TriStar Pictures | Release Date: March 1, 1991
7.5
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 41 Ratings
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32
Mixed:
7
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2
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8
SpangleJan 24, 2017
The Doors is hardly a biopic of Jim Morrison or The Doors. Instead, it is a gateway drug in the form a feature film. Through the life of Morrison, director Oliver Stone finds cinematic peyote and injects it into the veins of the audience andThe Doors is hardly a biopic of Jim Morrison or The Doors. Instead, it is a gateway drug in the form a feature film. Through the life of Morrison, director Oliver Stone finds cinematic peyote and injects it into the veins of the audience and leaves us with an oddly spiritual experience. Hypnotic, indulgent, and excessive, Stone discards the story of Jim Morrison and The Doors in order to tell a more compelling tale through the atmosphere of the film. In essence, he turns an otherwise cliche biopic into an experience that transcends its cliched trappings within the musician biopic subgenre. Adorning his film with the sexual escapades of Morrison, the making of songs, and a soundtrack complete with the greatest hits by the band, Stone's film is a transcendent biopic that feels eminently rich and entertaining.

This power and atmosphere of the film is defined very early on. Eschewing most of his childhood and just dropping him in college, the film briefly runs through the forming of the band in order to dump them in the desert. Having the band take peyote and trip together in order to get ideas for the film, it is here that Stone conjures the psychedelic feeling of the film of simulates an acid trip through his film. Shot throughout with an orange filtered haze, the film is hypnotic and continuously unexpected. It is also in this desert that Stone really finds his hero: Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer). Tossing aside most life details in favor of this aesthetic and atmosphere, Stone needed a man to carry it on their shoulders and Kilmer does exactly that. He disappears into the role and I had to constantly remind myself that this was Ice-Man from Top Gun. He is phenomenal to an unexpected degree and really embodies Morrison, but more importantly, embodies the feeling that Stone is trying to conjure. It is a match made in heaven between director and lead and the film benefits tremendously from their on-screen chemistry.

Yet, the clearest Stone comes to showing the audience that he could care less about the story is the San Francisco concert sequence. Opening with The Doors performing at an outdoor concert in the Bay Area, Stone keeps the music playing, but cuts through a very unique montage. Containing images of Jim participating in a witchcraft ritual to be united with some weird girl, people dancing nude around a fire at the festival, Jim catching Pam (Meg Ryan) cheating on him and taking heroin, Jim lighting his house on fire, and Native American spirits dancing with him on stage, the film is odd at this point. Yet, it is equally as gorgeous. Stone does not strike a balance between the aesthetic drug trips and Jim's reality. Instead, he goes full bore into the former. Those expecting a traditionally told biopic will come away disappointed because that was never Stone's intent. Instead, he wanted to drop his audience into the mind of Morrison and to see the world from his point of view. It is honestly the only way to sympathize with him and once we feel the drugs and negative influences in his life, it becomes obvious how this man died at 27.

It is this style that saves the film. While Stone makes the concert scenes powerful and epic, as they should be, the stylish storytelling and orange filtering cover up a largely run-of-the-mill tale. Stone takes no risks in the story itself, which becomes more noticeable after the hypnotic opening half hour. The indulgence in the sexual temptations experienced by Morrison is an unfortunate detour, but continues to show that his life was certainly done by the seat of his pants. Unfortunately, the rise and fall of his life is written in a pretty cliche manner, it is only once Stone gets his hands on the material that it truly soars and becomes an oddly beautiful biopic and a behemoth of one at that.

The Doors is an experience. Their music most certainly is, as the lyrics are hardly special. Rather, it is the feeling that it creates within you where the music finds its power. Oliver Stone knows this and seeks to create the same feeling from his film. He is certainly successful with the film transporting the viewer to an alternate dimension where Jim Morrison was possessed by Natives and that is hardly the weirdest thing the film convinces its audience of. It is indulgent, excessive, and off-the-wall. But, above all else, it is thoroughly engrossing, atmospheric, and completely epic. It story is cliche, but its storytelling transcends the stale and repetitive musician biopic subgenre.
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9
talisencrwSep 22, 2016
I KNOW I'm giving way too many stars for this, but I don't care; The Doors were one of my very first favourite groups. I fondly recall, when I was 11, and Elektra Records released 'The Doors' Greatest Hits', and the album-length version ofI KNOW I'm giving way too many stars for this, but I don't care; The Doors were one of my very first favourite groups. I fondly recall, when I was 11, and Elektra Records released 'The Doors' Greatest Hits', and the album-length version of 'Light My Fire' was played all the time on the radio, and I was mesmerized by the instrumental middle of the song, got the album from my parents for Christmas, and started a lifelong love affair with the band. Yes, Jim Morrison is highly overrated. Yes, the movie is an extremely self-indulgent mess and it can be quite incoherent and incohesive. But the Sixties, the L.A. rock scene back then, and especially Morrison's life, were just like that, so it is oh so fitting!

I adore the fact that it was Oliver Stone's labour of love (one of thankfully many) and that the surviving members of the band basically had full input. I would take this and 'Talk Radio' (my personal favourite Stone's throw) over a hundred of Stone's politically over-the-top movies any day!

When I was 17, I took my life savings and visited, on my own, nine European countries, including France and its capital, Paris. Did I go for the Eiffel Tower, wild romance on Richard Linklater-esque trains, or its outstanding magic and sidewalk cafes? No--train-wise I had to put up with a stupid labour strike, such that an overnight sleeper car from Berne, Switzerland to Paris had to be switched, in the middle of the night, FOUR times, just so they could prove a point. And it was just to see Morrison's grave. I met 20 fantastic people who had made the pilgrimage from all over the world, and it was my first time having red wine and smoking pot. The graffiti and the sculpture of him, in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, were fascinating, as was his life. Would I go through that again? Of course I would.

It's Val Kilmer's best work by a mile. The film just oozes charisma and breathes life--just as the band's work must have done back in the day. Worth a purchase and re-watches (I watch it each year on Jim's birthday and accidentally bought it twice), for any fan of 60's music or its culture. A bonafide classic when Stone was actually really something.
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3
FranzHcriticOct 23, 2015
This film is unapologetic in its faults, least of all in the disrespectful depiction of Jim Morrison. Everyone can be unanimous in Val Kilmer's performance as commendable, it does not benefit the film, but I believe should be treated as aThis film is unapologetic in its faults, least of all in the disrespectful depiction of Jim Morrison. Everyone can be unanimous in Val Kilmer's performance as commendable, it does not benefit the film, but I believe should be treated as a separate entity. Oliver Stone fell flat onto a hard concrete pavement from a helicopter. There was just a montage of tripped up images and weird dialogue. It was nonsensical and stale. To sit through this for two and a half hours, even on a computer, was a waste of time. I could have listened to some of The Doors' music if it wasn't for my dedication to watch the whole film before critiquing it. But I now call that belief into question. Expand
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5
Compi24Mar 16, 2015
Kilmer's Morrison is frighteningly spot-on, but there doesn't seem to be any meat to the rest of Oliver Stone's "The Doors," a film that ultimately feels like an excuse for the director to employ gobs of his characteristically trippy imagery.
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8
8bitParadoxJan 12, 2014
This movie shows the real depth of the hardcore rock and roll star of the 60s. Val Kilmer does a fantastic job as Jim Morrison, with spot on appearance and close to perfect vocals. This movie is deep and psychedelic that should keep theThis movie shows the real depth of the hardcore rock and roll star of the 60s. Val Kilmer does a fantastic job as Jim Morrison, with spot on appearance and close to perfect vocals. This movie is deep and psychedelic that should keep the hardcore rock and roll fan interested throughout. This movie has a style unlike any other biopic. Expand
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10
fabian79Aug 10, 2013
Excelente Peli el Rey del Rock increhible peli que concuerda con todos los documentales prosteriotes como When you strangen narrada por Jonny Depp
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5
greenplanetDec 6, 2012
Sometimes things come out about performers over time-I think this film should be measured against the bands 1967 live album at the Matrix club when Jim Morrison says 'show me the way to the next little boy' instead of 'little girl' which isSometimes things come out about performers over time-I think this film should be measured against the bands 1967 live album at the Matrix club when Jim Morrison says 'show me the way to the next little boy' instead of 'little girl' which is kinds not so great anyway-kind of blowing the bands career into the trash from the start-the depiction of JM as a heroic rock figure in light of who he turned out to be is nothing special. I thought he was basically a cool guy before I heard the Matrix release which went from bootleg to official Doors release a few years ago-audio is not much better than a bootleg anyway-they say its 'really good audio' -right-I like Val Kilmer but not in this film somehow....what I said notwithstanding....I think the Hendrix story movie is probably a better bet. Collapse
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5
j30Jan 26, 2012
The making of the rock band is pretty invigorating stuff, however the Jim Morrison biography is uninviting and kind of boring after a while. I thought the movie was called The Doors, not The Rise And Fall Of The Lizard King.
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