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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  21 August 1981 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 55,490 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 328 user | 178 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Belcher ...
...
...
...
Brian Glover ...
Lila Kaye ...
...
Sean Baker ...
Paddy Ryan ...
...
Anne-Marie Davies ...
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Don McKillop ...
Paul Kember ...
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Storyline

Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The monster movie See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre lobo americano en Londres  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 3,103,703 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

(re-release)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Griffin Dunne stated in 2007 that his biggest fear was that his mother, who was ill at the time, would not be able to handle seeing a film where her son appeared as a mutilated corpse. See more »

Goofs

The small boy in the zoo is in his school uniform, but based on the previous scene it must be a Sunday. This is assuming anyone would really be cruel enough to make their child wear school uniform on a day out to the zoo. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Truck Driver: That way is Proctor, and over here is the moors. I go this way.
Jack: Thanks for the ride, sir. You have lovely sheep.
Truck Driver: Boys, keep off the moors, stick to the roads. The best to ya...
David: Thanks again.
[then to the sheep]
David: We'll miss you.
David: Bye girls...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy star as themselves. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shaun of the Dead (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Past Present And Beyond
(uncredited)
Music by Trevor Bastow
Bruton Music Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of my favorite films
29 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

While backpacking through Europe, two friends, David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), find themselves out on England's moors, despite advice to avoid them. When a wild animal attacks them, one of them dies, and the other just might be turning into a monster.

Director John Landis' "pet project"--he had to sit on the script for 10 years before he had enough clout from other films for this one to be greenlighted--is an excellent, seamless melding of comedy and horror, with a surprising amount of brutality and one of the most wonderfully dark, abrupt conclusions ever made.

John Irving once said that he loves to put comedy and tragedy in close conjunction because each can make the other more effective. That's just the effect that the combination has in An American Werewolf In London. Both the comedy and the horror in the film are fully committed to, unlike many attempts to merge the two. If "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is ever true, this is an example. The comic bits wouldn't be nearly as delightful if they didn't supervene on the disturbing, and the horror wouldn't have near the impact if they didn't arrive in the context where you half-expect the next moment to be just as lighthearted and amusing. Both the initial "animal attack" and the apocalyptic ending are perfect examples of this.

Aside from that exquisite unusualness, An American Werewolf In London has many other superb characteristics. The cast is perfect. Naughton, who also starred in the seriously underrated Desire, The Vampire (aka I, Desire) (1982), carries the film with ease. The cinematography is excellent. The shots of the countryside (actually filmed in Wales) are actually both beautiful and very eerie at the same time. The make-up effects are awesome, and the transformation effects are unsurpassed. The music, which is primarily a number of different "moon" related pop songs, is also perfect, partially because of the bizarre contrasts in mood that the music creates, which echoes the comedy/tragedy juxtaposition. Unlike many other films, every scene in this one is a something I'd like to spend years exploring. The settings, the characters, the scenarios are all so fascinating.

This film is a 10 out of 10 even with one hand tied behind its back. If you enjoy it, and you're open minded about newer horror film styles, the "sequel", An American Werewolf in Paris, is also worth a watch.


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# 2 On My Top Ten List... jlrucilez
One thing bugging me... greet512
This is THE werewolf movie everyone should see cronoashtear
Where did you see it? goyar
How did the werewolf get out???? Sorensen-matt295
2 full moons in a row? ermanator_x-1
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