D.O.A. (1988)

R   |    |  Mystery, Thriller

D.O.A. (1988) Poster

A college professor's day: his top student allegedly commits suicide, his wife presents him with divorce papers and he overnights in a freshman girl's dorm. The next day: more murders around him. Will he find the killer in time?


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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

1 December 2018 | Tweekums
| A solid updating of the 1949 original
As this film opens Professor Dexter Cornell enters a police station to report a murder... his own. As he sits down to tell his story to the police the action jumps back thirty six hours.

Cornell is a Lecturer and novelist although he hasn't written a book in for years and can't be bothered to read a work written by a keen student. The next thing he knows that student plummets past his window and dies on the concrete below. That isn't the only thing going wrong; his wife wants a divorce and it later emerges was having an affair with the student. On learning this he decides to get very drunk. The next morning he wakes up in the bed of student Sydney Fuller with a killer hangover. In fact he feels so bad he goes to hospital and discovers that he has been poisoned with radium chloride and only has a day or two left to live. He is determined to discover who poisoned him and why.

This isn't really a remake of the 1949 film as it only takes the central premise of that film; here we get an entirely set of characters and motives. The opening is a great hook then the story takes its time getting to the point where Cornell discovers he was poisoned. This give us time to meet the various suspects, and student Sydney who will get caught up in the hunt for the truth. Once he learns what happened the tension rises quickly... so does the body count as he finds himself suspected of one murder and targeted by people who think he knows more than he does. Dennis Quaid is impressive as the doomed Professor Cornell and Meg Ryan is fun as Sydney; the rest of the cast is solid too. There are plenty of good action sequences and a few really good surprises... even if the identity of the killer and the motive aren't too surprising. The film has a great neo-noir look; opening in black and white before switching to colour in the flashback; colour that fades as his condition worsens. Overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to people wanting a good mystery.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

18 March 1988



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Austin, Texas, USA

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,751,432 20 March 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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