84 From ’84: Dreamscape

dreamscape header


dreamscape poster

A man who can enter and manipulate people’s dreams is recruited by a government agency to help cure the President of the United States of his nightmares about nuclear war but stumbles upon an assassination plot.


  • Dennis Quaid as Alex Gardner
  • Max von Sydow as Paul Novotny
  • Christopher Plummer as Bob Blair
  • Kate Capshaw as Jane DeVries
  • David Patrick Kelly as Tommy Ray Glatman
  • Eddie Albert as The President
  • George Wendt as Charlie Prince

1984 viewing

My sister took me to see Dreamscape during it’s brief theater run in my hometown. I thought it was a great movie and it scarred the heck out of me. The Snakeman was terrifying! I didn’t realize the similarities it has to another 1984 movie about dreams and madmen.

I haven’t re-watched the entire movie, well ever. I’ve seen snippets of it over the years but never the entire movie.

40th Anniversary Re-watch

Watching it again forty years later, I still enjoy the movie. Quaid is good as the lead character and Capshaw is a beauty and holds her own alongside seasoned actors Max von Sydow and Chirstopher Plummer.

Quaid’s character Alex is a psychic and dropped out of a government dream research project. He’s now using his talent to bet on horses. Dr. Novoty wants Alex back in project to further his study. Alex is on the run from his bookie and decides to rejoin Novoty to avoid paying his debts.

At the research facility Alex meets Dr. Jane DeVries and is immediately smitten. He also meets Tommy Ray Glatman , another psychic and dream manipulator with more sinister motives.

The main antagonist, Bob Blair is played wonderfully by Christopher Plummer. Blair is a covert agent and working behind the scenes with Glatman to undermine the President.

There’s a lot of intrigue as Alex and Glatman enter other peoples dreams and help them overcome their fears. Well, Alex does, it turns out Glatman is killing people in their dreams.

Alex and Jane grow more suspicious and as they snoop around they uncover a plot to assassinate the President. Blair is going to have Glatman enter the Presidents dream and murder him, making it look like the President died of a heart attack in his sleep.

Dreamscape snakeman

The writing is good and the plot moves along nicely. There is great action scenes and the final dream sequence battle is fantastic. The special effects are great for the 80s with lots of practical effects and some early CGI. When I saw George Wendt standing in the bar I couldn’t help but yell out, Norm!

Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elm Street share a lot of similar plot points. A one point in Dreamscape someone even has knives for fingernails! According to my research, both movies were written about the same time in 1981. Dreamscape was filmed in 1983 while Elm Street was filmed in 1984. Dreamscape beat Elm Street to the box office by three months too.

Favorite line:

So, Jane, what you do here, in effect, is count boners

Wes Craven had a hard time selling A Nighmare on Elm Street due to the similarities. Three studios passed on it before New Line Cinema agreed to buy the movie.

While they share some similarities they are two completely different movies. Dreamscape is a suspense, thriller and not a slasher horror movie.

Dreamscape was released on 15 August 1984 with a PG-13 rating. The second movie to ever receive the rating, after Red Dawn. It was a success at the box office too. Bringing in over $12 million on a $6 million budget.

If you haven’t seen Dreamscape add it to your 40th anniversary watch list. It’s worth your time.

Did you watch Dreamscape? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on X(Twitter). The main Geekster channel is @TRNSocial and I’m @MileHighSamurai You can also find me on Bluesky @MileHighSamurai

6/10 stars

6 Stars

Check out the entire 84 From ’84 movie series

About Pitfall Gary 147 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

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