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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  24 May 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 85,576 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


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


The helicopter used in the film was a Bell Jet Ranger II. The registration number was N90090. See more »


All of the M-16 assault rifles in the film clearly have blank adapters affixed to their barrels, which would make it impossible for the weapons to be fired with anything but blanks. See more »


[Roger is in the basement, vomiting]
Peter: You ain't just in here by yourself, boy!
[Roger aims his gun at Peter]
Peter: You was in Wooley's unit, wasn't you?
[Peter cocks his gun]
Roger: I didn't see nothing. I didn't see how he died.
[They lower their guns]
See more »

Crazy Credits

George A. Romero appears on screen as a TV Station Director (the bearded man wearing a scarf and a blue shirt) as his name appears, listing him as "Editor", in the on-screen credits beneath him. See more »


Referenced in Maniac (1980) See more »


The Gonk
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

Still my favorite horror film...
10 February 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When you want brutal, look no further, but when you also want to see perhaps the greatest of all comic-book movies not based on a comic-book, it's in George Romero's original take on his continuing mythology. It's not just one of the towering horror films, or horror comedies (what will a poor dead fellow do when the escalator starts?!) but one of the great sequels, more ambitious and ass-kicking than its predecessor, with a filmmaker more confident and technically proficient with his abilities.

Romero didn't originally want to do *any* sequel to his original 'Night', but after a visit by some friends to a soon-to-open mall nearby his hometown of Pittsburgh, it struck a chord as to who would be coming here – and what so much consumerism in one place would mean. "Why do they come here?" one of the four survivors that happens upon this mall swarming with these flesh-eaters asks another. "This meant something to them. Instinct, maybe. This was an important part of their lives," he responds.

I don't think necessarily Romero meant to show the film as any sort of 'This is what will happen!" type of social horror thing. It's more about, this is where we are at NOW, and in that sense, though broader and a whole LOT bloodier, it holds a place right next to a film like Network as one of the magnificent satires of its time and place, and as much about what the public is like. Romero acts as both pessimist and optimist in this world though; past all the chopped limbs, exploding heads (oh yeah!), Tom Savini stunt and make-up and intestines ripped apart, what holds up the film for me is seeing these four characters come to grip with the horror they've made for themselves, holding up in this "paradise" of a mall.

Balls-to-the-wall horror, social horror, and some genuine paranoid horror stuff (note to self, never try and fire a gun at a single zombie when in a dark room full of electrical wiring and pipes), and plenty of rock and roll attitude, this is a personal favorite and the most entertaining horror film of its time. And the Goblin music soundtrack… yummy.

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