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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  24 May 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 85,551 users  
Reviews: 666 user | 209 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 overview, first billed only:
David Emge ...
Gaylen Ross ...
David Crawford ...
Dr. Foster
David Early ...
Mr. Berman
Richard France ...
Howard Smith ...
TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich ...
Fred Baker ...
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.


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


George A. Romero's classic 1978 gore-fest, Dawn of the Dead, is back. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead  »

Box Office


$650,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

(German prints)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sixteen Singers/Musicians appear in the movie. John Paul, the former saxophonist of the local cover rock band Changes and space-themed rock band FLUID appears as the bald plaid-shirted zombie in the airport chart house (who also appears on the film's posters, video, DVD, and soundtrack album covers, and some of Day of the Dead (1985)'s releases), John Harrison (former bassist of the rock band Homebrew and who also was known for playing bass for the late legendary Blues/Rock Singer-Guitarist Roy Buchanan) appears as a janitor zombie in a jumpsuit who later gets a screwdriver stabbed in his left ear, Blues/Rock/Jazz Singer-Musician Donald Rubinstein (who composed the music for George A. Romero's Martin (1977) and Knightriders (1981) soundtracks) appears as a bloody faced zombie (wearing a denim shirt and green shirt under it) who attacks Roger in the mall parking lot scene, Folk Singer-Musician/Songwriter Vincent Vok appears as a TV Station Employee (wearing a white collared shirt and black necktie) at WGON-TV Studio, Mike Christopher, the former keyboardist of the space-themed rock band UFO, Changes and FLUID appears a Hare Krishna zombie, Michael James, the former and late bassist of both Changes and FLUID appears as a bald red-sweatered zombie in our four heroes' Monroeville Mall battle scene during the scene where Roger's arm and leg are wounded (but his bald zombie character can be seen twice only for a brief moment in a crowd), Tommy Lafitte appears as Miguel the Afro zombie in the projects apartment who comes out of a room and ends up biting his surviving wife Miguellita's neck and arm, the late Clayton Hill appears as a white sweater vested zombie who goes up and down the mall escalator, Sharon Ceccatti appears as a Nurse zombie, Jeannie Jefferies appears as a Blonde Glamour Model zombie who attacks Roger in his truck and later gets half of her face blown off, Maxine Lapiduss appears as a Redheaded zombie clawing at the JC Penny Door, Nancy Friedman appears as a Bandana Girl zombie with one arm, Joseph Pilato appears as the Head Cop (wearing black knit cap) at the police boat dock, Randy Kovitz appears as the cop who asks our four heroes for cigarettes at the police dock and then as a bearded biker wearing a blue beret and sunglasses, Mark 'Whitey' Cooper (who was known for being the lead singer of the local R&B band Whitey & The Blind Venetians) appears as a long blonde haired, bearded white collared shirted zombie who gets shot in the bikers' battle scene, and Greg Besnak, former lead singer of the goth rock band Without Tears appears as a long brown haired and Fu Manchu mustachioed zombie hit by Sledge the biker in the side of his head with a sledgehammer, and he turns, full-face, into the camera. Later, when Sledge gets eaten, he has another close-up, descending upon him. But it appeared on the Director's Cut only. It was edited out in the US release. See more »


When the heroes are driving a car through the mall there's a part where a zombie gets rammed and falls back. If you watch closely the first shot of the car approaching the zombie shows it traveling at around 40 mph, in the next shot where it actually "hits" the zombie it's now obviously doing only around 10mph and even nearly comes to a complete stop before cutting to the next shot whereupon it's going at 40 mph again down the mall. See more »


[after avoiding a bunch of the zombies]
Roger: Well, we're in, but how the hell are we gonna get back?
Peter: Who the hell cares! Let's go shopping!
Roger: Watches! Watches!
Peter: Wait a minute, man. Let's just get the stuff we need. I'll get a television and a radio.
Roger: Ooohh, ooohh, lighter fluid! And chocolate. Chocolate!
[he runs down a clothing aisle]
Roger: Hey, how about a mink coat?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Shaun of the Dead (2015) See more »


Composed by Dario Argento, Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli,
Antonio Marangolo, and Agostino Marangolo
Performed by Goblin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

How much is that Zombie in the window
22 January 2001 | by (Dungannon N.Ireland) – See all my reviews

By turns horrific, hilarious, disgusting and absurd Dawn of the Dead is the work of a director truly on top of his game. Given almost total control (something which was to be denied Romero in later years) George Romero gives us his unique and vivid view of a world in absolute turmoil.

Not just a mockery of the hedonistic and empty America of the late 70's Dawn is also a parable or warning if you like of the brittle structure of society and how easily it can be disintegrated. Many have criticised the film for being too over the top and questioned the quality of the acting. This for me is one of the joys of the film, Romero uses gaudy sets and effects and combines this with comic book hero dialogue to lull us into a false sense of security. Then masterfully Romero pulls the rug out from under us and brings the reality of the situation crashing in on our heads.

Dawn stands alone well but really comes into its own as part of the trilogy to which it belongs. One theory of mine is that the Alien trilogy (forgetting the miserable fourth installment) takes a lot from the dead trilogy namely the pace and claustrophobia of the two which book-end the mass hysteria and over the top horror and violence of the middle film.

Undoubtedly one of the great Horror films of modern time. Or perhaps there is something about being the only people left alive and living in a shopping mall that appeals to the kid in all of us. 10/10

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