48 user 58 critic

Willard (1971)

A social misfit uses his only friends, his pet rats, to exact revenge on his tormentors.


Daniel Mann


Gilbert Ralston (screenplay) (as Gilbert A. Ralston), Stephen Gilbert (novel)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bruce Davison ... Willard Stiles
Sondra Locke ... Joan
Elsa Lanchester ... Henrietta Stiles
Michael Dante ... Brandt
Jody Gilbert ... Charlotte Stassen
William Hansen William Hansen ... Barskin
John Myhers John Myhers ... Carlson
J. Pat O'Malley ... Jonathan Farley
Joan Shawlee ... Alice
Almira Sessions ... Carrie Smith
Pauline Drake Pauline Drake ... Ida Stassen
Helen Spring Helen Spring ... Mrs. Becker
Alan Baxter ... Spencer
Sherry Presnell Sherry Presnell ... Mrs. Spencer
Ernest Borgnine ... Martin


A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only friends are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates. (And their increasing number of friends) However, when one of them is killed at work, he goes on a rampage using his rats to attack those who have been tormenting him. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rat | violence | blood | death | murder | See All (39) »


This is the *one* movie you should not see alone. See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

30 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ratman's Notebooks See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bing Crosby Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The location for the Stiles family home is the Higgins-Verbeck-Hirsch Mansion in the Windsor Square neighborhood of Los Angeles. This was only the second feature film to shoot on the premises. It was built in 1902 for Illinois grain magnate Hiram Higgins at its original location on Wilshire Blvd. at Rampart St. In 1924, the home's new owner, interior designer Howard Verbeck, had it cut into three sections and trucked to its present location on S. Lucerne Blvd. just north of Wilshire. After the Great Depression, it fell into disrepair over a half century of neglect. During this time, it was used as a retirement home for nuns, a mission, a rooming house for aspiring actors, and various offices. In 1986, Perry and Peggy Hirsch rescued the historic mansion and spent years restoring it. In 1988 it was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 403. See more »


Toward the end of the movie when Willard is in the kitchen with Ben preparing to poison the rats you can see the image of the rat wrangler putting Ben on the kitchen counter in the reflection of the glass cabinet. See more »


[last lines]
Willard Stiles: [screaming] I was good to you, Ben!
See more »


Featured in Stephen King's World of Horror (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a boy's best friend is his rats.
5 August 2005 | by Nightman85See all my reviews

A truly memorable 1971 thriller that has became a bit of an underground classic.

Handsom, shy Willard Stiles doesn't have an ideal life. He lives with his domineering widowed mother, is bullied by his boss, and doesn't have any friends. That is, until he befriends the rats in his garden and learns that he can make them do his bidding!

Highlighted by a touching and sympathetic performance from Davison, Willard is a different kind of "nature-strikes-back" film. It's a rare occasion where the human characters, rather than the animals, drive the film to its intense climax. There's plenty of twists and turns to be had, as well as a few moments of skin-crawl, especially for those who aren't fond of rodents! The movie also has a bit of a darkly humorous side to it. It's a bit of a rare movie to find these days, but seek it out and hope for a much-needed DVD release of this B movie classic.

Followed by a rather dark remake in 2003

*** 1/2 out of ****

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 48 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed