Unlike most films by Stanley Kubrick, which saw a slow gradual release building on word-of-mouth, The Shining was released in a manner more like a mass-market film, opening at first in just two cities on Memorial Day, and then a month later seeing a nationwide release (including drive-ins) after extensive television advertising. Although initial response to the film was mixed, later critical assessment had been more favorable and it is now viewed as a classic of the horror genre. Film director Martin Scorsese, writing in The Daily Beast, ranked it as one of the best horror films. Film critics, film students, and Kubrick's producer, Jan Harlan, have all remarked on the enormous influence the film has had on popular culture which ranges from other macabre thrillers to the cartoon series The Simpsons.
A writer with his wife and young son accepts the job of an off-season caretaker at an isolated hotel. The son, who possesses psychic abilities, is able to see things in the future and past, such as the ghosts in the hotel. Soon after moving in, and after a paralyzing winter storm that leaves the family snowed in, the father becomes influenced by the supernatural presence in the haunted hotel; he descends into madness and attempts to murder his wife and son.
- Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance
- Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance
- Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance
- Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann
- Barry Nelson as Stuart Ullman
- Philip Stone as Delbert Grady
- Joe Turkel as Lloyd the bartender
- Anne Jackson as Doctor
- Tony Burton as Larry Durkin
- Barry Dennen as Bill Watson
- Lisa and Louise Burns as the Grady girls