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Wolfen (1981)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 6,258 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 81 critic

A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.



(based on the novel by), (screen story), 4 more credits »
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Title: Wolfen (1981)

Wolfen (1981) on IMDb 6.3/10

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dehl Berti ...
Sam Gray ...
Ralph Bell ...
Max M. Brown ...
Anne Marie Pohtamo ...
Sarah Felder ...
Morgue Attendant (as Reginald Vel Johnson)


A city cop is assigned to solve a bizarre set of violent murders where it appears that the victoms were killed by animals. In his pursuit he learns of an Indian legend about wolf spirits. Written by K. Rose <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They can hear a cloud pass overhead, the rhythm of your blood. They can track you by yesterday's shadow. They can tear the scream from your throat. See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A farkas  »

Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (MegaSound encoding) (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was made and released about three years after its source novel "The Wolfen" by Whitley Strieber had been first published in 1978. See more »


Moments before the first murder, the killers stalk their victim (using the "night vision" effect) and pass behind a parked car, revealing the reflection of a bright sunny day in the rear hood of the car when it is supposedly taking place at night. See more »


[about the wolves]
Old Indian: They're shiftless. They might be gods!
See more »


Spoofed in Beastie Boys: Video Anthology (2000) See more »


Jitterbug Boy
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
See more »

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User Reviews

Great twist on the usual man in monster suit shocker
30 January 2004 | by (Leeds England) – See all my reviews

Wolfen is something different to the many monster films floating around. If you watch this film expecting to see the usual mix of no brain slash and gore then you will perhaps be disappointed or as was in my case pleasantly surprised. Reading from other comments on this film it is easy to see that it has been widely misunderstood.

Wolfen is not a Werewolf/Horror film although at times it does attempt to be so, which is where the confusion arises for the viewer. On one side we have the Wolfen portrayed as highly evolved beings merely protecting their environment yet on the other side they shown to be remorseless killers as and where the plot dictates. However do not let this paradox put you off a film that is both scary and genuinely thought provoking.

The scenes set in and around areas of urban decay, particularly that of the church, are chilling and suspenseful. Whilst the Wolfen POV camera work is groundbreaking and still effective by today's standards. Wolfen on the whole is a well made film, excellent use of music (or lack of it)to generate suspense and quality actors and acting help bring you into the story behind the Wolfen.

For those that wish to critisise the beach scene when Edward James Olmos dances naked across the sand as demeaning to Indians, well I think they're rather missing the point. Surely the film is trying to show the prejudices of Albert Finney's character rather than belittle any Indian custom.

In summary a film with a message that chooses to show intelligence and reason in its horrors.

22 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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