7.1/10
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104 user 55 critic

The Ninth Configuration (1980)

A former marine arrives at a mental asylum housed in a remote castle to run it. There he attempts to rehabilitate the patients by letting them act out their craziest fantasies and desires.

Writers:

William Peter Blatty (novel), William Peter Blatty (screenplay)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stacy Keach ... Col. Vincent Kane
Scott Wilson ... Capt. Billy Cutshaw
Jason Miller ... Lt. Frankie Reno
Ed Flanders ... Col. Richard Fell
Neville Brand ... Maj. Marvin Groper
George DiCenzo ... Capt. Fairbanks
Moses Gunn ... Maj. Nammack
Robert Loggia ... Lt. Bennish
Joe Spinell ... Lt. Spinell
Alejandro Rey ... Lt. Gomez
Tom Atkins ... Sgt. Krebs
Steve Sandor ... 1st Cyclist (Stanley)
Richard Lynch ... 2nd Cyclist (Richard)
Gordon Mark Gordon Mark ... Sgt. Gilman
William Lucking ... Highway Patrolman
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Storyline

A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for mentally ill and A.W.O.L. U.S. soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combatting his own long-suppressed insanity. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't blink for a second, because nothing is what it seems. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane See more »

Filming Locations:

Vienna, Austria See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ninth Configuration See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-issue) | (combined extended) | (1982)

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Believed to be the first appearance of "The Howie Scream", which is most well-known as the scream that is heard in the video game Starcraft when the Terran Academy building is selected. See more »

Quotes

Col. Richard Fell: [looking at a skull on his desk] Don't blame me, I told them not to operate.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the remastered print of this film, an "In Loving Memory" dedication to William Peter Blatty's son, Peter Vincent Galahad Blatty (May 17, 1987 - November 7, 2006) appears, with the 1971 high tone Lorimar theme playing over it. See more »

Alternate Versions

There are five different versions of this film, with various running times from 99 up to 140 minutes. Director William Peter Blatty disowned all versions except one: his approved cut runs 118 minutes and is the version that was originally released theatrically in the USA. This version is available on DVD. See more »

Connections

References Superman (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Till We Meet Again
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan (as Raymond B. Egan)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
New psychiatrist takes over an asylum for disturbed military men.
18 April 2005 | by conor_kileySee all my reviews

A brilliant and unconventional film. As I'm sure many others have said it is very difficult to describe or sum up accurately. It has so many seemingly incongruous elements yet amazingly in the end it ties them all together and packs an emotional punch very few films manage.

Basically it's about how a new lead psychiatrist arrives at an asylum maintained by the military. It is loaded with stunning scenes, images, symbolism, scares and emotionally devastating moments and it leaves me both uplifted and sad yet so intellectually stimulated I want to discuss it because there is a LOT to talk about once it's over.

It also has some brutal violence and the nastiest bar fight ever filmed.

Stacey Keach plays the role of Kane perfectly, he shows no outward humor but is not humorless himself. He is clearly dedicated to helping the inmates in any way he can using every means at his disposal and wisely the character is not played as being detached and totally unemotional. When Kane (Keach) gets annoyed, enthusiastic or is dealing with a difficult issue he doesn't simply deadpan it he communicates what is happening within the character despite the constraints needed for the role. Brilliant work.

Where his treatments lead the inmates (and where it leads Kane himself) is the core of the film and the whole thing is actually about all of us and how we can reconcile faith, science and the horrors of existence. Faith can mean many different things...

There are multiple edits available but the major aspect that changes is related to one brief scene involving a knife and a bit a dialog. It's worth mentioning because it does change the tone for many viewers depending on the version they see.

The Ninth Configuration is a treasure, a sadly overlooked and misunderstood film.


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