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Straw Dogs (1971)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  22 December 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 43,120 users  
Reviews: 252 user | 146 critic

A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Maj. John Scott
Del Henney ...
Donald Webster ...
Len Jones ...
Bobby Hedden
Sally Thomsett ...
Robert Keegan ...
Harry Ware
Peter Arne ...
Cherina Schaer ...
Colin Welland ...


Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house. Written by Andrew Hyatt <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You can push a guy to the limit...But expect consequences. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Strawdogs  »

Box Office


$3,251,794 (estimated)


SEK 794,608 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:


(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)| (opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Anthony Hopkins was offered a major role. See more »


As David and Amy Sumner drive up to their house for the first time, the camera crew is reflected in the car's side window. See more »


David Sumner: Jesus. I got 'em all!
See more »


Referenced in Knevel & van den Brink: Episode #5.38 (2011) See more »


Symphony No.94
(The "Surprise") (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Haydn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Now that the controversy has gone, an interesting, if flawed film remains
21 September 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

American scholar David Summer and his wife return to her home village in Cornwall to give him peace and quiet to write his book on astrophysics. However Amy meets up with her old boyfriend and his friends, who offer to carry out repairs on the house for David. He agrees but finds that the locals treat him as an outsider resulting in further pressure on the Summer's already fracturing marriage.

I, like many of the reviews written here by users in the UK, took the opportunity to watch this film when it came on tv for the first time in the UK since it was released. I deliberately taped it and left it for a month or so before watching as I wanted it to be free of the hype and controversy that the network had stirred up with documentaries just before they screened it. Watching it away from all this it is difficult to see what all the fuss was about in some regards. Certainly what is socially acceptable in a film today is far beyond what was passed by censors then.

The plot is a strange mix of relationship drama and western. It is easy to focus on the stand off element of this film and the violence of the second half, but I don't think that that is what the film was about. One user called the first hour or so `a very slow build up', however by saying that, the suggestion is that the film only exists to deliver the concluding part. Rather, I got more from the film as a whole and found the `build up' to be interesting as it showed David's marriage cracking and crumpling, slowing exposing the issues and frustrations that exist just below the surface in their relationship. The fact that the action at the end of the film is relating to the underlying frustration Amy had with her husband's inability to `take a stand', indicates that this is the focus of the film.

Regardless of this, it still isn't a fantastic film. It is very slow at times and not all of it has been as well developed as hoped. Cornish locals are all mistrusting inbred hicks who are shifty says the film, which may or may not be true but it would have been better to have a better mix of local characters. The rape scene itself is difficult because for part of it Amy submits and appears to be enjoying and consenting, before others get involved and it becomes full violent rape. Questions over other issues suggests that the film maybe lingers to long on disturbing scenes but the fact that the film also shows the aftermath of the rape is to it's credit.

Due to the stereotyping, not all the actors get a chance to do good work. Hoffman is OK but I found his character difficult to get into. George is not as well developed as I would have hoped but is improved after her ordeal. The support cast of locals are not allowed to go much further than `get off me land' cliché and give lesser performances as a result.

Overall this was an interesting film as it all seems to be focused on the couple's marriage rather than the detail of who is being sheltered in what house etc. Taken on this level it is still far from perfect. The only thing I'm sure of is that anyone drawn to the film simply because of the hype in the press will probably miss the point altogether.

21 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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