16 user 9 critic

Ticket to Heaven (1981)

PG | | Drama | 9 October 1981 (USA)
David is a young man seduced by a religious cult that uses starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader. Chronicles ... See full summary »


Ralph L. Thomas


Anne Cameron, Josh Freed (novel) | 1 more credit »

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7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Mancuso ... David
Saul Rubinek ... Larry
Meg Foster ... Ingrid
Kim Cattrall ... Ruthie
R.H. Thomson ... Linc Strunc
Jennifer Dale ... Lisa
Guy Boyd ... Eric
Dixie Seatle Dixie Seatle ... Sarah
Paul Soles Paul Soles ... Morley
Harvey Atkin ... Mr. Stone
Robert Joy ... Patrick
Stephen Markle Stephen Markle ... Karl
Timothy Webber ... Greg
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Dr. Dwyer
Marcia Diamond Marcia Diamond ... Esther


David is a young man seduced by a religious cult that uses starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader. Chronicles David's chilling transformation into a gaunt, mindless shadow of his former self...and his ultimate salvation when friends and family launch a plan to kidnap and deprogram him. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


After just two days, David's mind belonged to "Father." See more »




PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bilet do nieba See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »


Box Office


CAD4,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


David: If Father's love... isn't unselfish, then... who's is?
Linc Strunc: I don't know man. See... I'm not God. I can't give you any answers. But all I do know is... that *father's* is a lie.
Larry: David, if you want to know about unselfish love, then take a look around. We're all here, only because we love you. Your mother, your father, are under arrest, because they love you. We're all doing this, and we're scared stiff of going to jail because... we love you. David, *that's * love. And if you can't see that... if ...
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User Reviews

A lost performance gem.
19 June 2001 | by Mattydee74See all my reviews

Nick Mancuso throws his all into the part of David, a young man seeking some meaning from his messy life who ends up bound tight in the web of a quasi-religious cult group. But he's got some big competition from co-star Saul Rubinek.

In the early eighties there were a couple of films fascinated by ideas of brainwashing, religious cults and deprogramming. Split Image is a companion piece to this film, which will interest many simply because of Kim Catrall's appearance as the obsessessed Ruthie, but which is even more notable I think for the strong friendship between Saul Rubinek's stand-up comedian character and the troubled protagonist, David. The film builds a poignant, revealing portrait of these two friends whose bond is crucial in determining both their futures. Rubinek is one of those instantly familiar faces whose performances in films like The Contender, Nixon, True Romance, and Dick conceal him in that strange underclass of actors - the supporting player (as opposed to the more showy supporting "Actor" parts claimed by brilliant die-hards like Dennis Hopper and Dianne Wiest.)

In this film, however, he shines and deserves to be seen in an excellently performed role. Mancuso similarly hasn't had much chance to fire like he does here (admittedly he wasn't the greatest Marquis De Sade in the film of the same name a couple of years back). His transformation here though is painful to watch but compelling and easy to empathise with as he struggles with notions of identity and truth.

If this film has any problem it is that the film is kind of tailored-for-effect a little too neatly like a tv movie, but it still manages to provoke some suspense thanks to the intensely credible performers.

An interesting lost gem of the early eighties.

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