The Omen (1976) Poster


User Reviews

Add a Review
331 Reviews
Sort by:
One of the Best
Christiancrouse10 November 2001
This movie plays with the intellect. It is frightening for what is not seen. From the grey overcast that blurs the skies of London and the dead stillness of the great Pereford mansion that houses the ill-fated Thorn family to the deepest recesses of civilization in the hollow underground of an ancient excavation site, the film effectively captures the viewer's interest and draws them into a world that is on the verge of the ultimate disaster - the birth of the anti-Christ.

Born into the world of politics and wealth, little Damien Thorn is the darling of the beautiful and privileged Robert and Katherine Thorn. Mysterious accidents and the overall feeling of death begin to shadow their lives until the horrifying truth of Damien's birth is uncovered millions of miles away in a grave in a decaying pagan cemetery in Italy. Gregory Peck gives a fine performance as ambitious politico Robert Thorn, a man who slowly discovers that his fate is interlinked in ancient biblical prophecy. With escalating horror, he uncovers a grand design that's unfolding under the unsuspecting eyes of the entire world - and he and his perfect family are at the centre of it. His search for the truth is one of the best in films, taking him to the farthest reaches of the globe and climaxing in an exciting and bizarre confrontation between himself and the face of evil.

Lee Remick is ethereal as his beautiful and tragic wife. The rest of the cast - Billie Whitelaw as the creepy Mrs. Baylock, David Warner as the doomed Jennings and Leo McKern as the mysterious archaeologist Bugenhagen - give the movie its singular dark and moody quality. THE OMEN has a few disturbing moments that shock rather than disgust, but the film is loaded with memorable scenes that are ingenious. It's the 'feeling' that the film incites that makes this movie unique. The haunted performances of the actors, the creepy-crawly musical score, the insinuation that doom is slowly creeping into the world with the birth of one lone child, all succeed in making THE OMEN one of the truest horror films.

Sometimes it's the knowing that something is going to happen that is more frightening than actually seeing it happen ...
124 out of 142 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
He's evil. Pure evil!
mylimbo24 March 2006
Robert Thorn the American ambassador to Great Britain watches his wife's pregnancy when a priest tells him that his newborn has died, but he convinces him to substitute the baby (the wife not knowing) with another child that lost its mother in labour at the same time. Watching their young child growing up, he starts show unnerving signs, which the parents slowly start picking up on and also bizarre tragedies start occurring. This leads Robert on a whirlwind investigation that all points to his son being the Anti-Christ.

Right off the heals of 'The Exorcist' successful stint with moviegoers comes another one of those endless 70s religious themed horror flicks involving Satanism. 'The Omen', I'd definitely say is one of the better horror films in the shadow of "The Exorcist', but I'll even go to say its an vast improvement over it's influencer. That might be a surprise for some, but I found this film superior as it was more entertaining, fascinating and truly creepy in its context and shocks. Everything about it has a knack for falling into place. From the impending doom that's achieved by its coldly layered atmosphere to a premise that teases the viewer on how it's all going to play out. I won't deny that it seems silly enough when you pay close attention to it all, but with such conviction in the performances and that off confident direction, these factors makes sure that it doesn't slip overboard into cheesy daftness. Another stroke of brilliance would be Jerry Goldsmith's memorably, nerve-wrecking score with those explosive chants scattered throughout.

On a grand scale the film was efficiently catered with well established cinematography and polished set-pieces that had penetrating might, which director Richard Donner handled with precise skill. Even when there wasn't much happening he knew how to keep things compellingly tight with good pacing and impressible imagery. Though, when it came to the essential thrills, he caps off some remotely tense (dogs' attack) and macabre moments (infamous decapitation) that display bite and flair. The climax is great and the ending is a fitting imprint too. The plot is filled with shocking revelations, interesting characters and it emits a glorious amount of excitement and dread from it mysterious outset.

The performances are that of top quality by a stellar cast. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick are convincingly excellent as Mr and Mrs Thorn. David Warner turns in a marvellous performance as the photographer Keith Jennings. Then Billie Whitelaw is genuinely creepy as Damien's nanny Mrs. Baylock. Patrick Troughton is superb as the withering Father Brennan. But my applause goes to Harvey Stephens' who's the epitome of evil… well; he definitely looked the part and had a memorizing awe as Damien. Although, Peck deserves more credit really, as he brought such devotion to his character that we honestly feel the pain and confusion that hits home.

One of the true benchmarks of horror, along the same lines of 'The Exorcist', but for me it beats that film all ends up. Expect a devilishly good time!
62 out of 69 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Always avoid people born on the 6th June!
Spinetinglers13 June 2006
Always avoid people born on the 6th June – especially if they are called Damien and bizarre violent accidents seem to happen to those around them!

Since this film has recently been remade, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the original – a horror classic!

In 1973, 'The Exorcist' broke all boundaries; previously, horror movies had only concentrated on the dark side, there were hardly any references to main stream religions. The basic rule was if the Devil was in it, God wasn't. Even Rosemary's Baby released five years before has hardly any reference to God or a more heavenly supreme being. The reaction that followed the release of The Exorcist was that the public loved it but the censors didn't and it was banned in the UK for twenty five years. The Exorcist may have fallen foul of the censors but it opened the flood gates for this sort of movie and three years later The Omen was released on 06/06/1976.

What do you think a good horror movie should have? Is it a superb cast, a brilliant score, a battle of good versus evil artfully portrayed on screen, or maybe a sinister and ambiguous open ending? No matter which of these sways your opinion 'The Omen' has all these and much, much more!!!

Firstly, let's look at the cast, Lee Remick and Gregory Peck are the leads, these two names are nothing short of Hollywood elite. Lee Remick is perfect as the mother who as the movie progresses realises there is something very wrong with her child. (I'm not sure what tipped her off – was it the baboons attacking her car or her son's feral reaction at the thought of entering a church?) Gregory Peck again is perfectly cast, as no one does noble and principled like Mr Peck. However, it is not only the leads that are terrific, the supporting cast includes David Warner and Tommy Duggan who both put in notable performances but it is Billie Whitelaw that eclipses them all as Damien's overly polite yet sinister nanny.

The score of a horror movie is very important, it has to chill to the bone and help create and maintain a feeling of an ever present danger. Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack is probably one of the best scores ever written for a horror movie. It is perfect for The Omen, gloomy, disturbing, chilling music, interlaced with what sounds like religious choirs portending the end of the world. It really is that good and if you don't believe me, consider the fact that it won Jerry Goldsmith an Oscar the following year.

By this stage, I know that most of you who were considering going to see the new Omen film at the cinema are now thinking to yourselves 'maybe I will rent the old one instead!' but for the few that are still on the fence here are a few other points to convince you. The 1976 version had a great plot, a child adopted into the corridors of power, whose destiny is to destroy the world, this is a simple and perhaps unoriginal premise however David Seltzer quotes Revelations at every turn and comes up with very original ideas to kill people off. Today, we are used to seeing a lot of blood and gore when people get killed in this genre but this is one thing that the omen lacks. Gore is pre-empted by well choreographed violent outbursts, each one being more frightening and compelling than the last, from a priest being impaled by a church spire to a reporter being decapitated by a pane of glass. These events all build to the foreboding finale. In the last scene we see a little boy, holding the hand of the President of the United States, turning around and smiling at his father's funeral. What greater ending could there be!?!

The Omen stands out in this genre and has stood up to the test of time. To-day horror movies are packed with the latest teenage idols and gratuitous violence has replaced good plots and imaginative thinking. (There are exceptions to this of course, Dog Soldiers, The Ring etc.) The Omen combines, a great cast, a great score, and brilliant storytelling without a teenage idol in sight.
38 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best....
LoneWolfAndCub10 June 2006
The Omen is one of the best horror films to have come out in the 70's. It isn't gory, it doesn't have sex, it is just plain terrifying. Everything about the movie contributes to feel of the movie. Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar winning score, the great acting, the cinematography and the scary as hell ending.

It's the 6th hour on the 6th day of the 6th month. Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) has just found out his newborn son is dead. He can't let his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) know though, since it would devastate her. But when a priest offers him another newborn whose mother died, all problems are solved, they name him Damien.....

The Omen is one of my favourite horror films. When I first saw it, it scared the living hell out of me. The score, done by Jerry Goldsmith is now one of the most famous horror movie scores. It sets the mood and sends a chill up your spine. The acting is outstanding (especially Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock). Gregory Peck and Lee Remick are, as usual, fantastic. Billie Whitelaw is pretty much flawless as the evil nanny and Harvey Stephens, although he doesn't say much, is very good as little Damien.

The last thing that makes the movie scary are some of the most bizarre deaths. The most known of them is a decapitation which is one of the scariest deaths in horror history.

15 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One Of Scariest Movies Of The Modern Era
ccthemovieman-18 June 2006
This movie scared the heck out of me when I saw it in the theaters in 1976, and it's still creepy today. It was almost 30 years later when I finally saw it for the second time and I thoroughly enjoyed it again, although it wasn't terrifying to me anymore. The DVD version is excellent because it presents the movie in the 2.35 widescreen mode, which is essential to the viewing of this film if you are a fan of cinematography. A VHS formatted-to-TV picture would lose too much of the great camera-work done in this film. I was amazed how beautifully filmed this movie is, so if you love this film and don't have the DVD, please consider getting it.

The story was a bit slower than I remembered it back in '76 but still provides enough action and plenty of chills. This time around, I found the nanny (Billie Whitelaw as "Mrs. Baylock") to be more scary than the devil/kid! I didn't even remember her from 30 years ago but she got my attention on the DVD. It was a very effective job of acting by that woman.

In the meantime, I always enjoy looking at Lee Remick's gorgeous face with her magnetic eyes and Gregory Peck is usually rock-solid in roles he plays. This is no exception.

Although I question some of the supposed quotes from the Book Of Revelation from the Bible (there is no "s" in Revelation, the screenwriters showing their biblical ignorance.), the movie is still a good witness to people who don't believe in Satan. They might after viewing this movie.

This is one of the classics of the '70s and often underrated. The sequels to this were simply not memorable and not worth your time. I don't know about the re- make that just came out, but it would be tough to top this film. I think I'll stick with this one and I won't wait another 30 years to see it again. Maybe tonight!!
92 out of 119 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The devil went down to London
Chase_Witherspoon27 December 2012
A film that polarises opinion irrespective of its religious incantations, some unimpressed by its comic-book style hokum, others like myself willing to be immersed in the tale of the anti-Christ (Stephens) born into a wealthy American family living abroad, setting a course for Satan's second coming. Peck, playing American Ambassador to the UK and his wife Lee Remick lose their child during birth, but with the assistance of corrupt clergyman Martin Benson, Peck manages to procure a replacement child of shady origins. In the history of bad decisions, this is right up there with the most catastrophic, as the baby Damien wields his unassuming temperament against those conspiring to subdue the rise of the devil on earth.

David Warner co-stars as the intrepid photo journalist who's bitten off more than he can chew investigating a series of strange events surrounding the family, former "Doctor Who" incarnation Patrick Troughton has a memorable supporting role as a doom-saying priest, and other notable roles are played with aplomb by Martin Benson, Leo McKern, Bruce Boa, John Stride and Anthony Nicholls to name a few. Jack's daughter, Holly Palance has a great cameo in one of the film's many penultimate moments, early on at the birthday party.

Billie Whitelaw's inspired performance as the sinister house-keeper is perhaps the template that would be emulated many times over (e.g. Dimitra Arliss in "Bless the Child" for example), and in my opinion, the real sleeper in this film. Her measured performance is one of the key aspects that elevates this tale beyond the comic-book hokum for which some reviewers hold contempt, notwithstanding the fuzzy logic on the religious overtures, which to be honest, who really cares. It's only a movie, and a chilling one at that, director Richard Donner immortalising himself with this effort, which in my opinion is easily in the top ten horror films ever made for its imagery, atmosphere, visual effects and of course, "Ave Satani" soundtrack.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Kids Can Be Hell.
tfrizzell30 October 2002
Rightfully tense and spooky thriller from director Richard Donner that grabs its audience and does not let go until the shocking finale. American Ambassador Gregory Peck has come up with an idea after his new-born son dies at birth: he decides to pass another child off to wife Lee Remick as their own. Life in England seems grand for a few years, but as the child becomes a toddler (in the form of the young Harvey Stephens) strange murders start to occur. The child is really the son of Satan, born of a goat, and his only goal is to grow up and take over the world for his unearthly father. As the truth slowly unfolds, the film twists into disturbing murders and highly unholy situations. Not a film for the faint of heart and certainly not a perfect film, but still one of the stronger films of the usually luke-warm genre. 4 stars out of 5.
46 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Horrifying and genuinely frightening movie that really impacted during the seventies
ma-cortes6 October 2010
Well made horror movie where numerous people meet horrible deaths by terrible demonic forces . This terror movie fundamentally centers on the rebirth of the anti-Christ, it's a creepy story where occur gruesome and bizarre deaths concerning Satan's son . American diplomat's family ( Gregory Peck and Lee Remick) adopts a baby , he's named Damien and has the devil mark : 666 . One time grown-up , young boy possessed with mysterious demonic powers causing wreak havoc and bizarre killings wherever he goes . The parents hire a nanny (Billie Whitelaw) and she schemes that delightful child anti-Christ can carry out all the evil plans . The little boy seems to be around when inexplicable deaths happen including rid of several interfering adults with the aim for world domination . Damien is poised for ruling devil over earth . Meanwhile the father is warned by a priest named Brennan (Patrick Thoughton) and a photographer( David Warner) and going on inexplicable deaths , as numerous of the roles come to a sticky final . At the ending the film puts a Biblic phrase : ¨Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast : for it is the number of a man , and is number is 666¨. Book of Revelation Chapter 13 verse 18 .

After the ¨Exorcist¨ , ¨Richard Donner's Omen¨ was one of the most famous films of all time and the major possession movie of the 70s and created an authentic sensation , originating various sequels: ¨Damien, Omen 2 ¨ with William Holden and Lee Grant ,in which Damien is again adopted by a basic couple and proceeds to wreak havoc wherever he goes ; ¨The final conflict¨ with Sam Neill and ¨Omen 4, the awakening ¨ with Faye Grant and Michael Woods ; furthermore a modern remake . The chief excitement lies in seeing what new and amazing victim can be dreamt by the believable effects . Meantime Damien seems to dispatch new bizarre killing every few minutes of the movie . Charismatic performance of excellent protagonists , Peck and Remick , and all around with special mention to Patrick Thougthon as unfortunate priest and Billie Whitelaw as nasty servant . Impressive score by Jerry Goldsmith , deservedly winner one Oscar and colorful cinematography by Gilbert Taylor . The motion picture is originally written by David Seltzer an compellingly directed by Richard Donner .Followed in 2006 by a remake by John Moore starred by Liev Schreiver and Julia Styles , the inevitable comparison between Schreiber and Gregory Peck reveals that Liev is just too cool for this role and though redundant to original film is a fitting description of the director John Moore ,however is sometimes a shot-for-shot recreation but it doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence. ¨ The Omen¨, the story about a little boy possessed with mysterious demonic powers who murders those persons who anger him was a phenomenon and remains one of the highest horror pictures of all time. The movie's intelligence , believable Fx , breathtaking score, luxurious photography all combined to make it a classic and its influence cannot be overstated . Along with ¨The exorcist¨spawned a wave of demonic possession movies that goes on unabated nowadays .
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Classic Satanic schlock.
Infofreak4 January 2002
'The Omen' scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. Watching it again all these years later much of its impact has worn off, and yes, it has dated quite badly, but it's still a wonderfully entertaining movie, probably second only to Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby' in the Satanic/apocalyptic genre. It definitely wipes the floor with recent pretenders like 'Lost Souls' and 'End Of Days'.

One of the reasons it still works is that the actors take the (sometimes silly) material so seriously. And when you have actors of the calibre of Gregory Peck and David Warner it certainly helps. Peck is utterly convincing as the Ambassador who doesn't want to believe the shocking facts staring him in the face, and Warner, who often found himself in second rate b-grade rubbish, obviously relished his role as the inquisitive reporter who helps convince Peck that things are not as normal as they seem. Along with Peckinpah's 'Cross Of Iron', one of his best roles. Lee Remick is strong as Damien's worried mother, Billie Whitelaw chilling as the mysterious governess, and Patrick Troughton ('Dr Who' #2) is very good as a dying priest who knows the truth about the Thorn's son.

Forget the sequels, 'The Omen' is classic Satanic schlock, and still has more than a few scares left in it. Essential viewing for fans of 70s horror.
75 out of 105 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Devil Made Him Do It!
BaronBl00d14 January 2002
Following the heels of the success of The Exorcist, The Omen tells the story of the son of Satan being born from a mysterious pregnancy and given to a U.S. ambassador and his wife in Italy. The couple raise the young child, but things begin to happen to the couple as the boy matures. A governess hangs herself. The child acts wildly when brought near a Church. A spooky governess appears from nowhere to take care of the child. A black evil dog takes up residence at the child's bedroom. To complicate matters, a priest gets in touch with the father and tells him to beware his son and that he is the spawn of evil. The Omen works very well due to several factors. The script is generally well-written. The story is very implausable in some places, but it works on the whole. The use of powerhouse stars like Gregory Peck and Lee Remick in the leads help to give the film the royal treatment, making sure no one mistakes the budget, level of ability, and time put into this production. Peck is very good in his role as a man convinced(finally) of horrifying news. The rest of the cast does equally well with some fine performances by Billie Whitelaw as the crazed, manical governess, Patrick Troughton as the conscience-torn priest, David Warner as a helpful photographer, and Harvey Stephens as the young, sweet-yet evil looking Damien. Most of the film's success can be attributed to director Richard Donner. Donner keeps the pacing of the film tight, uses some first-rate pan shots, and creates a mood and suspense that build climatically throughout the film. Some of the scenes that are most memorable include Damien on a tricycle, Peck and Warner in a cemetery, and most famous of all is the priest's demise. A wonderfully shot sequence. The music in the film is a great asset to the overall mood. A very good film....not nearly as gory or shocking as The Exorcist but still as powerful in its own right for its seemingly somewhat realistic adaptation of scripture.
35 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
classy and chilling horror
didi-518 April 2004
The first and best in the series of films about devil-child Damien teamed a great cast (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Patrick Troughton, Billie Whitelaw) with Harvey Stephens in a chilling performance as the child.

The deaths most of the cast meet are inventive and in some cases, memorable for many years after viewing the film - giving the opportunity for some unusual and striking visuals, while the whole film is soaked in that loud Goldsmith score to great effect.

The sequels, alas, were poor in comparison, but 'The Omen' stands alone of its type of seventies horror schlock.
45 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
He's here! And he want rusks!
Bezenby20 November 2012
Gregory Peck looks suitably concerned as it turns out that the baby he hastily adopted on the night of his own baby's death may be the son of the devil. Turns out the book of revelations details the second coming of the Antichrist or something, so it's an all out adventure for Peck and sidekick David Warner as they try to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

Good old Christian doctrine comes into play here as we've got the doubting (at first) Peck, who writes off Damien's behaviour as that of a normal five-year-old. As the proud father of my own little Damien, I have spent many an hour checking my kid's scalp for three sixes, especially after he's tried to put our budgie in a blender or destroyed a piece of furniture, but at least I haven't had a priest turning up at my door pleading for me to kill my own child. Also, I'm sure that when our babysitter killed herself it was just due to the brimstone tinged contents of our kid's nappy, rather than being compelled to swing from a rope by a persuasive dog.

The first Omen film is rather good. It's filled with dread and there's some pretty good set pieces in there, plus when you've got decent actors like Peck and Warner playing it pretty straight that helps things too. It's still worth a watch after all these years, but sad to say any of the sequels don't really stand up to the original.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Quite simply, a frightening horror classic.
CalDexter21 October 2006
The Omen is one of those films that gets better and better with each viewing. As its coming up for Halloween, i watched my DVD widescreen copy last night.

First up, the opening titles in white lettering on a black background is simple and straight forward, with a slowly revealing shadow of a young child standing over the reflective shadow of a cross to symbolise something evil is coming, plus Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic score simply grabs you by the throat and is responsible for 50% of The Omen's success.

When watching the scene where Robert Thorn first sees Damien being held by the Nun through the Hospital glass partition, i noticed that the director Richard Donner takes full advantage of 'framing' a picture superbly with the Priest watching Thorn in the background reflected in the glass saying 'It would be a blessing to her...and to the child.' I saw this a lot in The Omen. Praise must go to Gilbert Taylor for excellent photography, a man who would later camera Star Wars: A New Hope.

The Omen is full of great scares and creepy atmospheres without relying on buckets of blood and gore to freak us all out. The key here is all in the mind. How could an innocent child be touted as the son of the devil? All the cast: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton and Leo McKern play their roles as serious and straight as possible without even a hint of camp or tongue in cheek and it works brilliantly.

Every horror film has its 'shocker' moment to send the audience into a frenzy: Alien has its 'chest burster' moment, Scanners has its 'exploding head' moment etc. etc. But The Omen has the most memorable and shocking death scene that intensifies Gregory Peck's mission to destroy Damien. If you have not seen this film, then i won't say...but you will be shocked...or you'll laugh! The emotions portrayed by Peck towards the end of the film are of a man who knows what needs to be done, but still cannot bring himself to comprehend the situation he has found himself in and all the horrible deaths that have happened. It is one of his most memorable and successful film roles. Lee Remick is excellent as Kathy, her performance is very vulnerable which only enhances her character's role as a tragic victim.

Special mention must go to Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan, a truly remarkable performance as the despairing priest who seems as if hes on the brink of madness, his quiet scene by the canal with Gregory Peck is one of the film's highlights. David Warner is really good as well as is Billie Whitelaw who is really chilling as Mrs Baylock, even when shes all smiles in her introduction to the Thorn family you sense something really cold about her.

Hollywood should hang its head in shame for daring to produce a remake, (which i haven't and do not want to see) a remake that a whole generation will see and think its amazing because they never bothered to view the classic baffles me why they thought they could make one better for a film that was very successful first time around.

See the original is a Horror Classic and a lot more thrilling and entertaining than The Exorcist. Ten out of Ten.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
True Horror
Gafke19 December 2005
The date is June 6th. The city is Rome. Ambassador Robert Thorn's wife Katherine has just given birth to a stillborn son. Rather than devastate her with the news, Robert agrees to take in another baby born on the same night, in the same hospital, and whose mother died giving him birth. No one but Robert and the hospital priest will ever know that the baby isn't theirs. Six years later, terrible events begin to occur and all of them seem to be centered around the Thorn's son, Damien. A nanny hangs herself at a birthday party, a grim priest tells Robert that he knows who the boy's mother really is, and a news reporter named Jennings is finding alarming omens in the photographs he takes, omens which foretell a violent death for anyone who gets too close to the truth. When Katherine suffers a suspicious miscarriage, Thorn and Jennings head for Rome to find out if it's true: is Damien the Anti-Christ, son of Satan? And if he is, will Robert be able to destroy him?

This movie followed in the wake of The Exorcist, and was immensely popular. Movies about apocalyptic disasters and demonic children were hot box office commodities in the 70s, and The Omen had both topics covered. However, The Omen was also an intelligently scripted, beautifully filmed and very suspenseful thriller to boot. It wasn't just a rip off of The Exorcist; it had its own story to tell, one taken from the Book Of Revelation, the most grim and frightening book in the Bible.

The characters played by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick may be the "beautiful people" - rich, powerful and privileged - but they are still real people, and quite accessible. Kathy is a strong but emotionally fragile woman who seeks help from a psychiatrist. Robert will do anything to protect her from heartbreak and pain. It is their devotion to each other that makes this film so tense as we watch their lives unravel. Robert thought that by taking Damien in, he would simultaneously save his wife from grief and give an orphan a home, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and in this case, that road is very real.

David Warner as Jennings and Patrick Troughton as the cursed Father Brennan also win our sympathy as the ill-fated men who try their best to help Robert. Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Blaylock is evil personified. We like her even though she's Satan's minion - it's her wicked, secretive smile and the fact that she'll do anything to protect Damien. Even Damien himself has our sympathy, even though little kids in tiny little suits are just really upsettingly scary. It's not Damien's fault that he is what he is - he didn't ask for this dubious honor, after all - and when he begs Robert not to kill him at film's end, it's hard not to feel sorry for both of them.

This is a great film, filled with vicious Rottweilers, nasty deaths, powerful music and great performances by the entire cast. Should not be missed by film buffs in general and horror fans in particular.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A great supernatural thriller, undeservedly bashed over the years
MovieAddict201611 January 2005
"The Omen" was included in a recent book I read of THE 1000 MOVIES YOU MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE! - ironic since fellow IMDb user Theo Robertson claims it was included as an entry in a similar book titled THE 50 WORST FILMS OF ALL TIME.

I've always really liked "The Omen" and, like Theo, think it is superior to "The Exorcist." It's more chilling and freaky and subtle. There isn't any fake pea soup here, either. Which isn't to say that "The Exorcist" isn't any good - but it hasn't fared as well over the years.

"The Omen" is just really good. It was released the same year as Exorcist if I'm not mistaken and Gregory Peck gives a fine performance. The part where a character's head is lopped off and rolls across a street in slow-motion, and then director Richard Donner cuts to a whole new sequence, is really chilling and bizarre.

It's that sort of eerie unexplained stuff that makes this, in my opinion, superior to a lot of the other stuff out there - i.e. many other trashy supernatural flicks that don't hold anything against this.
68 out of 107 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the better horror films
preppy-34 December 2006
Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) is the American ambassador to England. His wife Katharine (Lee Remick) gives birth to a baby who is born dead. Without letting her know Thorn switches her baby with another whose mother died while giving birth. Things are fine until Damien (Harvey Stephens) turns five. Then people start dying and Peck realizes that little Damien may be the Antichrist.

HUGE hit in 1976. I saw it when I was 14 at a theatre. I remember liking it but being disappointed. It had an R rating so I expected a much bloodier picture than what I saw. Seeing it again my feelings have changed a little. It still is a very good film and it really doesn't need blood and gore to tell it's story...but I now find it slow and uninvolving. Everyone knows the ending by now and for a film that runs almost two hours that's not good. Still it is worth seeing.

The direction by Richard Donner is great (he really knows how to use a widescreen); Remick and Peck are excellent (although I do wonder how they got them to agree to do a horror film); the deserved Oscar-winning score by Jerry Goldsmith helps the film immensely; the script is good and Billie Whitlaw is downright terrifying as Mrs. Baylock--the scene where she goes after Remick in the hospital has always scared me silly.

The deaths are inventive (to put it mildly) but very bloodless. Even when Jennings (David Warner) gets his head cut off there's next to no blood. Also that's the best part of the picture--the effect is convincing, the music is pounding and Peck's reaction is realistic.

So this is a little slow but the writing, acting, direction and music more than make up for that. I give it an 8.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
this was a good movie
ryan jones (homs405)29 October 2006
i thought this was one of the best movies i have seen. it was one out of about two movies that actually scared me. Gregory pecks acting was great and damn always had a creepy little grin on his face that you could tell was evil. the last scene was one of the best i would say this is a must see for any horror film enthusiast. This is not your average horror film, it has to do with real life things and was a movie that wouldn't just scare you right away it would get into your head. if i had to say this would be in my top three movies I've ever seen. i have not yet seen the new movie but i doubt that it will be even comparable to what this movie accomplished.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What Horror Movies Lack Today
James N. O'Sullivan2 June 2015
This film is a perfect example of how far the horror movie genre has fallen. In a world of instant gratification and an ever-shrinking attention span, filmmakers have to resort to intense gore and cheap jump scares to scare an audience, with a few notable exceptions (Conjuring, Oculus, etc). This movie is an example of how fresh and innovative a horror movie could be, as well as how moving it could be.

(I find it highly unlikely that anyone doesn't know the big surprise in this film, but just in case, "spoilers" ahead)

What's so intensely scary about this movie is what so many modern horror filmmakers have lost sight of. It isn't so much WHAT IS that's scary as the prospect of WHAT COULD BE. The idea that this child you've reared, loved, and embraced for five years is actually the devil incarnate - the idea is simply terrifying. The idea of having to slay your own child - horrific. The thought that your house has been overrun by demonic forces, and it is up to you alone to try and remove them - wonderfully scary.

Now, don't get me wrong - ideas are not the only scary thing in this film. This film offers plenty of good scares, but the typical jump scare is rare here. The building tensions, the chill-inducing chorus and their never-ending mantra - what happens in the film is scarier than any jump scare the movie does have.

Also, the use of gore - there is blood, and when it happens, it's substantial. But the use of gore sparingly is light years more effecting than pervasive balls-out, in-your-face gore. It's used sparingly so that when it does happen, it's more jarring.

All this to say, see this film. Don't fall for the cheap cinematic thrills put before you today. See this film, and see what horror used to be.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More tragic than scary
imbluzclooby28 May 2015
I remember when The Omen premiered back in 1976. It made a pretty big splash due to intrigue with the Horror genre involving the diabolic. Television trailers featured the action parts such as the Safari drive with hissing baboons. The movie mavens did a good job marketing this as a horror vehicle and there is no doubt this movie made a big profit.

The Omen opens on a very strange and tragic tone. The rest of the film is pretty grim throughout, and up until the climax. There aren't any scenes or nuances of comic relief. It is just a somber exercise in fear and dread deeply seating itself in the morass of Biblical prophecy and symbolism.

Our protagonist, Robert Thorn, a wealthy American magnate of some vague political stature, drives frantically through the streets of Rome as we hear the Voice-over of the priest, Fr.Spiletto, sadly informing him of his stillborn child. Expressing to the priest his wife's desire to have her own child, he agrees to adopt a child born at the same time whose mother died while giving birth to him. The exchange is made and Mr. Thorn's somber expression cannot be hidden. He basically deceives his wife who unknowingly has a strange child. This child as we all know is the Son of Satan. Images of happy family outings and picture collages flash on the screen, but we cannot share their joy knowing that this kid is destined for bad news. The heart of the story doesn't develop until the Devil Boy, Damien, reaches the age of five. Then everything starts to change from his temperament, his personality, their luck and the new staff of assistants. And it's not for the better. We all know what's going down as this story unravels. Disturbing scenes of people who are privy to the impending Evil get killed off. So we want to see what happens. But Good doesn't prevail in this movie like it did in The Exorcist or The Shining. This is a grim and depressing film. It is effective in making us queasy and upsetting us, but it is certainly not without its flaws.

I like the atmospheric quality of the movie and there are some stunning camera angles. Effective usage of dim lighting and Old-mansion sets are used very well. The background score is my least favorite aspect of the film. The chanting and symphonic music feels too corny and grandiose. Not very good choice for unnerving music, although it won an Academy Award for best Musical Score. My biggest peeve about The Omen is a peeve I have with most Horror movies; the characters are too thickheaded and dense to understand what's going on. Gregory Peck, a great guy and actor, looks so out of place with his stagy presence and stentorian voice. Being the most clueless of all the characters in the movie, one wonders why a man of his station can be so stupid. And he is. It takes him too long to realize his son is not just weird, but a malevolent being. Lee Remick is pretty wooden as an actress until she gets afraid and dawns that frozen petrified look of terror with her Icy gaze and panic stricken countenance. The boy is too young to really show any acting chops so the director cops out by having him flash creepy grins over his pale skin and eyebrow-less face. The crazy priest seems too over the top initially, but when we learn he is a troubled soul with mental issues, the actor is justified in his approach. "My character is crazy so I can act as crazy as I want" theory.

The Omen keeps us in suspense while there are a few scenes that lag, they are used appropriately to further the plot.

So many questions bother me about this film and films like it. Why does the Devil want to kill off family members? Does the little boy know he is Evil? Is the Devil an actual being that can take on many forms, or is The Devil the evil in mankind? What is the significance of the Jackal? And why a Jackal and not a pig, a moose or a leopard? Do we take it literally that a human fetus can gestate in the body of another species? Is this a supernatural element similar to The Virgin Birth of Christ? Why did Kathy's last pregnancy trouble her to want an abortion? Why did the crazy priest implore Mr. Thorn to have the baby killed? It was the 5 year old Damien who was the bad seed, not the unborn fetus.

These are the questions that go unanswered.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Entertaining little horror movie
WakenPayne9 February 2013
The one real reason I wanted to watch this is because I saw the fourth movie due to a debate on message boards and after that movie left a bad taste in my mouth I wanted to watch the original just so I can't associate "The Omen" with bad acting, laugh-out-loud hilarity and absent suspense. I honestly though it was decent.

I'm sure people may know of this plot. An ambassador finds out his adopted child is really the offspring of Satan (or the Antichrist - however you want to word it - both have a nice ring to it). People around are dying in freak accidents. A photographer who helps this ambassador helps him because photographs have predicted both the freak accidents and he took a picture of himself that shows him getting decapitated.

This movie is pretty good. I don't really care much for the concept though (it's because I'm an atheist - I haven't been a Christian for about 5 years). The directing is very suspenseful, but a complaint about that is that the suspenseful scenes are a little too few, but it was enough to keep me watching until the very end. I might watch the other 2, but if I can watch the fourth one then I'm pretty sure I've watched the worst Omen movie.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What can I say................
atinder19 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I love this movie movies, it my favourite second horror movies of all time.

The plot The young son of an American diplomat and his wife, living in London, turns out to be marked with the sign of Satan, the infamous "666". It soon becomes apparent that he could be the Anti-Christ incarnate and possesses the evil powers to stop anyone who stands in his way.

This movies as so many great scenes that will stay in your head long after you have seen this movie.

I need to SAY this, one of favourite scenes (So many to choose from) it when they get attacked by Animals in HE Zoo, it just well made scenes (unlike the remake, which made me really Mad).

This movie also has one of best deaths scenes ever made that you will never EVER forget it.

This is great horror movie, A MUST SEE FOR ALL HORROR FANS . 10/10
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Classic movie!
White_Lighter28 October 2003
When I first saw this movie I just could not believe how well it had been put together by director Richard Donnor. Harvey Stephens was the perfect choice to play Damien "cute but evil". The Scene where he looks at the dog and waves is just a classic! and then there is the score...Jerry Goldsmith won a well deserved Oscar for this movie in which he created two excellent themes "Ave Satani" and "Piper Dreams" which carry this movie along with brilliance.

People seem to always compare this movie to "The Exorcist"....why???, The Exorcist is a classic all on it's own. The Omen deals with a completely different subject to The Exorcist, while The Exorcist deals with possession, The Omen deals with the child of the devil 'the antichrist'.

The Omen has one thing The Exorcist does not have "a classic score". The Exorcist used Tubular Bells with great effect which actually was never written for the movie. The Score written for The Exorcist is still vertically unknown to this day.

The movie opens with the silhouette of a young boy, the shadow of which gradually turns into a cross. It's simple, yet very chilling, and sets the tone. We then meet Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck). It's Rome, and it's 6am, on the 6th day on the 6th month. His wife Kathy (Lee Remick) has just given birth to a child, which died almost immediately. At the hospital a priest named Spiletto convinces him to secretly adopt a child, whose mother died during childbirth. Thorn agrees and keeps it a secret from his wife. They name the child Damien. Thorn is then promoted, from American Ambassador to Italy to Ambassador to Great Britain. We see the happy family in London, the perfect life. It however all starts to go wrong at Damien's fifth birthday party and to make matters worse Damien's adopted father Robert Thorn eventually learns that he is actually the devil's son (The Antichrist).

This movie is a horror classic and will remain a classic for many year to come.

***** out of *****
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Much Better Than THE EXORCIST
Theo Robertson10 January 2005
This movie appears in the book 50 Worst Movies Of All Time alongside such fare as ROBOT MONSTER . This is completely undeserved because i rate THE OMEN as one of the best horror movies from the 1970s , if not all time . The book in question makes a big deal of how young Damien's parents experience some ghastly going ons without realising something is seriously wrong , but this is churlish since the audience ( like in most horror movies ) are one step in front of the protagonists , we instantly know what's going on even if the characters on screen don't and this is what makes the narrative so suspenseful , we're waiting for Ambassador Robert Thorn to put two and two together . It should also be pointed out that these types of tradgedies do happen in life and there's a rational explanation with no supernatural causes involved

Comparisons with both THE OMEN and THE EXORCIST will be made but this is by much the better film I think . Both films deal with satanic powers and both are very dead pan but unlike THE EXORCIST the serious tone of this movie doesn't go against it , THE EXORCIST goes out of its way to shock the audience while THE OMEN keeps its discipline and is all the better for it . Richard Donner brings shock moments where it's needed like the revelation of the priest after the fire , the scene in the cemetery and the lorry accident at Megiddo and unlike the shock scenes in THE EXORCIST they're never unintentionally funny . Giving roles to well known Brit character actors like Patrick Troughton , Billie Whitelaw , Leo McKern and David Warner also helps the movie a lot

The only real criticism I have is that it's not as good as I originally remembered after seeing it for the first time , but that's a problem with a great number of movies I've seen , or that the biblical city of Megiddo is nowhere near the location described in the screenplay ( It is in fact a few short miles west of the border of the West Bank on the route to Jenin ) but that won't matter to 99.9% of the rest of the audience . If I ever write a book called 50 Best Horror Movies Of All Time THE OMEN will definitely feature in it
66 out of 110 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of the best horror films ever
Hojalataes24 December 2014
An American diplomat is told that his newborn son is dead and a priest offers him a adopt another newborn baby instead and to never tell his wife that their son is dead,

It isn't just a great horror film, but a terrific suspense movie also. Tension grows up as time goes by and it keeps you interested and alert. It has one of the most memorable death scenes in cinema history, many disturbing moments, cast is great, performances are very good, awesome soundtrack (Jerry Goldsmith won his only Academy Award) and very nice photography and direction.

It's a pleasure to watch and you will enjoy it every single time you watch it.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
brilliant brilliant brilliant
Jamie Spraggon18 January 2014
The Omen released in 1976 tells a story of the ambassador of Great Britain Robert Thorn and his wife Kathy who are the parents of the Anti- Christ (they are not the birth parents, they adopt after their child dies during birth) people are willing to give their life for the anti-Christ however some have targets set on destroying it. This is the first of 4 films (well 3 because 4 was a terrible TV movie) there was originally going to be 7 movies but it was cut down to 3, I have the pentology which includes the first 3 the terrible TV movie i.e Omen 4 and the 2006 remake and the first like most often is the best. This film tests you and gives you reasons to believe in evil, I highly recommend this film to anyone who believes in god and the devil and all of you 70's film fans

6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews