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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.



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



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


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


A masterpiece of terror See more »


Comedy | Fantasy | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En amerikansk varulv i London  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The opening scene of the movie - also the first scene filmed - depicts friends David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a walking tour of Yorkshire, Northern England, traveling on foot toward the nearest town. Because of the cold and dampness of the location, Dunne's nose was running. While delivering a line of dialogue, Naughton glanced over at Dunne just in time to see Dunne catching and wiping away a stream of snot running from his nose. Naughton laughed at the sight of Dunne's discomfort, making Dunne begin to laugh while responding to Naughton's line of dialogue. Because of the spontaneity of the shot - and because the scene was largely improvised anyway - director John Landis decided to use that imperfect shot in the film's release print. See more »


It would seem extreme to take a badly injured patient all the way from Yorkshire to London - a journey of some 200 miles - when St James' Hospital in Leeds would be a lot closer. That is, unless the parents requested their son be taken to a hospital in London, due to ignorance of UK geography or assuming a hospital in the capital would provide the best treatment. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry (2010) See more »


Blue Moon
Music by Richard Rodgers (uncredited)
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart (uncredited)
Performed by Bobby Vinton
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Going Out On A Limb (no pun intended)!!
23 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Film maker's film that's an homage and a refreshing take on the werewolf legend. It's scary; rich in dialogue; practical... (in a horror movie???) AND Funny!

Especially in DTS sound... It's Scary!!!

Specifically...for anyone who enjoys the old 'Universal Studios' classic renditions of the "Wolf Man" saga, this modern 'fairy tale horror' doesn't violate any traditions. If you haven't seen the old classics, not to worry;...this flick stands on its own.

The story unfolds!...And the tension begins!...slowly!

Actors Naughton and Dunne are perfectly cast as your typical college students, backpacking their way thru Europe for...well...for what ELSE!!?!! Their back & forth banter is priceless!! Their 'on screen' chemistry is, unfortunately, too short (that's kinda redeemed in the DVD commentary by both actors). And their trek across the fog laden moor ranks as one of the most frightening scenes in movie history.

But the real star of the film is director John Landis!

Along with the Cast!

And make-up artist Rick Baker.

Not since "Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein" has Comedy/Horror worked so well. The difference is: unlike "A&C Meet Frankenstein", this film is a horror story laced with a sharp and clever 'comic relief'. And Landis captures that fine line balance between horror/humor that is unprecedented.

A near definitive werewolf movie that's bloody! scary! funny! satirical! funny! intelligent! sexy! charming!...and ultimately sad!!!...(did I say funny twice?). HEY...if you ever take time to see only one werewolf movie; then...

Well...everyone's got their opinion.

But this film ranks way up their in horror. A Classic!!

With a soundtrack that's perfectly placed! And composer Elmer Bernstein perfectly placing the music.

Grab the popcorn! And Hang On!

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