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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director:

John Landis

Writer:

John Landis
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Popularity
1,422 ( 784)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Belcher ... Truck Driver
David Naughton ... David Kessler
Griffin Dunne ... Jack Goodman
David Schofield ... Dart Player
Brian Glover ... Chess Player
Lila Kaye ... Barmaid
Rik Mayall ... 2nd Chess Player
Sean Baker Sean Baker ... 2nd Dart Player
Paddy Ryan Paddy Ryan ... First Werewolf
Jenny Agutter ... Nurse Alex Price
Anne-Marie Davies Anne-Marie Davies ... Nurse Susan Gallagher
John Woodvine ... Dr. J. S. Hirsch
Frank Oz ... Mr. Collins / Miss Piggy
Don McKillop Don McKillop ... Inspector Villiers
Paul Kember Paul Kember ... Sergeant McManus
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Storyline

Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Twenty years later, the Moon rises again... [20th anniversary re-issue] See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En amerikansk varulv i London See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,786,512, 23 August 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$30,565,292

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,565,292
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS (re-release)| Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Michael Jackson was so bowled over by this movie, most especially by the the make-up and visual effects, he insisted on hiring the responsible personnel for his planned music video Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983). When John Landis agreed to direct (his first music video), he brought on board his foremost "werewolf" crew, including Robert Paynter (Cjinematography), Elmer Bernstein ("creepy" music), Rick Baker (Special Make-up Effects), and his wife Deborah Nadoolman (Costume Design). See more »

Goofs

When they leave the truck with the sheep, the farmer has to unbolt two bolts. When he closes it he only uses one. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Truck Driver: That way is Proctor, and over here is the moors. I go this way.
Jack: Thanks for the ride, sir. You have lovely sheep.
Truck Driver: Boys, keep off the moors, stick to the roads. The best to ya...
David: Thanks again.
[then to the sheep]
David: We'll miss you.
David: Bye girls...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Lyncanthrope Films Limited wishes to extend its heartfelt congratulations to Lady Diana Spencer and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales on the occasion of their marriage - July 29th 1981. See more »

Alternate Versions

For it's 21st anniversary in Australia, the film was released in its uncut form which was the same as the R rated U.S. version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Moon
Music by Richard Rodgers (uncredited)
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart (uncredited)
Performed by Sam Cooke
Courtesy of R.C.A. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Our Dual Natures Served Up Hollywood Style
26 September 2005 | by jstock426See all my reviews

John Landis reveals a philosophical take on mankind in this film, namely, that we have two natures: one benign, one monstrous. The werewolf legend handily serves as that proposition's allegorical vehicle, and compared to the alluded-to Nazi atrocities in two scenes, the legend actually pales. Sadly, under the dark impetus of our arrogance and vanity, our metaphorical "full moon", man is perfectly capable of transforming into nightmarish beast.

As a director, Landis approaches Hitchcock in terms of scene economy and symbolism. For example, the opening sequence set on the moors of northern England features the tragic hero David and his friend Jack climbing out of the bed of a truck laden with sheep - benign animals destined for slaughter. Biped "sheep" David and Jack meander to "The Slaughtered Lamb", a pub sheltering cowering, xenophobic locals from the monster afoot on the moors during full moon. Soon the inhospitality of the town folk compels the two lambs to leave - virtually sending them to their slaughter.

And so it goes throughout this brilliant film. Without revealing the ending, it can be stated that Landis makes his case against the idea that love conquers all; instead, he suggests that love only gives the beast within us pause.

Beware the moon.


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