The Shining (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an old revision of this page, as edited by (talk) at 09:32, 30 March 2007 (→‎Response). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

The Shining
File:The Shining poster.jpg
A promotional poster for the film
Directed byStanley Kubrick
Written byNovel:
Stephen King
Stanley Kubrick
Diane Johnson
Produced byStanley Kubrick
StarringJack Nicholson
Shelley Duvall
Danny Lloyd
Scatman Crothers
CinematographyJohn Alcott
Edited byRay Lovejoy
Music byWendy Carlos
Rachel Elkind
Krzysztof Penderecki
György Ligeti
Béla Bartók
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
May 23, 1980
Running time
United States 143 min.
European Union 119 min.
BudgetUSD$15,000,000 (estimated)

The Shining is a 1980 horror film by Stanley Kubrick based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The film stars Jack Nicholson as tormented writer Jack Torrance and Shelley Duvall as his wife Wendy.



Former teacher and alcoholic Jack Torrance (Nicholson) interviews for a caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel in an effort to rebuild his life after his volatile temper lost him a teaching position. The hotel manager, Mr. Ullman, warns Jack that he and his family will be snowbound through most of the winter and of the potential for cabin fever. He drives the point home by recounting a season when the caretaker, Charles Grady, went crazy and brutally killed his wife, his twin girls, and finally himself. Given his own desperation and the opportunity to pursue his true passion, writing, Jack acknowledges the warning, but accepts the job. Head chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) instantly recognizes that Jack's son Danny is telepathic, and speaks to him mentally to offer him an ice cream. He explains that he and his grandmother both had the gift; because pictures sent telepathically seemed to glow, she referred to this communication as "shining." He also counsels Danny about the hotel, hinting that something terrible had happened there and left a trace, "as if someone burned toast," that only people who had the gift could perceive. Danny questions Dick about what went on in the hotel and in room 237. Dick does not answer, but sternly warns Danny to stay out of that room.

Jack's mental health deteriorates rapidly once the family is alone in the hotel. He has writers' block, sleeps too little, and is irritable. Danny has visions of the murdered twin girls, but tells no one. He continues to wonder about room 237.

One day, a ball rolls toward Danny as he plays with his toys. It appears to have come from the open door of room 237, which Danny enters. At that moment, Wendy (Shelly Duvall) comes running from the basement at the sound of Jack's screams. She comforts him as he tells her that he had a nightmare in which he used an axe to chop Danny and her to pieces. Before she can react, Danny appears at the other end of the room, looking disoriented and sucking his thumb. His sweater is ripped and there are bruises on his neck. He does not answer when she asks what happened. She angrily accuses Jack and takes the child back to their suite.

Dick Hallorann with Wendy and Danny Torrance.

Jack is furious about the accusation. He storms around the hotel, making his way to the Gold Ballroom. Sinking defeatedly on to the barstool, his head in his hands, Jack declares that he would sell his soul for one drink. When he looks up he discovers a bartender, who serves him a drink. Jack is nonplussed by the sudden appearance of the bartender and even addresses him by his name, Lloyd. The ensuing conversation reveals that Jack had accidentally injured Danny years ago. A frantic Wendy enters; Danny claims to have encountered "a crazy woman" in the hotel with them in room 237. Jack goes to investigate.

Jack's exploration of room 237 is a tipping point for three characters: Danny, Jack, and Dick. While Jack is inside the room, Danny appears to be having a seizure in his own room while Dick, on vacation in Florida, seems to pick up on a signal Danny is sending.

Jack cautiously enters room 237 and hears noises from the bathroom. He watches lustfully as a young beautiful naked woman (Lia Beldam) pulls back the shower curtain and steps slowly out of the bathtub. The two approach each other and embrace in passionate kiss. Jack catches a glimpse of their reflection in the mirror and sees the woman is actually a rotting corpse. He recoils in horror, seeing that the young lady has transformed into an elderly woman (Billie Gibson); a walking corpse with rotten, sagging skin. She cackles madly while reaching for him with her stretched arms. In a frightened panic, Jack staggers out of the room, locking the door after him.

Jack with ghostly bartender Lloyd.

When he reports back to Wendy, Jack denies anything amiss in room 237. The theory he presents to Wendy is that Danny, who is mildly epileptic, injured himself and thought he saw something. Wendy suggests they take Danny to a doctor. Jack becomes irate, lecturing Wendy on her thoughtlessness and blaming her for everything that's gone wrong in his life. Insisting that they can't leave the hotel because of his obligation to his employers, he storms out, returning to the Gold Room, which is now the scene of an extravagant party with guests dressed in 1920s fashion. Lloyd serves him a drink and Jack goes to mingle. He doesn't get far when a butler carrying a tray runs into him, spilling advocaat on his jacket. The butler convinces Jack to come into the bathroom to clean up.

The butler introduces himself as Delbert Grady. Jack remembers the story Mr. Ullman told him about a man named Grady and confronts Grady with the information. Grady assures Jack that nothing of the sort took place and that, furthermore, Jack had always been the caretaker, not Grady. Jack is confused, but seems to accept Grady's story. Grady goes on to tell Jack that Danny has "a great talent" and is using it to bring an "outside party" into the situation. Grady advises Jack on how to correct Danny, and how to correct Wendy if she interferes.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, Dick has had no luck contacting the people at the Overlook Hotel. He books the next flight to Colorado.

At the Overlook, Wendy arms herself with a baseball bat and goes searching for Jack, intent on leaving the hotel with Danny and with or without Jack. During her search, she spots his manuscript next to the typewriter. She reads what Jack has been writing: hundreds of pages of repetitions of a single sentence, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.". She realizes Jack has gone mad.

Wendy discovers Jack's 'writing'.

Jack approaches from behind and asks, "How do you like it?" Wendy shrieks with alarm and turns. A confrontation ensues as Jack demands to know her intentions regarding leaving the hotel with Danny, while Wendy just tries to get away. It ends with Wendy hitting Jack in the head with the bat, knocking him unconscious.

Wendy drags Jack's limp body to the pantry and locks him inside right before he wakes. Jack tells her he has sabotaged the radio, as well as the snowcat, stranding them all there. She confirms what he told her.

A few hours later, Jack is roused from a nap by the sound of Delbert Grady's voice. Grady expresses disappointment and a lack of confidence in Jack, but Jack assures him he can get the job done if given one more chance. The pantry becomes unlocked.

Wendy has fallen asleep in her room. Danny is in a trance, carrying a knife and muttering "redrum" repeatedly. He takes Wendy's lipstick and writes "REDRUM" on the bathroom door. He begins shouting "REDRUM," which wakes Wendy. She clutches him to her, then sees the reflection of the bathroom door in the mirror. Reversed, it reads, "MURDER." At that instant, banging sounds start coming from the door.

Jack leers through the broken doorframe in an iconic shot.

The sound is Jack swinging an axe at the locked door. Wendy grabs Danny and locks them in the bathroom. She opens a tiny, snowbanked window and pushes Danny out; he slides safely to the ground. She tries to get out the same window, but cannot fit. She tells Danny to run and hide.

Meanwhile, Jack has chopped his way through the front door and knocks politely on the bathroom door. Wendy holds the knife and tries to steady herself as Jack begins chopping down the bathroom door. After chopping away one of the panels, he sticks his head through (in what was to become an iconic moment in horror film history) and screams,"Heeeere's JOHNNY!" Jack sticks his hand through the gap to turn the lock. Wendy slashes at him with a knife, landing a blow to the hand and sending Jack recoiling in pain. They both hear the low rumble of an approaching snowcat engine. He stalks out.

The snowcat driver is Dick. Inside the hotel, he calls out, but gets no reply. Jack, hiding behind a pillar, leaps out at him and swings the axe into his chest, killing him. Danny, hiding in a kitchen cabinet, cries out, revealing his location. He clambers out of the steel cabinet and runs outside with Jack in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Wendy has collected herself and is on the look for Danny. She has several ghostly encounters during the search. At the same time, axe-wielding Jack follows Danny into the hedge maze.

File:Overlook hotel 1.jpg
The photograph on the hotel wall: Overlook Hotel, July 4th Ball, 1921. A young Jack stands smiling in the foreground.

Danny realizes he is leaving a trail of footprints for Jack to follow. He carefully retraces his steps, then hides behind a hedge. When Jack arrives, he sees that the footprints have disappeared, but does not realize Danny is hiding. He chooses a path and resumes chasing Danny. Danny comes out of his hiding spot and follows his own footprints to the maze's entrance.

Wendy makes her way out of the hotel at the same time Danny emerges from the maze. Relieved, she flings down the knife and embraces him. Jack lets out a blood-curdling shriek from the maze. Danny and Wendy waste no time escaping in the snowcat. Jack, hopelessly lost in the maze, is doomed to freeze to death.

Right before the end credits, the audience sees a photograph of a lavish ball which had been hanging in the hotel the entire time. In the center of the picture is a young Jack. The caption reads, "Overlook Hotel, July 4th Ball, 1921".


Actor Role
Jack Nicholson Jack Torrance
Shelly Duvall Winnifred "Wendy" Torrance
Danny Lloyd Danny Torrance
Scatman Crothers Richard "Dick" Hallorann
Barry Nelson Stuart Ullman
Philip Stone Delbert Grady
Joe Turkel Lloyd the bartender
Tony Burton Larry Durkin
Anne Jackson The Doctor
Lisa & Louise Burns The Grady Twins


Filming took place at the same Pinewood Studios as the rest of the films that Kubrick made in England. The set for the Overlook Hotel was then the largest ever built. It included a full recreation of the exterior of the hotel, as well as all of the interiors. A few exterior shots were done at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon. They are noticeable because the hedge maze is missing. The interiors are based on those of the Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park. The Timberline Lodge requested Kubrick change the sinister Room 217 of King's novel to 237, so customers would stay in their own room 217 fearlessly.

The massive set would be the site of Kubrick's first use of the Steadicam.

The door that Jack breaks down with the axe near the end of the movie was a real door. Kubrick originally used a fake door, made of a weaker wood, but Jack Nicholson, who had worked as a volunteer fire marshal, tore it down too quickly.

Due to the limitations of special effects of the era Kubrick substituted a hedge maze for topiary animals of King's books.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, The Shining holds the record for the film with most retakes of a single scene (with spoken dialogue) at 127 takes. The participant in those retakes was Shelley Duvall.

Jack's most famous line, "Heeeeere's Johnny!", is taken from the famous introduction for The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, as spoken by Ed McMahon.

The film that Danny and Wendy watch on television at the beginning of the "Monday" segment is Summer of '42, reportedly one of Kubrick's favorite films.

All of the TV and radio personalities used in the film were actual members of the Denver, Colorado media of the time.

The opening panorama shots (which were used by Ridley Scott for the closing moments of the film Blade Runner) and all scenes of the Volkswagen Beetle on the road to the hotel were filmed in Glacier National Park in Montana. These scenes were filmed out of a helicopter.

Making The Shining

Stanley Kubrick allowed his then-17-year-old daughter, Vivian, to make a documentary about the production of The Shining. Created originally for the British television show BBC Arena, this documentary offers rare insight into the shooting process of a Kubrick film.

The documentary, together with full-length commentary by Vivian Kubrick, is included on the DVD release of The Shining.


The film was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards: one for Worst Director, and one for Worst Actress (Shelley Duvall). In sharp contrast, film website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 94%. Stephen King has been quoted to saying he loved what Stanley Kubrick did with the movie, but he himself notoriously disliked Kubrick's vision.[citation needed] He thought that his novel's important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. Kubrick made many other changes that King disparaged. King especially viewed the casting of Nicholson as a mistake and a tip-off to the audience (due to Nicholson's identification with the character of McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) that the character Jack would go mad. King finally supervised a television remake of The Shining in 1997, which received lukewarm reviews.

  • Whenever Jack sees or communicates with spirits, a mirror is always present. Critic Roger Ebert notes this in his review of the film and, given the themes of madness and isolation, suggests he may be speaking with himself.


There are several versions of The Shining. After its premiere and a week into the general run (which ran for 146 minutes), Kubrick cut a scene at the end that took place in a hospital. The scene had Wendy in a bed talking with Mr. Ullman, the man who hired Jack at the beginning of the film. He explains that her husband's body could not be found, thus raising several questions and implications. This scene was subsequently physically cut out of prints by projectionists and sent back to the studio by order of Warner Bros., the film's distributor. This left the film at 143 minutes, and this is the version available in North America.

As noted by Roger Ebert:

If Jack did indeed freeze to death in the labyrinth, of course his body was found -- and sooner rather than later, since Dick Hallorann alerted the forest rangers to serious trouble at the hotel. If Jack's body was not found, what happened to it? Was it never there? Was it absorbed into the past, and does that explain Jack's presence in that final photograph of a group of hotel partygoers in 1921? Did Jack's violent pursuit of his wife and child exist entirely in Wendy's imagination, or Danny's, or theirs?... Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue. It pulled one rug too many out from under the story. At some level, it is necessary for us to believe the three members of the Torrance family are actually residents in the hotel during that winter, whatever happens or whatever they think happens.


The European version runs for 119 minutes. Kubrick personally cut 24 minutes from the film. Interestingly, many of the excised scenes in some way made reference to the outside world, usually with a television.

Differences from the novel

The film has several aspects that are different from the novel.

  • Hallorann is killed, rather than just wounded like in the novel.
  • The Overlook Hotel is not destroyed by the hotel's boiler explosion.
  • In the film Jack uses an axe, in the book he uses a roque mallet.
  • One of the main ghost character from the book, Harry Derwent, is not in the film.
  • In the book, Mr. Ullman is rude to Jack because of Jack's past as an alcoholic and abuser. In the movie, Mr. Ullman comes off as friendly to Jack.


The film features a brief electronic score by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, including one major theme in addition to a main title based on Hector Berlioz' interpretation of the "Dies Irae", as well as pieces of modernist music. The soundtrack LP was taken off the market due to licensing issues and has never appeared as a legitimate compact disc release. For the film itself, many of the pieces were overdubbed on top of one another.

The non-original music on the soundtrack is as follows:

In Popular Culture


  • Neither Lia Beldam (Young woman in room 237) nor Billie Gibson (Old woman in room 237) appeared in another movie after this one.
  • The Grady sisters' footage is unmistakably reminiscent of a photo by Diane Arbus.
  • Kubrick was able to film all of Danny's parts without the young actor (Danny Lloyd) playing Danny realizing he was in a horror movie.

External links