arguably *the* best) on screen female villain in a horror movie, of all time. Perhaps not one you need to sit down and re-watch every few months or whathaveyou, but totally gripping, even after multiple (spaced out) viewings.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2013
    Kathy Bates is absolutely awesome in this one. It is likely one of the best, if not the best, Stephen King adaptations.Reiner proves that he can pull off a good horror flick and James Caan simply elicits pity as the man who is at the mercy of his fan.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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