The Shining (1980)

9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Memorable horrific scenes, Jack Nicholson


Movie Info

Movie Name: The Shining

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): May 23, 1983

MPAA Rating: R



I think I’ll take the next elevator

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has a new job…he’s going to be the winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel.  His wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are going with him.  It is going to be a chance for Jack to write and bond as a family, but there is something in the hotel that doesn’t want any of them to leave.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining adapted the 1977 novel by Stephen King.  The movie was met with positive reviews and now is considered a horror classic.  Despite this, at the time of its release, the movie was nominated for two Razzies:  Worst Actress (Shelley Duvall) and Worst Director for Kubrick.  The film was remade as a TV movie in 1997 which followed the novel more closely.


Sad to think the current generation may have no idea what he means by “Here’s Johnny!”

Stanley Kubrick was a master.  The Shining is just another example of his skill.  It is full of eerie images that keep the viewer on edge (despite a kind of long run time for a horror movie of two hours and twenty minutes).  It is pretty amazing considering the low body count.  That is because this movie is just out to scare by prey on primal fears.

There are tons of iconic images in the movie, be it the blood pouring out of the elevators, Redrum, the creepy twins, woman in the bathtub, or Jack’s “Here’s Johnny” moment that for years has been a popular poster.  The creepy sound of Danny riding his Big Wheel over the tile and carpet is something that just happened accidentally, but it is happy accidents like that which really can make movies.


I just want to state, we aren’t “twins” as the movie clearly says…We’re just freakishly the same.

The Shining does have its faults (but its good far outweighs the bad).  The acting is really strange and the dialogue is very stiff.  None of the characters feel natural or speak like normal people (a great example of this “off” conversation would be the discussion about the Donner Party on the way to the Overlook).  Kubrick was such a perfectionist that maybe that was intentional, but it makes the movie just feel off…and though that is somewhat bad, it works to the movie’s favor in that the viewer just knows something bad is coming.

The Shining (somewhat along with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest) revealed the “Jack” character that Nicholson has unfortunately kept.  I love his early work and he showed much more range as an actor before he discovered that people loved “Jack” in this movie.  For the most part, it feels that Jack never ended so I can dislike that part of The Shining (he’s also obviously has problems at the start of the movie and it seems like anyone would second guess the decision to leave him someplace for an entire winter).


Um…yeah, ok…I’ll just go with it.

Like or dislike it, the movie deviates from the book a lot.  In the book, Wendy was not the whiny wife (actually she was more of a model).  There was the menace of wasps, firehoses, and the hedge maze was replaced by topiary animals that moved when the characters weren’t looking.  Apparently a “roque” mallet is less threatening than an axe, so the axe became Jack’s weapon of choice for the movie.  If you are a Shining purist, the 1997 mini-series did stick to the plot regardless if the quality was way down.

The Shining is one of those “need-to-see” horror movies simply because it is referenced in lots of other things from commercials, to The Simpsons, to spoof movies.  It often goes down as one of the scariest movies and is chocked full of iconic images.  It will scare you.

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Related Links:

The Shining (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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