IMDb > Ghost Story (1981)
Ghost Story
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Ghost Story (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Ghost Story -- Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing.


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Release Date:
18 December 1981 (USA) See more »
The time has come to tell the tale.
Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A fun, spooky tale that showcases some classic film stars See more (112 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Fred Astaire ... Ricky Hawthorne

Melvyn Douglas ... Dr. John Jaffrey

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Edward Charles Wanderley

John Houseman ... Sears James

Craig Wasson ... Don Wanderley / David Wanderley

Patricia Neal ... Stella Hawthorne

Alice Krige ... Eva Galli / Alma Mobley
Jacqueline Brookes ... Milly
Miguel Fernandes ... Gregory Bate
Lance Holcomb ... Fenny Bate
Mark Chamberlin ... Young Jaffrey
Tim Choate ... Young Hawthorne
Kurt Johnson ... Young Wanderley

Ken Olin ... Young James
Brad Sullivan ... Sheriff Hardesty

Guy Boyd ... Omar Norris

Michael O'Neill ... Churchill
Robert Burr ... Peterson - the principal of Orlando College
Helena Carroll ... Mrs. Meredith - Peterson's secretary

Robin Curtis ... Rea Dedham
Breon Gorman ... Nettie Dedham
James Greene ... The Postman
Cagle D. Green ... Eva's Ghost
Kyra Carleton ... Eva's Ghost
Ruth Hunt ... Florence - Sears and and Ricky's secretary

Deborah Offner ... Helen Kayon
Virginia Bingham ... Sears' Mother (as Virginia P. Bingham)
William E. Conway ... Sears' Father
Russell R. Bletzer ... Reverend Wilkinson
Terrance Mario Carnes ... The Waiter
Alfred Curven ... Man in the Coffin
Edward F. Dillon ... The Judge
Alvin W. Fretz ... The Coroner
Hugh Hires ... Student Solt
Raymond J. Quinn ... Ricky's Father
Barbara von Zastrow ... Ricky's Mother
Betty Low ... Irmengard
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mason Cardiff ... Schoolboy (uncredited)
Gale Grindle ... Student (uncredited)

Directed by
John Irvin 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Lawrence D. Cohen 
Peter Straub  novel

Produced by
Douglas Green .... co-producer
Ronald G. Smith .... associate producer
Burt Weissbourd .... producer
Original Music by
Philippe Sarde 
Cinematography by
Jack Cardiff 
Film Editing by
Tom Rolf 
Casting by
Mike Fenton 
Production Design by
Norman Newberry 
Art Direction by
Norman Newberry 
Set Decoration by
Mary Ann Biddle 
Costume Design by
May Routh 
Makeup Department
Rick Baker .... special makeup effects artist
Irving Buchman .... makeup artist
Carl Fullerton .... special makeup effects artist
Albert Jeyte .... makeup artist
Robert Jiras .... makeup artist
Philip Leto .... hair stylist
Rick Sharp .... makeup artist
Dick Smith .... special makeup
Production Management
Robert Latham Brown .... production manager
Ronald G. Smith .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dan Kolsrud .... first assistant director
Dean Lyras .... second assistant director
Art Department
James Allen .... assistant decorator (as Jim Allen)
William Apperson .... construction foreman
Michael Seymour .... visual advisor
John Zemansky .... property master
Sound Department
James R. Alexander .... sound (as Jim Alexander)
Charles L. Campbell .... supervising sound editor
Larry Carow .... sound effects editor
Samuel C. Crutcher .... sound effects editor
Richard C. Franklin .... sound effects editor (as Rick Franklin)
Robert L. Hoyt .... sound re-recordist
David Pettijohn .... sound effects editor
Stanley H. Polinsky .... sound re-recording mixer (as Stan Polinsky)
Mark Server .... boom operator
John J. Stephens .... sound re-recording mixer (as John Stephens)
John Roesch .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Steve Johnson .... special effects
Henry Millar Jr. .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Syd Dutton .... matte artist
Dennis Glouner .... matte photographer
Bill Taylor .... matte photographer
Albert Whitlock .... special visual effects
Henry Schoessler .... matte crew (uncredited)
Susan Turner .... visual effects (uncredited)
Erik Cord .... stunts
Rita Egleston .... stunts
Diamond Farnsworth .... stunts (as Hill Farnsworth)
Larry Holt .... stunts
John Meier .... stunts
Jeff Ramsey .... stunts
Glenn Randall Jr. .... stunt coordinator
Dick Warlock .... stunts
Bruce Paul Barbour .... stunt player (uncredited)
Dick Warlock .... stunt double: Fred Astaire (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Lou Barlia .... camera operator
Bobby Brown .... second assistant camera: "a" camera
Jack Brown .... assistant camera
Dick Mingalone .... camera operator
Reggie Newkirk .... first assistant camera
Ted Varnadoe .... electrician
Editorial Department
Michael Ripps .... assistant editor
Music Department
Harry Betts .... orchestrator
John Caper Jr. .... conductor
John Caper Jr. .... music coordinator
Mickey Crofford .... music recordist
Peter Knight .... conductor
Peter Knight .... orchestrator
Michel Mention .... additional orchestrator
Peter T. Myers .... orchestrator (as Peter Myers)
Transportation Department
Patrick A. DiCocco .... production driver
Doug Wilson .... driver
Other crew
Phil Bowles .... first assistant stage manager
Jan DeWitt .... second assistant stage manager
Sonny P. Filippini .... script supervisor
Mike Henry .... production assistant/logistics co-ordinator
Phill Norman .... title designer
Suzanne E. Petersen .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
110 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Actors Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas has both previously appeared in Hud (1963) around eighteen years earlier.See more »
Continuity: With David's naked plunge through the window, not only does the towel disappear but in the distant long shot of him falling from the building, there is no broken window.See more »
Gregory Bate:Imagine her waiting for you all these years. Imagine her sleeping under ice and snow... waiting.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Horror Business (2005) (V)See more »
Sweetheart of Sigma ChiSee more »


Where were the Dedham sisters? They're in the credits, but they seem to have been cut out.
Why does the ghost want revenge on Wanderley's sons, as well?
What's the significance of the necklace?
See more »
31 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
A fun, spooky tale that showcases some classic film stars, 22 September 2003
Author: FilmOtaku ( from Milwaukee, WI

I watched this film with a friend who described it as `one of the scariest movies he had ever seen.' I will agree with this assessment because the thrills are not cheap ones – they are genuine scares. Ghost Story stars Fred Astaire, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Melvyn Douglas as members of the `Chowder Society' a group that gathers around the fireplace to drink brandy and tell ghost stories. The problem lies in the fact that they also share a long-kept secret that is now coming back to haunt them.

While it was novel to see these great actors in action, particularly in a genre where they are not normally known, this film is great because it does not rely on gore or special effects to scare the pants off the viewer. The horrors come from lower scale thrill, like a spooky house, an eerie soundtrack and quick flashes of horrific images that are sudden and impactful enough to make your heart leap into your throat.

This is a small, fun movie that isn't without its faults; (you can see the `secret' coming from a mile away) but the buildup to the unveiling of this secret is pure fun.


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