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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

R  |   |  Horror  |  16 November 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 135,888 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 645 user | 245 critic | 6 from

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.



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Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Lane (as Nick Corri)
Joseph Whipp ...
Mimi Craven ...
Nurse (as Mimi Meyer-Craven)
Jack Shea ...
Ed Call ...
Sandy Lipton ...


On Elm Street, Nancy Thompson and a group of her friends including Tina Gray, Rod Lane and Glen Lantz are being tormented by a clawed killer in their dreams named Freddy Krueger. Nancy must think quickly, as Freddy tries to pick off his victims one by one. When he has you in your sleep, who is there to save you? Written by simon_hrdng

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Whatever you do, don't fall asleep...or you'll meet the terrifying Freddy. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 November 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les griffes de la nuit  »

Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,271,000 (USA) (9 November 1984)


$26,505,000 (USA) (31 May 1985)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Robert Englund, he based the physicality of Freddy on Klaus Kinski's performance in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979). Englund also says on his DVD commentary that in his mind, the back-story for Freddy was based on something from his own childhood. On Valentine's Day when Englund was in school, everyone in the class made Valentine cards for one another, but there was one boy who received no cards from anyone. Englund theorized that this boy went on to become Freddy. See more »


(at around 23 mins) The person who gets up to speak in the classroom is not the same person who was sitting in the same seat in the establishing shot a few seconds earlier. See more »


[first lines]
Fred Krueger: Tina.
See more »


Spoofed in Gravity Falls: Northwest Mansion Mystery (2015) See more »


Performed by 213
Written and Produced by Martin Kent, Steve Karshner, Michael Schurig
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Dated and very genre but still an effective low budget horror
19 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When a group of friends all have similar dreams with a weird man in a dirty red and black jumper they just think it's a bit weird. However when one of them is brutally murdered by an unseen force while she sleeps, her boyfriend Rod is arrested for the murder. Meanwhile, Nancy falls asleep in class, only to find herself chased through her dream by the same disfigured man. When it becomes apparent that this is more than a dream, more of Tina's friends start to die

With seven or eight (who can keep track?) sequels under its belt, Freddy merchandising and the fact that the 'monster' has become almost a hero, it is hard to look back at this film with fresh eyes. This film is not the gory spectacle that teenagers with video recorders in their bedroom will have come familiar with over several flashy sequels; rather this is a low budget horror movie that is quite gory, quite scary and pretty effective. The plot is interesting enough and is better than the 'gore for gore's sake' that the sequels fell into – it's still not the most intelligent thing you'll ever see but it is still interesting enough. Of course it is about 20 years old now and it looks dated, an effect not helped by the way recent horrors have made fun of the things in here that have become genre cliché over the years. The downside of watching it now is that you expect it to be as 'big', 'gory' etc as the 7 or 8 sequels have progressively become – but it isn't, it's a lot more straightforward a horror than that.

Despite this though it is still a good horror movie – low budget but yet with effective effects and a monster that has grown larger than the series itself. The cast all fit into the requirements of low budget horror, that is to say they can't really act and just scream lots. Langenkamp is a good example and, accordingly, she has done little since this film of any high caliber. Wyss, Garcia and even Depp are all pretty wooden and just fit in with the genre. Saxon puts in a better performance but even then it is only comparable. Englund is actually in the film a lot less than you would expect and, as a result, makes more of an impact. He would later take his Freddy to the level of cartoon character or celebrity (as shown in the New Nightmare) but here he gets his horror character just right – a monster.

Overall this is a good low budget horror but it is one that is difficult to view now without looking back and seeing it as the start of a long horror series that producing a character that has even moved beyond the constraints of his own film. The best way to enjoy this is on its own terms – it is not a massive horror series, it is a single low budget horror movie from the mid-eighties; as such it suffers from the usual genre flaws from the period but it also delivers the goods in terms of scares and gore. It may not be as gory or as knowing as some of the later sequels but it does what it originally intended to do – scare and thrill.

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