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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

 -  Action | Horror  -  24 May 1979 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 75,546 users  
Reviews: 653 user | 195 critic

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Emge ...
...
...
Gaylen Ross ...
David Crawford ...
Dr. Foster
David Early ...
Mr. Berman
Richard France ...
Scientist
Howard Smith ...
TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich ...
Fred Baker ...
Commander
James A. Baffico ...
Wooley (as Jim Baffico)
Rod Stouffer ...
Young Officer on Roof
Jese Del Gre ...
Old Priest
Clayton McKinnon ...
Officer in Project Apt.
John Rice ...
Officer in Project Apt.
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Storyline

Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse as they take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall following a horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. Taking stock of their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can eke out a living--at least for a while. Tensions begin to build as months go on, and they come to realize that they've fallen prey to consumerism. Soon afterward, they have even heavier problems to worry about, as a large gang of bikers discovers the mall and invades it, ruining the survivors' best-laid plans and forcing them to fight off both lethal bandits and flesh-eating zombies. Written by Curly Q. Link

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth. See more »

Genres:

Action | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead  »

Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ultimate Final Cut) | (Dario Argento's European Version) | (DVD) | (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

(German prints)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Savini used the same dummy throughout the course of filming. During that time it was blown up, burnt, shot, and beaten, among other things. See more »

Goofs

When Stephen and Peter are locking the front door to the mall, they are shown talking to each other from two angles, so it would appear that they are side by side. However, an old female zombie can be seen in both shots, proving it's the same spot from two different angles. See more »

Quotes

TV Director: [referring to Dr. Foster] Get that guy off the air!
Camera man: What the hell's going on?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"... Music by Dario Argento and THE GOBLINS" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Face Off: The Dancing Dead (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gonk
(uncredited)
Composed by Herbert Chappell
Performed by The Noveltones
Trumpet solo Roy Wiegand (uncredited)
Published by De Wolfe Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Sequels AND One of the Best Horror Films Ever
4 November 2001 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

This review refers to the theatrical cut of the film.

When George A. Romero's no-budget horror movie Night of the Living Dead hit screens in 1968, the same year that had already given audiences the all time genre classic Rosemary's Baby, no one could have predicted the indelible effect it would have on the history of cinema. The film introduced audiences to a degree of graphic violence never before witnessed on American screens. However, it was the film's intense, omnipotent terror that forever scarred a generation of viewers.

Although the film enjoyed unprecedented mainstream success for an independent production, the filmmakers saw little of the movie's earnings. Romero's string of box office disappointments in the years to follow would diminish his clout in Hollywood, and as such he found it was an uphill battle to fund his ambitious sequel to the film. Then along came Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, hot off the heels of such international blockbusters as Deep Red and Suspiria. Argento helped secure funding for the film, in exchange for the rights to personally oversee the international cut of the film.

The collaboration would be a match made in horror movie heaven, for the end product would be Dawn of the Dead, one of the most acclaimed and enduringly popular horror movies of all time.

Dawn of the Dead's plot is so effectively simple, and now thoroughly familiar, that it almost goes without description. While the world approaches a still unexplained and ever growing zombie apocalypse, four individuals-two millitary men, a helicopter pilot, and his TV reporter girlfriend-barricade themselves in an abandoned suburban shopping mall. The mall provides fodder not only for the film's well known social commentary, but also for some truly thrilling-if not terrifying-setpieces.

With its graphic depictions of human evisceration, exploding heads, and gruesome flesh eating, Dawn of the Dead may well be the goriest American film of all time. The film is actually so violent and gruesome that it was released unrated in the United States for fear of being slapped with an X Rating. That didn't stop the film from being a huge hit at home and abroad. The film earned rave reviews from critics (most famously, from Roger Ebert, who called it `one of the best horror movies of all time'). It instantly became recognized not only as a genre classic, but also as one of the sharpest social satires of the decade, with its often hilarious commentary on an ever growing consumer culture embodied by the film's mall location.

Internationally, the film was even bigger. The movie was released in a special 117 minute cut overseas (the US theatrical version was 120 minutes) which was edited by Dario Argento and featured a more prominent presentation of the soundtrack by rock band Goblin as well as a much faster overall pace. Released in most countries as `Zombie: Dawn of the Dead' or `Zombies', it was so big in Italy that the following year Lucio Fulci, previously a director of `giallo' thrillers, helmed a gory semi-sequel. His `Zombie 2', released in the US as `Zombie', would become one of the most popular drive in hits of the 1970s, a massive international success that solidified the zombie/cannibal craze of the early 1980s and sparked Lucio Fulci's own reign as a horror movie icon.

Dawn of the Dead is a truly stunning example of the horror genre's ability to produce works that are as socially relevant as they are terrifying, films which break free of the constraints of conventional horror movie elements and in doing so establish themselves as being truly timeless. While I would still give Night of the Living Dead the slight edge between the two, Dawn of the Dead is still an extraordinary film in its own right as well as an almost superior sequel to another of the scariest movies ever made.




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