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Wolfen (1981)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  24 July 1981 (USA)
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Reviews: 89 user | 82 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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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


There is no defense. 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 DVD sleeve notes state that the predators' perspectives were simulated with the use of a Louma crane and Steadicam camera. 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 »


Dewey Wilson: [Ending voiceover] In arrogance man knows nothing of what exists. There exists on this earth such as we dare not imagine; life as certain as our death, life that will prey on us as surely as we prey on this earth.
See more »


Referenced in The Flying Doctors: Sins of the Father (1986) See more »


Jitterbug Boy
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
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User Reviews

Atmospheric and Entertaining
21 April 2015 | by (Georgia) – See all my reviews

Wolfen is absolutely a classic of the horror genre. Released in succession after the likes of Altered States, The Howling and An American Werewolf in London it actually provides more tension than the rest because it doesn't overdo the creature effects. The Howling is probably the most famous of the three films yet after purchasing and watching the blu-ray I realized something 33 years later... It's just not scary. The transformations are graphic but feel too long and drawn out now. As an adult I find that werewolves just are no longer scary. Neither is Dracula. At least American Werewolf was funny and had a charismatic lead. Where Wolfen exceeds it's genre roots is in it's attention to plot details and character development. Albert Finney is believable as a burned out cop and Gregory Hines is a treat as his co- star/sidekick the coroner. There are scenes in this film that work on a suspense level that few others can muster and the abandoned tenements provide a creepy location for their two man reconnaissance. As far as 80's horror goes this is essential viewing.

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