7.5/10
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261 user 121 critic

Straw Dogs (1971)

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

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writers:

David Zelag Goodman (screenplay), Sam Peckinpah (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,981 ( 201)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

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
Robert Keegan Robert Keegan ... Harry Ware
Peter Arne ... John Niles
Cherina Schaer Cherina Schaer ... Louise Hood
Colin Welland ... Rev. Barney Hood
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

You can push a guy to the limit...But expect consequences. See more »

Genres:

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 »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 January 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Strawdogs See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,251,794 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,148,828, 31 December 1983
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)| Black and White (opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Peckinpah attempted to interest playwright Harold Pinter in working on it before production began, but Pinter, loathing the subject matter, refused. See more »

Goofs

After Amy tells David to get some lettuce, David notices the addition symbol on his chalk board changed to subtract by Amy earlier on. When he draws it back on, the symbol before it jumps from being an addition to a subtraction symbol. See more »

Quotes

David Sumner: You act like you're fourteen years old.
Amy Sumner: I am fourteen years old.
David Sumner: Wanna try for twelve?
Amy Sumner: [Chews gum]
David Sumner: How about eight? I freak out for eight year olds.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Backwoods (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Brandenburg Concerto
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Now that the controversy has gone, an interesting, if flawed film remains
21 September 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

American scholar David Summer and his wife return to her home village in Cornwall to give him peace and quiet to write his book on astrophysics. However Amy meets up with her old boyfriend and his friends, who offer to carry out repairs on the house for David. He agrees but finds that the locals treat him as an outsider resulting in further pressure on the Summer's already fracturing marriage.

I, like many of the reviews written here by users in the UK, took the opportunity to watch this film when it came on tv for the first time in the UK since it was released. I deliberately taped it and left it for a month or so before watching as I wanted it to be free of the hype and controversy that the network had stirred up with documentaries just before they screened it. Watching it away from all this it is difficult to see what all the fuss was about in some regards. Certainly what is socially acceptable in a film today is far beyond what was passed by censors then.

The plot is a strange mix of relationship drama and western. It is easy to focus on the stand off element of this film and the violence of the second half, but I don't think that that is what the film was about. One user called the first hour or so `a very slow build up', however by saying that, the suggestion is that the film only exists to deliver the concluding part. Rather, I got more from the film as a whole and found the `build up' to be interesting as it showed David's marriage cracking and crumpling, slowing exposing the issues and frustrations that exist just below the surface in their relationship. The fact that the action at the end of the film is relating to the underlying frustration Amy had with her husband's inability to `take a stand', indicates that this is the focus of the film.

Regardless of this, it still isn't a fantastic film. It is very slow at times and not all of it has been as well developed as hoped. Cornish locals are all mistrusting inbred hicks who are shifty says the film, which may or may not be true but it would have been better to have a better mix of local characters. The rape scene itself is difficult because for part of it Amy submits and appears to be enjoying and consenting, before others get involved and it becomes full violent rape. Questions over other issues suggests that the film maybe lingers to long on disturbing scenes but the fact that the film also shows the aftermath of the rape is to it's credit.

Due to the stereotyping, not all the actors get a chance to do good work. Hoffman is OK but I found his character difficult to get into. George is not as well developed as I would have hoped but is improved after her ordeal. The support cast of locals are not allowed to go much further than `get off me land' cliché and give lesser performances as a result.

Overall this was an interesting film as it all seems to be focused on the couple's marriage rather than the detail of who is being sheltered in what house etc. Taken on this level it is still far from perfect. The only thing I'm sure of is that anyone drawn to the film simply because of the hype in the press will probably miss the point altogether.


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