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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | 24 May 1979 (USA)
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2:40 | Trailer
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director:

George A. Romero
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Popularity
3,949 ( 1,336)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Emge ... Stephen
Ken Foree ... Peter
Scott H. Reiniger ... Roger
Gaylen Ross ... Francine
David Crawford David Crawford ... Dr. Foster
David Early David Early ... Mr. Berman
Richard France ... Scientist
Howard Smith ... TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich Daniel Dietrich ... Givens
Fred Baker Fred Baker ... Commander
James A. Baffico James A. Baffico ... Wooley (as Jim Baffico)
Rod Stouffer Rod Stouffer ... Young Officer on Roof
Jese Del Gre Jese Del Gre ... Old Priest
Clayton McKinnon Clayton McKinnon ... Officer in Project Apt.
John Rice ... Officer in Project Apt.
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Storyline

Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse as they take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall following a horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. Taking stock of their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can eke out a living--at least for a while. Tensions begin to build as months go on, and they come to realize that they've fallen prey to consumerism. Soon afterward, they have even heavier problems to worry about, as a large gang of bikers discovers the mall and invades it, ruining the survivors' best-laid plans and forcing them to fight off both lethal bandits and flesh-eating zombies. Written by Curly Q. Link

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Night of the Living Dead is over. Dawn of the Dead is here. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 May 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ultimate Final Cut) | (Dario Argento's European Version) |

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (German prints)| Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In addition to the lead biker Blades, Tom Savini plays the zombie who breaks window of the truck and is shot by Roger with a revolver. This scene leaves a bloody smear on the windshield, the effect was created by Savini throwing himself on the non-moving truck and spitting a mouthful of blood on the windshield. See more »

Goofs

When Roger and Peter are entering Penny's department store as they are opening the doors, Roger lays his M-16 outside against the wall. As they fend off the dead Roger clearly throws his M-16 inside and it lands on the floor behind them, yet in later shots it still shows his rifle laying against the wall outside. See more »

Quotes

[on a TV set, Dr. Millard Rausch argues with a TV reporter about doomsday scenarios]
Francine Parker: It's really all over... isn't it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

George A. Romero appears on screen as a TV Station Director (the bearded man wearing a scarf and a blue shirt) as his name appears, listing him as "Editor", in the on-screen credits beneath him. See more »

Alternate Versions

After the dinner scene where Stephen proposes to Fran and she turns him down, there is a brief montage that ends in a frustrated Stephen and Fran lying naked in bed together. In the U.S. Theatrical version, there is an edited shadow effect covering the bare chest of actress Gaylen Ross. However, in both the extended and European cuts of the film, there is no shadow effect and her breasts are clearly visible. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ninjas vs. Zombies (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gonk
(uncredited)
Composed by Herbert Chappell
Performed by The Noveltones
Trumpet solo Roy Wiegand
Published by De Wolfe Music Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dated quite badly but still an enjoyable movie for gore fans
13 April 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

As the dead continue to rise up and live again as flesh hungry zombies, civilisation begins to crumble as the problem becomes too big to be easily defeated. In Philadelphia a traffic reporter and his girlfriend use the helicopter to take refuge in a mall where they are joined by a couple of SWAT officers. Their first mission is to seal the mall and clear it of the undead. However as they fortify the army of the undead only continues to grow.

Having recently made the rather scary and fast paced remake, I thought I would revisit the original just to see it again. The main thing I prefer about the original is how the gore is served up with a satirical edge that the remake pretty much didn't even bother with. Here, much like Shaun of the Dead, the zombies are just trying to do what they did in life - walk aimlessly around a massive mall, not entirely sure what they're after but doing it none the less. This makes that point reasonably well but I actually preferred it in Shaun (but I know it could be because this is an older film).

The horror of this film comes from the gore as the zombies are far too slow and easily avoided to be really truly scary. Again this may be down to the film's age as jaded audiences will scare a whole lot harder than they did back then simply due to the excesses that have been piled upon us. The gore is still quite hard for me to watch though and there were quite a few moments when I watched through my fingers. The idea is still good and the number of zombies involved (as well as some other aspects) covers from plot problems that arose in the remake.

The cast are all pretty good and it isn't as predictable who will make it and who won't as it is in some other slasher movies where you can spot the fodder miles away. The problem with this film to me is that it has dated badly, the story has been opened out from the Night and has lost tension and atmosphere as a result - with only the bloody red gore to replace it. The scares have been lost with familiarity and the film's comedy just doesn't really work in the context. It's a shame, because I usually don't like remakes but I do have to say that the remake is a lot scarier and Shaun of the Dead is a lot funnier and makes the same sort of comments on society.

Overall this is still a good movie that uses the horror genre to make comments about a commercialist society that is (literally) eating itself with the pursuit of stuff for stuff's sake. Age has not treated it well but it is still worth seeing.


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