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Wolfen (1981)

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



(based on the novel by), (screen story) | 3 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 ...
Christopher van der Veer
Pauline van der Veer
Sarah Felder ...
Cicely Rensselaer
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 <rcs@texas.net>

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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,037,911, 26 July 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Composer Craig Safan wrote an original score for this film and was replaced at the last minute by future Academy Award winner James Horner, who had only 12 days to write and record his score. 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: They kill...
Old Indian: The sick. The abandoned. Those who will not be missed.
Dewey Wilson: More than that.
Old Indian: They kill to survive. They kill to protect.
Dewey Wilson: Family?
Old Indian: Man kills for less. But in the end, it is all for the hunting ground.
See more »


Referenced in Supernatural: All Dogs Go to Heaven (2010) See more »


Jitterbug Boy
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Werewolf Classic
7 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

A New York cop (Albert Finney) investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks. Tom Noonan and his beard guest star in a key role.

The film is known for its early use of an in-camera effect to portray the subjective point of view of a wolf. Similar to thermography, the technique was later adopted by other horror films such as the "Predator" film series.

Although considered a modern werewolf classic, Roger Ebert asserted Wolfen "is not about werewolves but is about the possibility that Indians and wolves can exchange souls." Well, yeah, that is true... but it is still werewolves, even if not in the traditional sense.

Where is the proper release? This is what people want to know. Apparently the director has a preferred cut, but instead all we get is a bare bones Blu-ray with nothing more than a trailer. Surely there is much more that could be done.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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