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Val Kilmer delivers what was considered one of 1991's best performances as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's hallucinatory bio-pic of the seminal 1960s rock group The Doors. Stone cuts a jagged swath thr... read more read more...ough Morrison's life, starting with a childhood memory where Morrison sees an elderly Indian dying by the roadside. It picks up with Morrison's arrival in California and his assimilation into the Venice Beach culture, followed by his film school days at UCLA; his introduction to his girlfriend Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan); his first encounters with Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan); and the origin of The Doors -- made up of Manzarek, Robby Kreiger (Frank Whaley), and John Densmore (Kevin Dillon). As the fame of The Doors grows, Morrison's obsession with death increases. The band grows weary of Morrison's missed recording sessions and no-shows at concerts. Morrison, meanwhile, sinks deeper into a drug-induced haze, having mystical sexual encounters with Patricia Kennealy (Kathleen Quinlan), an older rock journalist involved with sadomasochism and witchcraft. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Flixster Users

80% liked it

59,782 ratings


59% liked it

46 critics

R, 2 hr. 18 min.

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Release Date: March 1, 1991

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DVD Release Date: August 19, 1997

Stats: 3,965 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (3,965)

  • May 10, 2013
    Jim Morrison: This is the strangest life I've ever known.

    "The Ultimate Story of Sex, Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll"

    The Doors is about the best movie I could imagine being made about Jim Morrison and The Doors. Although the film may be named The Doors; it would probably make more sens... read moree if it were titled Jim Morrison, because that's really what this film is about. The sad fact is that Jim Morrison was The Doors and although the other three had amazing talent, they always seemed to be left in the shadow of Morrison. This film captures that aspect of the band extremely well. 

    Oliver Stone attacks the story of Jim Morrison as he would any other story, with the most controversial topics that came up in Morrison's life. Although with Morrison as his subject, it really wasn't too hard to find controversy. Whether it be Morrison experimenting with acid and peyote, getting black out drunk, screwing every girl that came to his concerts, rebelling against authority, or possibly showing his privates at a concert; Jim Morrison is controversy.

    Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison makes complete sense. Kilmer looks the part and when I say that, I mean it. He looks like Jim Morrison in a way I've only seen from one other biopic and that was Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. Kilmer does do a good job in a very complicated and difficult role. The supporting cast fills in around him nicely as well.

    The Doors is a movie I really enjoyed as a Doors fan. I also love how Oliver Stone created the perfect drug infused, alcoholic, opinionated atmosphere that I would have to believe surrounded Morrison his whole life. If you're a fan of The Doors, this is an absolute must watch. For everyone else, it may still be worth a look, as it is a great music biopic. 
  • April 29, 2011
    A good, psychedelic movie about the band the Doors, Kilmer is good playing Morrison, one of his best roles. I liked this movie.
  • October 2, 2010
    Oliver Stone's Biopic on The Doors is somewhat an imperfect attempt at telling the story of the legendary rock band of the same name. I say imperfect because most of the events that happen in the film are exaggerated. Some of the original members have claimed that Oliver Stone ha... read mores ignored their input when they were making the film for his creative liberty. What we have here is a semi fictional biopic with the facts twisted around to make the story seem more dramatic. Some events in the film never did happen. This a film that is a perfect example of what happens when you sacrifice truth for fiction. But I guess it doesn't really matter as long as the film is entertaining. The film is definitely an awesome journey through the 60's. A nostalgic piece of psychedelic rock and peace and love abound in this film as Oliver Stone takes us on an unforgettable journey of the legendary rock band. The cast that he has assembled here is great especially Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. Kilmer deliver delivers the best performance of his career in The Doors. Val Kilmer did his own vocals for Doors songs and thats one of the high points of the film. Despite the flaws, Kilmer's acting saves this film. This isn't the best biopic on a band, but it definitely isn't the worst. The thing that may be conflicting is the fact that the film focuses more on Jim Morrison than the band itself. As far as I'm concerned, This film should have been titled differently. Besides for Kilmer the rest of cast do a fine job at portraying the real people. Even if it's not 100% accurate, and it's most definitely not, The Doors is still a pretty interesting film to watch and enjoy. I thought the film was good, but flawed, but by no means terrible. Stone is still able to paint a vivid portrait of the 1960's, and succeeds fairly well in doing so. If you're a Doors fan, check this one out. But just remember that Oliver Stone fictionalized most of the story to make this film more dramatic. If it wasn't for Val Kilmer awesome portrayal of Jim Morrison, this film would be a total faillure but it isn't.
  • August 2, 2010
    Kilmer and Ryan weren't the right cast, but the actual movie was well written and definitely right in its assessment.
  • March 29, 2010
    First hour is pretty cool then I get lost in the drugs. I've read that JIm Morrison's portrayal was overblown and out of proportion but I wasn't there, I'm just reading shiz. "The End" performance was awesome, Oliver Stone was solid in the 80's, fell off in the 90's. JFK, suc... read moreks, The Doors, slucks, Natural Born Killers, no thanks, Nixon, bucks, U-Turn, ducks, Any Given Sunday, trucks and trucks. All piles up to suck compared to his 80's stream of solid films.
  • January 6, 2010
    Maybe I'm partial to this film because I love the band and the time period, but I really do think that it is an overlooked gem. While it's not a flawless biopic, it is extremely entertaining and fun. You see the emotional downfall of Jim Morrison as well as the effect of his musi... read morec on the world. It's a sad, but true interpretation of his life and I appreciate Oliver Stone for going that route.
  • April 12, 2009
    Wow, where do I was truly an incredible trip. Definitely contained the similarities of riding a roller coaster..but with a drop that was lethal.

    The Spiel: Seeing as I had a pretty chaotic day and was looking for a movie I could watch and have a smoke read moreis seemed to be the ideal choice. There was just something about how it all came together, not to mention how fucking awesome the trip in the desert was... I'm not actually very familiar with Oliver Stone seeing as this probably one of the few movies I've seen of his, yes I know...terrible but I'm getting there. I really, really liked this...I don't know in a way it seemed to explain The Doors in a revering and almost respectful sort of way?

    The Who/What/When/et al:
    The story is, as you may already deduce is that of the legendary and influential band of the '60s..and how the world revolved around Jim, or vice versa.

    At the same time, it seems to be a biography of the beloved Lizard King and it shows his life...from beginning to tragic end.

    In a way, we see a small bit of how Jim became who he was and from being a film student in Los Angeles to somewhat stumbling into the life of a rockstar. This film displays him as an iconic creature of the '60s...but he has flaws and thusly it reminds us of his mortality, and more importantly of our own.

    Yet, besides being this extraordinary icon of that also shows his downfalls of alcoholism and the growing fascination with a variety of drugs and eventually his obsession with death.

    This facet of life actually follows Jim around ever since the acid trip in the desert where he meets this mysterious shaman. He comes and goes, and it definitely shows us just how fascinated Jim really is with such a subject.

    After the Death Valley trip, the band members return to LA where they develop a devoted fanbase that follows them everywhere they go. Although, Machiavelli visits our Lizard King as he becomes self-infatuated and the drawbacks of extreme fame set in. As this trip continues...the band has to deal with their lead singer's absence and showing up for shows/recording when he likes as he falls deeper inside this downward spiral...thusly, deeply affecting the band and everyone else who relies on him in their lives. It is finally over all these disappointments and separation from reality that our hero finally meets the shaman, one last time.

    Ending Thoughts & Junk: I was completely and utterly blown away by Kilmer's phenomenal representation of Morrison...and he really was able to embody the essence of the Lizard King. It was amazing, because at'd have to remember that that's who it was on the screen...and not really Morrison. I mean I really love Kilmer as an actor...but he really put on just an amazing performace...not to mention that he can sing. WOW.

    Although I'm not a fan of Meg Ryan...I guess she was kinda agreeable as for the role of Pam Courson. There is of course a menagerie of cameos and other such actors in here...too many to mention...but they all play pretty crucial roles in the movie as well.

    Although there is much controversy/animostiy about the end result of Stone's a movie whether fact or fiction...was quite a feat within itself.

    "Close your eyes. We'll see the snake; see the serpent appear. His head is ten feet long and five feet wide. He has one red eye and one green eye. He's seven miles long. Deadly. I see all the history of the world on his scales, all people, all actions. We're all just little pictures on his scales. God, he's big, he's moving, devouring consciousness, digesting power. Monster of energy. It's a monster. We're going to kiss the snake on the tongue. Kiss the serpent. But if it senses fear, it'll eat us instantly. But if we kiss it without fear, it'll take us through the garden, through the gate, to the other side. Ride the snake... until the end of time."

    As if one movie isn't enough...check out this interesting doc of The Doors, called When You're Strange which premiered at the Sundance Festival earlier this year. I'm definitely gonna look for it...when it comes out! :]

  • September 15, 2008
    Fanboy movie.
  • May 15, 2008
    A well played part by Val Kilmer, whom I'm not usually a huge fan of.

    As I understand it from others, the story was told from a biased point of view. I am a fan of The Doors, but not so much that I know whether or not this is true.

    Entertaining, insightfuly, this is Sex, D... read morerugs & Rock 'n' roll without a doubt.
  • March 6, 2008
    Perhaps my rating is a bit inflated since this movie does have a number of historical/technical inaccuracies, but then again, Oliver Stone only wanted to showcase a certain side of Jim Morrison to begin with- the side heavily focused on in the film. Morrison wasn't really always ... read morethat drunk, beligerent, and obnoxious, but the charisma was spot on. Val Kilmer gives the best performance of his career here. He's (just about) spot on in voice (talking/singing), appearance, and mannerisms as JM. The rest of the cast is really good, but not nearly as good as Kilmer. The music and cinematography are also immediate highlights, especially since Vilmer's singing (close-up shots) is virtually indistinguishable from Morrison's (long shots). Yes, this movie is very bloated, over-indulgent, and very pointed in it's depiction of Jim and the band, but it's a hell of a lot of fun (even when it's murky).

Critic Reviews

Richard Schickel
November 21, 2008
Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine

The film really proves only that Jim was a bad drunk and a worse friend, and that in no way was his life exemplary. Full Review

Variety Staff
December 3, 2007
Variety Staff, Variety

Kilmer is convincing in the lead role, although he never allows the viewer to share any emotions. Full Review

Jonathan Rosenbaum
December 3, 2007
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

The movie does a pretty good job with period ambience. But it's a long haul waiting for the hero to keel over. Full Review

Stephen Garrett
January 26, 2006
Stephen Garrett, Time Out

Stone sometimes loads the narrative with too much sub-Freudian baggage about Morrison's childhood, but the music, the excess and the excitement come across well. Full Review

Caryn James
May 20, 2003
Caryn James, New York Times

It is made by a Morrison groupie for other groupies, a film that leaves the rest of us locked outside wondering what the fuss is about. Full Review

Peter Travers
May 12, 2001
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

I can't recall a film that evokes the myth of the Sixties more potently.

Joe Brown
January 1, 2000
Joe Brown, Washington Post

You get a buzz, all right, but you're left woozy and hung over, and probably won't remember much of what you've seen. Full Review

Hal Hinson
January 1, 2000
Hal Hinson, Washington Post

The film is an absurdity -- muddled, self-serious, alienating, a stone drag. Full Review

Roger Ebert
January 1, 2000
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Watching the movie is like being stuck in a bar with an obnoxious drunk, when you're not drinking. Full Review

Elliot Panek
January 1, 2011
Elliot Panek, Common Sense Media

Intense biopic full of drugs, sex and rock'n'roll. Full Review

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    • Jim Morrison: I believe in a long prolonged derangement of the senses to attain the unknown... Although I live in the subconscious, our pale reason hides the infinite from us.

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The Doors Trivia

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  • A song by The Doors was part of the soundtrack of what movie, redone by Echo & The Bunnymen.  Answer »
  • Val Kilmer did a great job portraying his character in this movie. He danced and sang on the stage and the FLOORS.  Answer »

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