7.6/10
64,056
338 user 188 critic

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

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

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
2,894 ( 127)

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Howling (1981)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After a bizarre and near fatal encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan
Fright Night (1985)
Fantasy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a teenager learns that his next door neighbour is a vampire, no one will believe him.

Director: Tom Holland
Stars: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse
The Lost Boys (1987)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest
Hellraiser (1987)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover; demons are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.

Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman
Poltergeist (1982)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A family's home is haunted by a host of ghosts.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Craig T. Nelson
Creepshow (1982)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An anthology which tells five terrifying tales based on the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau
The Evil Dead (1981)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
Action | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two siblings visit their grandfather's grave in Texas along with three of their friends and are attacked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
Halloween (1978)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On Halloween night of 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death. After sitting in a mental hospital for 15 years, Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to kill.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Belcher ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Sean Baker ...
Paddy Ryan ...
...
Anne-Marie Davies ...
...
...
Don McKillop ...
Paul Kember ...
Edit

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:

Beware the Moon See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

(re-release)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of this film, makeup and industry technological contributions became recognized by the Academy Awards in 1981. Makeup artist Rick Baker was the first to receive an Oscar in the new category. William Tuttle was the first makeup effects artist to receive an Oscar (being an honorary one) for his work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964). See more »

Goofs

In the Slaughtered Lamb when David and Jack order tea, the conversation resumes around the room. The noise sounds like thirty people speaking but in two shots we can't see any mouths moving. 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

All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living, dead, or undead, is purely coincidental. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Sheep (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Santa Lucia
(uncredited)
Traditional
Transcribed and Arranged by Teodoro Cottrau
Performed by Griffin Dunne and David Naughton
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.


88 of 108 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
# 2 On My Top Ten List... jlrucilez
Unreal gritfrombray-1
Is it realistic that... graham_525
Jenny Agutter is one of the most Beautiful Women who has ever Lived psychosamba
One thing bugging me... greet512
No one hears anything??? Sorensen-matt295
Discuss An American Werewolf in London (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page