6.6/10
7,355
116 user 66 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

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At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.

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Stars: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Kirsten Larkin ...
William Boyett ...
Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)
...
...
Heetu ...
Houseboy
...
...
...
...
Joseph Reale ...
Bartender (as Joe Reale)
Ed Wright ...
Retired Man
Louise Wright ...
Retired Woman
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Storyline

High school student Jill Johnson is traumatized over an evening of babysitting by a caller who repeatedly asks, "Have you checked the children lately?" After notifying the police, Jill is told that the calls are coming from inside the house... Written by Betsy Bloomley <betsybloom@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every babysitter's nightmare becomes real... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

'n maniak belt op...  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$21,411,158 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Tony Beckley was terminally ill throughout the production, because of this he did not fit the description of the killer but Fred Walton refused to recast him as they were good friends. He later passed away just after the principal photography was shot. Director Fred Walton dedicated the film's 1993 sequel 'When A Stranger Calls Back' to the memory of Beckley. See more »

Goofs

Based on the year the film took place, 1 minute would not be nearly long enough to trace Curt's call. Back when the movie was set, it would've taken 10-20 minutes for several switchboards and circuits to locate the origin of the call. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Sacker: [On the phone] Is the house locked up?
Jill Johnson: [Panicking] Yes!
Sgt. Sacker: Well, then you're safe.
[Referring to Duncan]
Sgt. Sacker: If he wanted to break in, he wouldn't keep calling you.
Jill Johnson: [Extreme distress] Please, can't you help me? I'm all alone here!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Ralph Macchio (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Huelga En General
Performed by El Teatro Campesino
Courtesy of Menyah Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Not problem-free, but effective at times
11 May 2013 | by (Victoria, BC) – See all my reviews

"When A Stranger Calls" is a thriller that, while not perfect, does overall deliver a lot of chills. The opening sequence is the most memorable part - while you will guess the surprise twist in this segment long before it happens, the sequence is masterfully directed so it comes across as creepy all the same. The climatic scene, while a little short, also delivers a jolt.

While the opening and closing are well done, the middle portion of the movie has a problem. It's not only very slow, not much happens to advance the plot. Still, this middle segment often has a moody feeling that fits well with the rest of the movie, and Tony Beckley's performance as the psycho is a good one.

By the way, while the movie was rated "R" when it was first released, most viewers in this day and age will find that rating a little harsh. By today's standards, the movie deserves a PG-13 rating. Maybe even a PG rating.


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