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4.3 out of 5 stars 255 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Feb 03, 2009)
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Remastered Edition
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$24.95 $13.96
(Aug 22, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Brainstorm is a fascinating but frustrating film, simply because it dabbles in greatness but fails to develop the fullest implications of its provocative ideas. It's a visually dazzling film with outstanding special effects; directed by veteran eff

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher
  • Directors: Douglas Trumbull
  • Writers: Bruce Joel Rubin, Philip Frank Messina, Robert Stitzel
  • Producers: Richard Yuricich, Douglas Trumbull, Joel L. Freedman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 22, 2000
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004VVN9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,900 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brainstorm" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Before virtual reality and before "The Matrix," there was the 1983 film "Brainstorm." O.K., this movie may not compare favorably with "The Matrix," but it does involve some of the same tangential themes that that film deals with. The comparisons with virtual reality are apt, though viewers tend to overlook this aspect of the movie. People usually associate the film, if they even talk about it today, with Natalie Wood. The actress died shortly before the film wrapped in a highly publicized boating accident, thereby cutting short a lengthy film career and giving this motion picture a stigma it still carries today. A viewing of "Brainstorm" shows the film is more than Natalie Wood; it is a compelling story about innovative technology and its potential for misuse by powerful forces. Not a particularly unique movie plot, to be sure, but "Brainstorm" is still an intriguing film largely due to its solid cast and amazing special effects. The movie holds up well twenty years after its conception, which is saying a lot considering how far film effects have come during that time.
A team of brilliant scientists headed up by Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher) and Michael Brace (Christopher Walken) have finally made an enormous breakthrough in their research. After years of frustrating tests and wrangles over budgetary concerns, an amazing new virtual reality system has been born. The machines these scientists created can record the sensory perceptions of one human being and replay them for another person. Reynolds and her team can capture everything--sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell, even emotion--and record it on tape. The implications of this discovery should become apparent almost immediately.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My god has it been 17 years since this film was released in theatres! I saw it as a kid and was absolutely blown away by it. Louise Fletcher deserved at least an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress...she tears through her limited screentime with a ferocity and vivacity that is rarely seen these days. When she's confronting the government types who want to steal the "mind-recording" machine she and fellow scientist Chris Walken have invented, it is truly a great acting moment. Her barking at boss Cliff Robertson to "don't you goddamn me, sweetheart" and then proceeding to almost have a heart attack in the ladies room is a classic cinema moment. Natalie Wood had not finished filming all her scenes before her tragic death, but its hardly noticeable. She had that most incredible, expressive face and director Trumbel chose to hold on that in many key moments. When Walken plays back his memories of her (Wood and Walken's marriage is crumbling), the joy on her face is so real. The music for the film is also amazing...from the haunting opening score to the joyous music that surrounds Walken and Wood on their journey. Fletcher's heart attack, where she records her own death experience, is truly disturbing, and Walken's attempt to play it back (which almost kills him)is also terrifying. A beautiful, brave film. Fletcher needs more work like this. And of course, Natalie Wood is missed greatly.
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Format: DVD
Is this a great film? No, let me say that is a great concept, truly stretches ones imagination, and it is a good film. The concept is wonderful, although the film itself leaves you just tantalizingly short of where it could have gone.
The basic premise is a scientific discovery where a person's thoughts, emotions, and experiences can be captured on "tape", recorded, and then experienced by someone else by simply playing the tape. The concept is fascinating. While the special effects are excellent for a film this old, the most powerful scenes for me were the depictions of a couple on the verge of divorce getting to experience the other's perspective of shared events. The experience of seeing themselves and their behavior though the other's eyes changes their relationship forever. This aspect of the concept is not played out as fully as it could be.
This film is also the last movie of Natalie Wood, who died tragically during the production of the movie. Christopher Walken is excellent as the lead actor.
The ending of the film touches on something so fascinating that they simply couldn't pull it off. Overall, I recommend this movie, as a fascinating concept that will leave you thinking after the film is over. Always a sign that the movie is worth watching.
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Format: DVD
Just an observation about the various aspect ratios and screen sizes used in this film (and associated DVDs.)

(I'll confess, I'm going from memory, here, but it's from a presentation I saw about the film.)

Brainstorm was the first film ever filmed, edited, and completely processed in 70mm. The 70mm prints of the film (and only the 70mm prints. If you saw the film in the theater, you saw a different movie if you saw it in another format.) had a special feature.

All of the "Brainstorm" sequences were filmed in "first person" (where the camera is the character), using an almost "fish eye" lens (so that the camera had "peripheral vision".

All of the "reality" sequences were deliberately printed down to 35mm, then re-enlarged back to 70mm, (to make the resolution worse). The print was leterboxed (the image only filled part of the theater screen). And the sound was monophonic, and only issued from the speaker behind the screen. (The "center channel", so to speak.)

What Trumbull wanted was, when people "put on the helmet" was for the picture to expand, pulling you into the screen. The sound would expand to the sides. The images would become more vibrant, and clearer.

In short, the folks pointing out that in the remastered edition, most of the movie only uses part of the screen, and the sound isn't spectacular, are seeing the film as the director intended them to see it.

Now, you may not WANT to see it that way. Just because something worked (and, IMO, this effect worked very, very, well, in the theater) doesn't mean that it's what you want to see at home. (For example, most people's homes have screens that are just a tad smaller than in the theater.)

So, this effect may or may not be what you WANT. But it ISN'T an error of the transfer. This is a deliberate decision which was made by the film's director and producer, back when the film was originally released.
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Question about the recording of death

the machine recorded her entire death process. the person who plays back the tape will experience exactly what her brain experience, including the unknown area of the death because that person is experiencing their own death. People who have had near-death experiences have said they... Read More
Nov 26, 2010 by Eddie Alvarez |  See all 2 posts
Extras on this version?
Haven't purchased but per Turner Classic Movie website:

Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, French, Japanese; theatrical trailer.

Per eBay seller:

- Soundtrack Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
- Theatrical... Read More
Apr 2, 2009 by Sputterkar |  See all 6 posts
Where is the Brace family Home located?
If memory serves me, this movie was filmed mostly in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, with the old Burroughs-Welcome building as a location for the labs, Pinehurst/Southern Pines area and the coastal regions also sharing in the backdrops. I do remember some scenes that included... Read More
Feb 20, 2010 by George R Richardson |  See all 3 posts
Remastered? Just the soundtrack? Be the first to reply
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