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Piranha (1978)

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When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal.



(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
2,720 ( 518)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Paul Grogan
... Maggie McKeown (as Heather Menzies)
... Dr. Robert Hoak
... Jack
... Buck Gardner
... Dr. Mengers
... Betsy
... Laura Dickinson (as Melody Thomas)
... Colonel Waxman
... Trooper
... Mr. Dumont
Shannon Collins ... Suzie Grogan
Shawn Nelson ... Whitney
... Earl Lyon
Janie Squire ... Barbara Randolph


When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They came downriver in their thousands. Their teeth could strip a living man to the bone in seconds. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 August 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piraña  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Universal Studios attempted to sue New World for spoofing Jaws (1975). However, Steven Spielberg saw the movie in advance and loved it. After that, Universal dropped the lawsuit. See more »


The speed boat is racing in the lake at full speed. The shot cuts to the skiers POV looking at the boat and the pull rope is slack and there isn't any tension on the line at all. See more »


Reporter: Terror, horror, death. Film at eleven.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title sinks into the pond water at the start, and turns it blood red. Over the end credits, we hear the sound of piranhas swimming in the ocean. The water turns red as well. See more »


Referenced in 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Piranhas: Great effort from Joe Dante
5 January 2016 | by See all my reviews

I'm a huge fan of Joe Dantes work, even going so far as to buy every movie has directed. There's something about his style, especially the mixture of humor and lighthearted horror elements that always seemed to resonate well with me. Piranhas is a movie I had on my watch-list for quite some time but I was never able to find a copy of it with a good quality. By total accident I found the special edition Blu-Ray Edition of Piranhas. I was exhilarated and bought it immediately.

So, how well does Dantes second feature film hold up after all these years? Surprisingly well! This has all the good stuff in it that you'd expect from a Roger Corman production. Blood, boobs, humor, fake looking special effects, its all there, but its all done with a lot of passion! I watched some bonus material of how the piranhas were made and discovered that Phil Tippet (now an Oscar winner for his work on movies like Star Wars) actually made the pesky little fish rats. I gotta say, after watching the bonus stuff, I had even more respect for the movie, for the sheer fact alone of how much work went into it. No wonder they all involved to Hollywood legends, these people are creative forces!

Now, with all that said, its still amateur film-making. So don't expect next level Kubrick. The acting is at parts really good, especially from Bradford Dillman, and at parts really cringe worthy, just like it should be.

The story is rather simple and I wont bother going into details, its just entertaining schlock with some great moments. I was surprised how serious it actually took itself. There were quiet some funny scenes but for the most part, its actually pretty dark.

All in all, this movie really impressed me. I was entertained for the entirety of the film and there never seemed to be a dull moment. The underwater scenes still look great and the gore effect don't disappoint.

Give it a try!

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