IMDb > When a Stranger Calls (1979)
When a Stranger Calls
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When a Stranger Calls (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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6.6/10   6,241 votes »
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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Steve Feke (written by) and
Fred Walton (written by)
View company contact information for When a Stranger Calls on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 October 1979 (USA) See more »
...Fear is the Message! See more »
A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
(9 articles)
The 18 Scariest Horror Movie Opening Scenes, Ranked
 (From Hitfix. 1 April 2015, 5:43 PM, PDT)

The Top 11 Home Invasions in Horror
 (From Dread Central. 16 December 2013, 8:00 AM, PST)

The 5 Worst Phone Calls in Movie History
 (From NextMovie. 14 March 2013, 7:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Have you checked the children? See more (110 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Carol Kane ... Jill Johnson

Rutanya Alda ... Mrs. Mandrakis

Carmen Argenziano ... Dr. Mandrakis
Kirsten Larkin ... Nancy
William Boyett ... Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)

Charles Durning ... John Clifford

Ron O'Neal ... Lt. Charlie Garber
Heetu ... Houseboy

Rachel Roberts ... Dr. Monk
Tony Beckley ... Curt Duncan

Colleen Dewhurst ... Tracy

Michael Champion ... Bill
Joseph Reale ... Bartender (as Joe Reale)
Ed Wright ... Retired Man
Louise Wright ... Retired Woman
Carol Tillery Banks ... Mrs. Garber (as Carol O'Neal)
Dennis McMullen ... Maintenance Man
Wally Taylor ... Cheater
John Tobyansen ... Bar Customer
Sara Damman ... Bianca Lockart
Richard Bail ... Stevie Lockart
Steven Anderson ... Stephen Lockart

Lenora May ... Sharon
Randy Holland ... Maitre d'
Trent Dolan ... Policeman #1
Frank DiElsi ... Policeman #2
Arell Blanton ... Policeman #3
DeForest Covan ... Officer #1 (as De Forest Covan)

Charles Boswell ... Officer #2
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Kathleen Coyne ... Pedestrian (uncredited)
Dick Warlock ... Bartender (uncredited)
Cheryl Wilson ... Mrs. Shifrin (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Walton 
Writing credits
Steve Feke (written by) and
Fred Walton (written by)

Produced by
Doug Chapin .... producer
Steve Feke .... producer
Larry Kostroff .... associate producer
Barry Krost .... executive producer
Melvin Simon .... executive producer
Original Music by
Dana Kaproff 
Cinematography by
Donald Peterman (director of photography) (as Don Peterman)
Film Editing by
Sam Vitale 
Casting by
Penny Perry 
Production Design by
Elayne Barbara Ceder 
Set Decoration by
Lee Poll 
Makeup Department
Ruby Ford .... hair stylist
Billy Laughridge .... hair stylist (as Billie Laughridge)
Bob Mills .... makeup artist
Edie Panda .... hair stylist
Production Management
Barbara Michaels .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Edward Ledding .... first assistant director (as Ed Ledding)
Lynn M. Morgan .... second assistant director (as Lynn Morgan)
Art Department
Priscilla Beroud .... assistant property master
Leonard Cross .... leadman
Martin Marias .... property master
Sound Department
Martin Raymond Bolger .... production sound mixer (as Martin Bolger)
Bud Fuellgrabe .... boom operator
Walter Goss .... sound re-recording mixer
Keith Stafford .... sound editor
Stan Barrett .... stunt coordinator
Dick Warlock .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
James Ball .... second grip (as Jim Ball)
Joe Castagnoli .... second camera assistant
Jim Everly .... electrician
John M. Hennessy .... key grip (as John Hennessy)
Leslie J. Kovacs .... gaffer (as Les Kovacs)
Brice Mack .... camera operator (as Brice Mack III)
Carol McCullough .... still photographer
Joseph J. Orefice .... best boy (as Joe Orefice)
Bill Randall .... dolly grip
Baird Steptoe .... first camera assistant
Casting Department
Beverly Long .... additional casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Richard Bruno .... costume supervisor (as Dick Bruno)
Dean Skipworth .... set costumer
Editorial Department
Susan Cooper .... editorial consultant
John Fenady .... apprentice editor
Harold Wilner .... assistant editor
Music Department
Jim Henrikson .... music editor
Transportation Department
William Cockrell .... transportation co-captain
Jim Martell .... transportation captain
Other crew
Harriet Brown .... assistant to producers
Virginia Cook-McGowan .... production coordinator (as Virginia Cook)
Marc Dodell .... production assistant
Barbara Hogan .... script supervisor
Ed Margulies .... unit publicist
Rita Moseley .... location auditor
Jim Swinehart .... craft service

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
97 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Fred Walton originally shot this film as a short entitled 'The Sitter', which was essentially the opening 20 minutes of 'When A Stranger Calls'. However after the huge success of Halloween (1978) Walton saw the potential of expanding the short into a full-length feature. The script was then expanded into a feature length film about the pursuit of villain Curt Duncan.See more »
Continuity: When Jill has a drink at the wet bar, the grandfather clock is visible in the shot, about a foot to the right of the bar. In all other shots the clock is about four to five feet from the bar, much closer to the hallway.See more »
Curt Duncan:[to Tracey, at the bar] My mind. Your mind. Where do they fit in? Do you see what i mean?
[Tracey glares, turns her head and moves a stool away from him]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in American Nightmare (2002) (V)See more »
Space RaceSee more »


Why did Curt target Jill?
See more »
23 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Have you checked the children?, 23 October 2000
Author: jhaggardjr from Chicago, Illinois

"When a Stranger Calls" is a somewhat entertaining horror-suspense-thriller that starts off great, loses steam in the middle, then comes back for a good finish. The beginning of this movie is outstanding, with babysitter Carol Kane receiving obscene phone calls from an unknown maniac. This is far and away the best part of the film. It's scary, creepy, and downright eerie. But it doesn't sustain that level through the entire film. The mid-portion of the movie is rather dull, featuring a few lazy supporting performances. But "When a Stranger Calls" redeems itself with a nail-biting climax, even though the conclusion doesn't top the film's opening in terms of scariness. Carol Kane and Charles Durning are good in the roles of the terrified babysitter and the private detective searching for the killer when he's on the loose. "When a Stranger Calls" is not a great horror movie but a good one. And its better than the cable-made sequel that came out fourteen years later, "When a Stranger Calls Back".

*** (out of four)

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Rooting for the killer Born_ToKill
Cellphone in 1979? Detectiveblue
Black Christmas was NOT first Bou
1979 or 2006? proshot1
Don't answer the phone jastrait78
No murder weapon? proudbrunette
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