|About the movies based on the writer's work and his influence on cinema. Many of his stories and novels have and would make great films. They are filled with dramatic storylines, unpredictable plot twists and memorable characters.|
No one can argue that Phil Dick's stories and style have had a strong influence on Hollywood. Only recently, as his popularity grows are people becoming aware of how pervasive the author's vision is in modern filmmaking. Film is a wonderful medium for the expression of many of Dick's ideas. These ideas can be filled with action and visual eye-candy but also heavy in symbolism and notions of theology and philosophy.
While only a handful of Dick stories have been made into films, many have been considered over the years. Phil himself was even commissioned to write the screenplay for his novel, Ubik. (If you find a copy of this for a reasonable price, don't buy it. Instead, send me an e-mail!) Many of Dick's greatest scenes require the imagination to create visions which are steeped in visual imagery. Being a director and making a film of a PKD book would be an intense exercise of artistic expression. The possibilities are as endless as there are stars in the sky. Many of the settings in PKD's best books are dripping with a dark atmosphere that would translate beautifully to the big screen. In this writer's opinion, the following PKD books and stories would make for some of the best cinema the world has ever seen (if done right of course!): Eye In The Sky, Ubik, A Scanner Darkly, Flow My Tears the Policeman Said, Faith of Our Fathers. I'm sure there are many more that would blow us all away.
What has Hollywood done to Philip K. Dick? Besides using his reality-shattering ideas in some of the best films ever made, the film industry has handed Dick and his fans a mixed bag. Two of his stories have been made into the biggest sci-fi films of all time. How much they capture the essence of
this great author is a question for serious debate. Among Dick fans, there is a broad consensus that Total Recall (even while it may have been a great film), totally misses the mark when it comes to expressing the deep, philosophical ideas of PKD. As a matter of fact, it only borrows a few key elements from the story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and leaves the rest behind.
Blade Runner is another story. Most fans agree that the Director's Cut of this film is much closer to Dick's vision of a futuristic San Francisco. No one can deny that this film brought Philip K. Dick to the publics attention in ways they had never known before. It is up to each person to decide how close this film comes to Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". While it definitely leaves out some very important elements found in the novel, it is also a dark and frightening portrait born from the mind of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
With the release of the upcoming film Minority Report, viewers will get another chance to see how Hollywood interprets Philip K. Dick. This movie could be an incredible triumph of filmmaking and fans should delight that one of the greatest directors in Hollywood is taking this movie under his wing. Steven Speilberg has surprised us before and many fans are glad to see him returning to the sci-fi/fantasy genre that he has neglected for so long. For fans of PKD, all we can do is hope that Speilberg and company have had a glimpse of Dick's intricate and emotional style enough to carry on the writer's legacy into the next millennium. Now more than ever, the world is ready for Philip K. Dick.
Enjoy your tour of Philip K. Dick's Hollywood!
is now featured on philipkdick.com. Click to find out more, view the trailer (in streaming video) and to order this unique film from Big Film Shorts.
Movies Based on the Novels, Stories or Life of Philip K. Dick
Blade Runner- One of the all-time classic science fiction films. Based on Dick's masterpiece, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Click here for info about the film and other Blade Runner Resources. Click here to order.
Screamers- The 1996 film about interplanetary colonists who must fight to stay alive. Starring Peter Weller and based on Dick's short story, "Second Variety". Click here to order.
Total Recall- Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Quaid, a normal guy who is caught in a political struggle on the planet Mars. Memory implants and the promise of a "virtual vacation" add confusion to Quiad's already tentative reality. Based (loosely) on Dick's short story, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". Click here to order.
Minority Report- Steven Speilberg and Tom Cruise will make this movie based on the PKD short story from the 1956. To be released the summer of 2000. Visit the new philipkdick.com Minority Report Update for all the latest info.
Confessions d'un Barjo (1992)- A French film based on Dick's "Confessions of a Crap Artist". Though the story was relocated from Marin County to the South of France, it's a pretty straight adaption and gives PKD credit in the opening titles. It's well-acted and directed, with lots of interesting visual touches and twists (like the main character inserting himself into a cheesy sci-fi TV show, and discussing his sisters marriage with the spaceship captain).
The Nervous Breakdown of Philip K. Dick - A 20-minute short film. A darkly comic journey as seen through the paranoid eyes of science fiction genius Philip K. Dick (Brian Brophy). Set in the Berkeley of 1968 against a backdrop of worn-out radical chic, shrill Nixonian totalitarianism and hippie psychodelia, the film is a dizzy detective story about a man in search of his own sanity. Find out more and view the film's trailer here on philipkdick.com by clicking the link above. Thanks to Big Film Shorts for their generous contribution.
Paycheck - This movie was recently optioned by Paramount Studios. Based on the PKD short story, it has the potential for fantastic cinema. View this Wall St. Journal Article (4/27/99) for more details.
The Trouble With Dick (1987) - A little-known independent sci-fi/comedy with a main character who is based (very) loosely on Philip Dick named Dick Kendred, and there were quite a few oblique (and not-so-oblique) references to P.K. Dick.
Impostor- A film in production. Find out more from the Internet Movie Database.
A Scanner Darkly- Jersey Films is involved in this project. See the philipkdick.com News for more details.
Movies In The Style of Philip K. Dick
Dark City (1998) - "...seems to reek of Dick's short story: 'Adjustment Team' (I think that's what it was called)..."
eXistenz (1999) - A futuristic, virtual reality story with references to a few PKD books. There have been mixed reviews of this film. Directed by David Cronenburg and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The Game (1997) - Nothing is what it seems when a man's brother buys him a special gift. Starring Michael Douglas & Sean Penn.
Gattaca (1997) - Futuristic story of a genetically imperfect man and his seemingly unobtainable goal to travel in space. Starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
Harrison Bergeron (1995) - This movie is based upon the short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It is a clever story about a future striving for mediocrity. Not a triumph in filmmaking but an entertaining and thought-provoking vision. Worth the rental fee.
Jacob's Ladder (1990) - Starring Tim Robbins. A psychologically twisted thriller with profound symbolism.
La Jetee (1962) - Black and White French film, English title, "The Pier". Directed by Chris Marker. "The film that 12 Monkeys was based on, which I think is actually better."
Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969) - ". . .where earth has an exact twin on the other side of the sun, but everything is reversed, writing, polarity, the whole nine yards, very entertaining."
The Lathe of Heaven (1980) - By Ursula K. Leguin. "...In many ways it seemed more phildickian to me than the movies which have been made actually based on his stuff."
The Matrix (1999) - Don't let Keanu Reeves freak you out from seeing this movie. Incredible Dick influence and a strong consistent storyline that totally fucks with your mind. Did I mention the best special effects you've ever seen? If you haven't already seen it, stop reading this and go have your ass kicked by this film! Click here for the official Matrix web site.
Open Your Eyes, also Abre los ojos (1997), released in US in 1999 - This Spanish film is a terrifying and disturing vision of a man whose reality is crumbling around him. What starts out as an vague love story soon dissolves into a wild psychological thriller that you would never expect. Highly recommended. (Movie is in Spanish with subtitles).
Sans Soleil (1982) - French documentary, English title, "Sunless". Directed by Chris Marker. "A lot like Valis."
Slipstream (1989) - "Themes which reminded me of Dick; namely that it had an android that wished to be human, but found it couldn't. ."
Solaris (1972) (1998) - A Russian movie directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Based on the book by Stanislaw Lem, it is considered by many to be sci-fi classic. "You will get out of this film what you bring to it."
Sphere (1998) - By Michael Crichton. "Part of the plot struck me as very PKD a la Eye in The Sky."
Stalker (1979) (1998) - A Russian movie also directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. "The only picture that is open to any interpretation you want."
They Live (1988) - A John Carpenter film, "An entertaining cheap shot at the Reagan Era."
THX 1138 (1970) - George Lucas adapted this, his first film, from a short he made at University.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999) - An exciting psychological mystery that uses the concept of science fiction in a way similar to PKD. This movie has a very cool atmosphere and keeps you guessing until the very end. Highly recommended to PKD fans. Also visit the Official Web Site.
The Trial (1993) - " ...I find 'The Trial' (with Anthony Hopkins) based on Kafka's book similar to Dick..."
The Truman Show (1998) - More optimistic than most PKD books but reminiscent of Time Out of Joint.
Twelve Monkeys (1995) - A convict, sent back in time to stop a devastating plague, is sent too far back and is hospitalized as insane. Starring Bruce Willis..
Videodrome (1983) - "...certainly warped my reality."
Welcome to Blood City (1977) - "A 70's sci-fi classic were false memorys, flashbacks and obscure going on's occur. With Jack Palance. very cool."