5.9/10
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122 user 118 critic

Piranha (1978)

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal.

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(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Maggie McKeown (as Heather Menzies)
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Laura Dickinson (as Melody Thomas)
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Shannon Collins ...
Shawn Nelson ...
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Janie Squire ...
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Storyline

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're here...Hungry for flesh! Who can stop them? See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piraña  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was designed to jump on the huge success of Jaws (1975). Roger Corman was known for producing films that were veiled imitations of more successful movies. But it still took a further three years to raise enough money to make the film. By which time Jaws 2 (1978) had already been made. See more »

Goofs

In several of the "summer" camp scenes it is clearly early spring. Many of the trees still have no leaves. See more »

Quotes

Maggie McKeown: That guard is still out there.
Paul Grogan: Fine, I need you to distract him.
Maggie McKeown: What for?
Paul Grogan: So I can get away.
Maggie McKeown: So YOU can get away? What about me?
Paul Grogan: Well suit yourself. Just come onto him, tell him what an admirer you are of Army or something like that.
Maggie McKeown: What if he's gay?
Paul Grogan: Then I'll go and distract him!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The FBI warning at the end of the credits ends with the phrase "So There." Producer Jon Davison used the same joke for the FBI warning in his later picture "Airplane." See more »

Connections

Referenced in 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

This movie bites....in a good way.
15 November 2004 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

In the wake of "Jaws" came countless man vs. nature flicks with everything from bees to grizzly bears to frogs coming out to get man back for his crimes against the ecology (and don't forget "Night of the Lepus" in which huge bunny rabbits munched on hapless victims!) This film is considered one of the best imitators, primarily because of its tongue-in-cheek approach and it's deliberately campy writing and casting. Menzies is a hotshot missing persons expert who goes in search of two young hikers who have disappeared. She enlists the aid of hermit-like Dillman who lives near an abandoned government testing facility where the hikers were last suspected to have been. When they come upon a murky tank and believe the bodies could be at the bottom, Menzies releases the contents, unwittingly unleashing a school of vicious, genetically-altered piranha onto an unsuspecting river full of camp kids and park revelers. From there, it's a race against the clock to get to Dillman's young daughter who is about to enter a camp relay race in the water downstream. The film is deliberately peppered with actors who've made their mark in either horror or suspense films and it makes no pretenses about its lack of originality (though it does manage to come up with some despite itself!) Dillman (sporting an atrocious come-and-go Southern accent) and Menzies have a surprisingly decent rapport with each other with a few amusing scenes tossed in amongst all the panic. McCarthy pops up as a terrified scientist who knows his plans have gone awry. Wynn has a cameo as a gruff, but likable neighbor of Dillman's. Steele plays an ominous scientist in cahoots with Army colonel Gordon to keep the whole situation under wraps. Bartel is the persnickety camp counselor and Miller is the smarmy amusement park owner, both of whom disbelieve that there's any danger. Despite it's minuscule budget and rather homemade effects, the film does generate a bit of eye-opening gore and more than a little discomfort as these tiny fish nibble away at anything in the water. If "Jaws" caused people to avoid the ocean, this film could make people think twice about cloudy rivers and lakes! The murkiness of the water only adds to the horror of it all as the bikini-clad tourists and innertube-wielding kids can't begin to see what's coming. It's just a sting, then a nibble, then blood everywhere! Some of the effects are tacky and amusing, but there's a certain level of true fear as well. If one likes this genre to begin with, it will probably be a pleasure to watch. Others may be less enthralled.


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