A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment.


Sam Peckinpah


David Zelag Goodman (screenplay), Sam Peckinpah (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,139 ( 554)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Dustin Hoffman ... David Sumner
Susan George ... Amy
Peter Vaughan ... Tom Hedden
T.P. McKenna ... Maj. John Scott
Del Henney Del Henney ... Charlie Venner
Jim Norton ... Chris Cawsey
Donald Webster Donald Webster ... Riddaway
Ken Hutchison ... Norman Scutt
Len Jones Len Jones ... Bobby Hedden
Sally Thomsett Sally Thomsett ... Janice Hedden
Bob Keegan Bob Keegan ... Harry Ware
Peter Arne ... John Niles
Cherina Schaer Cherina Schaer ... Louise Hood
Colin Welland ... Rev. Barney Hood


Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes a man is forced to defend his honor. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence including a sexual attack, menace, some sexual content, and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The rape scene was completely removed by the Irish censor when first theatrically released in Ireland. See more »


At the start of the film Dustin Hoffman goes into a village pub and asks for American cigarettes and he's give Rothmans, which are British.It would be highly unlikely for a village pub to sell American cigarettes. See more »


Amy Sumner: David, give Niles to them. That's what they want. They just want him. Give them Niles, David!
David Sumner: They'll beat him to death.
Amy Sumner: I don't care! Get him out!
David Sumner: You really don't care, do you?
Amy Sumner: No, I don't.
David Sumner: No. I care. This is where I live. This is me. I will not allow violence against this house.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Criterion Collection, a privately-owned New York City video distribution house, acquired the rights from MGM to release a special edition double-DVD set of the film in 2003, which featured a new high-definition transfer (performed by Criterion) of the uncut version, and included unique extras such as a scholarly audio commentary, the documentary _Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron (1992) (TV)_ a then newly recorded interview with Susan George and correspondence from Sam Peckinpah to some of the film's critics. This Criterion edition was limited to a one-year print run and the packaging carried a "Limited Edition" sticker,the only one of Criterion's releases to do so. In 2004, the Criterion edition went out-of-print and MGM acquired the Criterion transfer and released it to DVD without the extras. See more »


Referenced in Grindhouse (2007) See more »


Symphony No.94
(The "Surprise") (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Haydn
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User Reviews

Explaining Today's Shooting Sprees
13 December 2015 | by j-penkairSee all my reviews

I never saw a film so simple and yet so complex at the same time. This is how sophisticated Sam Peckinpah was as director of Straw Dogs. He must have had a god-like understanding of human beings and their vulnerabilities, or Straw Dogs would have turned out a forgettable made-for-TV movie. On the contrary, the film is increasingly relevant to mankind as time goes by, surpassing even a classic branding. The story plot and the script are exceptionally well-done, as it rids the viewers of any disbelief from early on. You stop asking why they move there, why Amy Sumner chooses to conduct herself that way, why there is tension between her and the husband. Why the rape is emotionally mixed between yearning and disgust on her part, and all the rest. You subscribe to the film from the beginning, and helplessly follow them every step of the way until every bit of emotion is brutally unfolded and till tail lights of that white car disappears into the darkness. If you show this 1971 film around the US today, it would be easily alleged of campaigning for the National Rifles Association to support the rights to bear arms. It is scary to discover that violence does not have to start from your own inclination or their provocation. Violence can be a result of mutual contempt without you being conscious of helping to develop one. In this film, violence is much a combination of David, Amy, Charlie, Chris, Norman, Henry, Tom, Reverend Barney Hood, to even the lawman Major John Scott, who represents a mindset of "the law is dead". Sam Peckinpah, as this film was first released, was condemned almost unanimously by critics and viewers alike. He was accused of glorifying violence, in support of a lawless society, and in favor of Doomsday's analogies. Today we see him as a prophet who was and is wise. His analysis of social problems is second to none. You can even restructure all governments' crime-preventing policy based upon his films, particularly on this one. Someone made the right call not to try any sequels of this film. The reason is obvious: we now become the real-life sequel of David Sumner's driving Henry Niles into the dark on that fateful night.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

22 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Strawdogs See more »


Box Office


$3,251,794 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:



Color | Black and White (opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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