6.8/10
43,975
185 user 128 critic

Scanners (1981)

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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Popularity
4,024 ( 197)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer O'Neill ... Kim Obrist
Stephen Lack ... Cameron Vale (as Steven Lack)
Patrick McGoohan ... Dr. Paul Ruth
Lawrence Dane ... Braedon Keller
Michael Ironside ... Darryl Revok
Robert A. Silverman ... Benjamin Pierce (as Robert Silverman)
Lee Broker Lee Broker ... Security One
Mavor Moore Mavor Moore ... Trevellyan
Adam Ludwig Adam Ludwig ... Arno Crostic
Murray Cruchley Murray Cruchley ... Programmer 1 (as Lee Murray)
Fred Doederlein Fred Doederlein ... Dieter Tautz
Géza Kovács Géza Kovács ... Killer in Record Store (as Geza Kovacs)
Sonny Forbes Sonny Forbes ... Killer in Attic (as Sony Forbes)
Jérôme Tiberghien Jérôme Tiberghien ... Killer in Attic (as Jerome Tiberghien)
Denis Lacroix Denis Lacroix ... Killer in Barn
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Storyline

Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement. Written by Paul Reynolds <pauljr@innotts.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their thoughts can kill! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Scanners See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,225,876

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,225,876
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel 'Naked Lunch' contains a chapter concerning "Senders", a hostile organization of telepaths bent on world domination, a clear literary inspiration for this film. Cronenberg would later direct a film version of Naked Lunch (1991). See more »

Goofs

After the famous "exploding head" scene, there wasn't a drop of blood on Revok or the table. See more »

Quotes

Paul Ruth: I want you to access the Ripe program. I do not have ConSec computer clearance.
Cameron Vale: Neither do I.
Paul Ruth: But you do have a nervous system. And so does a computer. And you can scan a computer, as you would another human being.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the credits end, the words "Max Security Self Destruct Seconds 1" flash on the screen, then the screen flashes green, as if someone shut the monitor off. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the scene when Cameron Vale is in Revok's factory, he checks the computer. When we see the monitor, there's a green frame in this version and there's also a green frame at the closing credits. This version appeared on the VHS distributed by MOKÉP. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Another Cronenberg Classic Worth Seeing Repeatedly
5 March 2007 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

After a renegade scanner named Revok (a mutant human with advanced mental powers) causes another man's head to explode, he is hunted by a second scanner hired by a semi-secret scientific organization. Meanwhile, other scanners are picked off one by one, and the hunter is left with great moral and existential questions -- where did he come from, what is his purpose and is there a right or wrong side in this human/mutant battle?

Director David Cronenberg can seemingly do no wrong. As I watch one film after another of his, I wait to find one that is the pock mark on the perfect career. Some of his films (such as "Rabid" or perhaps "Stereo") may be of less quality than others, but I have yet to find one that is outright bad. "Scanners", for the record, ranks among his best and has become a cultural staple.

You know you are a culturally important film when you are referenced by "Wayne's World". But seriously, this film is a science fiction story that -- like many science fiction stories -- holds some greater cultural and moral issues worth investigating.

The issue of racism is here. Like the recent "X-Men" movies, and many other films, the idea of someone who is different in a superficial way (scanners look like ordinary humans) and is rejected raises the point that we as a society need to accept those who are not like us. Racism stinks, whether it appear in its purest form (skin color) or through religion or other means. And that is what makes this film so clever: the main character is a hero, but yet he is the outcast -- in some ways we see him as being more human than those who would have him killed.

This also happens to be a film that focuses on one of Cronenberg's strong points: his love of science. Or perhaps science gone wrong, if you will. Does any other director really tackle this as effectively as Cronenberg? I don't think so. (Imagine what would happen if he started making a series of Philip K. Dick novels into films.)

I suppose I did not really get into the film itself so much, but the beauty of the film is that what you take away from it if you view it critically is so much more than the plot or effects or lighting. Yes, you have a great cast (isn't Michael Ironside creepy?) and a head explodes. Yes, you have gun fights and mind control. Even a little bit of romance (but only just a pinch, nothing like a Goldblum-Davis connection in this one).

If you cannot tell, I want you to see this movie. If you're the type of person I am, you'll find this movie so smooth and refreshing on your mental palette that the film ends before you've even realized it began -- the sign of a really great film (or a really short one, which this isn't). Give it a chance, you'll like it.


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