A young woman moves into an apartment in a building which houses a sinister evil.


Michael Winner


Jeffrey Konvitz (novel), Michael Winner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Sarandon ... Michael Lerman
Cristina Raines ... Alison Parker
Martin Balsam ... Professor Ruzinsky
John Carradine ... Father Halliran
José Ferrer ... Robed Figure
Ava Gardner ... Miss Logan
Arthur Kennedy ... Monsignor Franchino
Burgess Meredith ... Charles Chazen
Sylvia Miles ... Gerde
Deborah Raffin ... Jennifer
Eli Wallach ... Detective Gatz
Christopher Walken ... Detective Rizzo
Jerry Orbach ... Film Director
Beverly D'Angelo ... Sandra
Hank Garrett ... Brenner


A fashion model moves into a house inhabited (on the top floor) by a blind priest. She begins having strange physical problems, has trouble sleeping at night, and has some nasty flashbacks of her attempted suicide. She complains to the real estate agent of the noise caused by her strange neighbors, but finds out that the house is only occupied by the priest and herself, and ultimately discovers that she has been put in the house for a reason. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She Is Young, She Is Beautiful, She Is Next... See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Michael Winner claims the producer wanted Chris Sarandon because he was nominated for an Oscar for Dog Day Afternoon. Winner did not want Sarandon but was afraid to confront the producer. A few weeks into shooting, Winner claims the producer saw dailies with Sarandon and asked "What the hell is this Greek waiter doing in my film?!?" (Referring to Sarandon). Winner told him that was the actor he asked for and by that time no change could be made. See more »


(at around 4 mins) When Allison is filming a shampoo commercial, she and another model are seen whipping their hair around. The footage was reversed, so the actresses' hair is moving backwards. See more »


Michael Lerman: It's all right. Listen, listen. I know everything now. The Latin you saw in that book was an ancient warning from the angel Gabriel to the angel Uriel.
Alison Parker: Michael, what are you talking about?
Michael Lerman: The angel Uriel was stationed at the entrance to Eden to guard it from the devil. Since that time a long line of guardians... sentinels, have guarded the world against evil. Right now it's Father Halliran upstairs. But tonight YOU become the next sentinel. All the people you saw here, the old man, the lesbians....
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Alternate Versions

In the theatrical version, there is no voiceover in the final scene while the camera orbits the new Sentinel. The effect of seeing Alison transformed is startling, unsettling, and frightening. For the TV version, a voiceover has been added which diminishes this effect by implying that Alison is much happier in her new life than she was before. See more »


Referenced in The 'Burbs (1989) See more »

User Reviews

Burgess Meredith Has a Devil of a Good Time in this Film
21 April 2008 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Christina Raines plays a lovely model in New York who seeks out a new apartment and begins to meet strange neighbors and reveal a secret about the building and herself slowly building up to quite a climax by film's end. This film has all kinds of neat plot elements from the Roman Catholic Church vs. the Devil, to the gateway to Hell, to bizarre rituals, to a growing conspiracy, and finally to a host of talented famous actors and actresses flooding the film. We get Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Chris Sarandon, Jerry Orbach, Deborah Raffin, Arthur Kennedy, Jose Ferrer, Slyvia Miles, Beverly DeAngelo, Eli Wallach, Martin Balsam, Christopher Walkin, William Hickey, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, and who can forget John Carradine as the old priest. Many of these actors ham it up - particularly Burgess Meredith giving a fine comic/demented performance as one of the neighbors with a little bird and a cat. Meredith is memorable as is Balsam and Chris Sarandon. Some of the performers have virtually nothing to do like Jose Ferrer in a thankless role even if it is nothing more than a cameo. The Sentinel is a fine horror film with plenty of psychological elements and some truly terrifying scenes. The end scene is repulsive and yet chilling. I do find fault with some of the gratuitous sex and violence in the film, particularly that whole scene with DeAngelo and Miles. Was that really necessary? I think not. Also, the father/daughter stuff was a bit much as well, but overall the film works and has a winning pace. Director Michael Winner does a workmanlike job and is effective creating tension and scary movie moments. The scenes with Carradine are particularly effective.

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English | Italian | Latin

Release Date:

11 February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sentinel See more »


Box Office


$3,700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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