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The Doors (1991)

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The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writers:

Randall Jahnson (as J. Randal Johnson), Oliver Stone
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2,354 ( 20)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Jim Morrison
Meg Ryan ... Pamela Courson
Kyle MacLachlan ... Ray Manzarek
Frank Whaley ... Robby Krieger
Kevin Dillon ... John Densmore
Michael Wincott ... Paul Rothchild
Michael Madsen ... Tom Baker
Josh Evans ... Bill Siddons
Dennis Burkley ... Dog
Billy Idol ... Cat
Kathleen Quinlan ... Patricia Kennealy
John Densmore ... Engineer - Last Session
Gretchen Becker ... Mom
Jerry Sturm ... Dad
Sean Stone ... Young Jim
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Storyline

Oliver Stone's homage to 1960s rock group The Doors also doubles as a biography of the group's late singer, the "Electric Poet" Jim Morrison. The movie follows Morrison from his days as a film student in Los Angeles to his death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971. The movie features a tour-de-force performance by Val Kilmer, who not only looks like Jim Morrison's long-lost twin brother, but also sounds so much like him that he did much of his own singing. It has been written that even the surviving Doors had trouble distinguishing Kilmer's vocals from Morrison's originals. Written by Denise P. Meyer <dpm1@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"There are things known and things unknown and in between are The Doors." -- Jim Morrison See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for heavy drug content, and for strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les Doors See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,151,800, 3 March 1991

Gross USA:

$34,416,893

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,416,893
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (analog 70 mm prints)| CDS (digital 35 mm and 70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (analog 35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robby Krieger: Briefly walks by the group while they talk in the hallway between sets at the London Fog. See more »

Goofs

At the UCLA film school, one student stands up to leave. The film shines on his back, but the film shown on the screen is unchanged. See more »

Quotes

Jim Morrison: [quoted in Jim Morrison's film class project] Nietzsche said, "All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity."
See more »

Alternate Versions

A special edition of the movie was released in 1997 on laserdisc with additional scenes that were cut from the movie:
  • A scene taking place circa 1965 with Jim Morrison (Kilmer) jamming onstage with Ray's band, adding obscene lyrics to the Van Morrison song "Gloria."
  • 2 additional scenes of a bearded Jim reciting poetry in the recording studio.
  • Additional footage of Jim singing "The Unknown Soldier" at the New Haven concert.
  • A scene of Jim getting roughed up and harrassed in jail by police officers after being arrested at the New Haven concert.
  • Jim in his hotel room with 2 young women and Pam (Meg Ryan) yelling at him from outside.
  • Additional footage in the scene where Jim is on an airplane en route to Miami.
  • Additional scene at the end with Jim and Ray (Kyle Machlachlan) walking around Venice and talking before he departs for Paris.
  • Jim and Pam talking in the airplane en route to Paris.
See more »

Connections

References The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Kiowa Gourd Dance Song
Performed by Roland Horse (Tsatoke), Billy Hunting Horse, Helen Horse (Tsatoke) & Dorita Hunting Horse
Courtesy of Indian Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Lizard King
17 June 2004 | by ManthorpeSee all my reviews

We all know how legendary The Doors were and still are, and sooner or later someone was going to make a film about them. Might as well be Oliver Stone. Given the subject matter, Stone was able to go off the deep end with his imagery here to the point of making one have an epileptic seizure OR think they just dropped some acid. Either way, it's great to watch in my book.

The film is flawed in that it's not titled correctly. It's not about The Doors, it's about Jim Morrison and basically just the wild and crazy side of him. That's ok I guess, Morrison was The Doors. Many have criticized Stone for not depicting Jim in the proper light, but given how many people knew him it had to be an almost impossible task to please everyone as everyone knew him differently. I think we all can attest to this through the friendships we have with our friends. Some know us as one way, and some know us as another. I respect Stone for trying and feel sorry for him about the flak people have given him as I know he is a very talented director. I think his intentions were spawned out of true admiration and that he made this film for himself and to pay tribute, and not to win any awards. More of this can be found on the Special Edition DVD from Stone himself.

Even if one does not enjoy the trippy qualities of the film such as I do, or any part for that matter, one could not avoid admitting how well Val Kilmer portrays Morrison. It's simply amazing and is one of the best performances that I can bring to mind, and is the best example of how to literally become someone else, bar none. He doesn't act like he's Jim Morrison, he becomes Jim Morrison. He is Jim Morrison. This is no doubt helped by the uncanny facial similarities the two have. Not only that, most of the singing that's in the film was done by Kilmer himself and even a few of the original band members admitted that they honestly could not tell the difference between their two voices. Even if you hate Val Kilmer, this performance jumps in your face and screams for respect while trying to strangle you.

As mentioned earlier, some do not like the film for several reasons. One is that it makes Jim look like a monster and that it only glorifies his wild and uninhibited behavior. Two is that it's basically just one big acid trip into bits of history about the band. For one, Oliver Stone said it best....when you have to condense a person's life, a legend at that, into two measly hours you must take the highlights. Everyone lives longer than two hours, even Jim. We all know Jim was crazy, and with so many of the insane stories Stone heard while trying to piece together the script for this, a lot of what he heard was simply what you see. The wild and crazy side. As a result, what we're left with is not an accurate depiction of The Doors or of Jim Morrison. It is entertaining, yes, but it is not accurate. I think it could have been done perfectly, but it would have been excruciatingly difficult...and still not everyone would like it. And as far as the trippiness of the film, well that's Oliver Stone for you. We saw the same thing in Natural Born Killers a few years later. I personally like the style of it and felt that it was in place here but that's just my opinion. The '60's, drugs, and rock and roll equals trippy.

Overall a decent attempt at one of the most difficult subjects to cover, legends. And even though it's not entirely accurate and even though Morrison is one of my idols and he deserved a little better, I do enjoy the film greatly. The film should have been named Pandora's Box.


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