A baby alligator is flushed down a Chicago toilet and survives by eating discarded laboratory rats injected with growth hormones. The small reptile grows gigantic, escapes the city sewers, and goes on a rampage.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chief Clark (as Michael Gazzo)
Gutchel (as Sidney Lassick)
John Lisbon Wood ...
Mad Bomber
James Ingersoll ...
Robert Doyle ...
Patti Jerome ...
ABC Newswoman


Ramon the alligator is flushed down the toilet as a baby and grows into a gargantuan monster by eating the corpses of laboratory animals who have undergone dubious hormone experiments, thus providing all the ecological and social subtext that one could possibly wish for, even if one doesn't normally go for films about giant alligators eating people left, right, and center--which is the inevitable and tragic result of Ramon's decision that the outside world looks rather more interesting than the sewers.... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


At first, no one believed. But now, no one will ever forget! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aligator  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Forster was recovering from a case of spinal meningitis when principle filming began. See more »


The Cadillac limousine switches from a 1971 Fleetwood 75 to a 1966 Fleetwood 75 sedan when Ramon crushes the limo. See more »


Callan: [David, Marisa and Callan are walking through the sewer system] What the hell we looking for?
David: Anything that looks like it doesn't belong here.
Marisa: Uh, evidence of alligator nesting.
Callan: I see, like shoes, handbags, luggage...
See more »


Followed by Alligator II: The Mutation (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

Once Upon A Time In (Under) Chicago
25 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best Corman monster flick Roger never made.

This great B-movie unspools like a Sergio Leone revenge tale. Big mean Daddy flushes daughter's baby gator, Ramon, down the toilet. Sixteen years later, Ramon has grown up to be a 36-foot mutated maneater stalking the mean sewers of the Windy City. Daughter has grown up to become a 5'-4" herpetologist for the Chicago Zoo. You can just hear the haunting whistle of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack as the showdown looms.

This monster flick's pedigree is a purebred B, written by Corman alumnus John Sayles (fresh from 1978's 'Piranha', on his way to 1981's 'The Howling') and directed by veteran Lewis Teague, who cut his directing and editing teeth on such Corman classics as 'The Lady In Red', 'Cockfighter', 'Crazy Mama', and the immortal 'Death Race 2000'.

Casting for 'Alligator' was made in Cult Heaven, with Tarantino-fave Robert Forster as the bad-luck cop who gets between the girl and her gator. Future 'Stepmonster' Robin Riker makes her movie debut as the reptile expert. '50s sci-fi veteran Dean Jagger (looking, swear-to-God, like the dancing octogenarian in the Six Flags commercials) plays the dastardly industrialist who kills puppies and inadvertently creates the monster. Henry Silva seems to have fun skewering his cinema psycho persona. Even Hollywood tough-guy Mike Mazurki makes a cameo as the villain's gatekeeper.

Injokes abound, with winks and nudges to infamous sewer rats Harry Lime and Ed Norton. Romantic foreplay includes heartfelt talks about male pattern baldness. The gator seems to have a Jones for men in blue. And Chicago can only be saved by the time-honored, foolproof solution of trapping oneself in an enclosed space with the monster and a timebomb.

After 24 years, we rabid fans are still waiting for the obvious sewer creature clash, 'Ramon vs. C.H.U.D.' Keep dreaming ...

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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