6.3/10
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97 user 96 critic

Wolfen (1981)

A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.

Director:

Michael Wadleigh

Writers:

Whitley Strieber (based on the novel by), David Eyre (screen story) | 3 more credits »

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Finney ... Dewey Wilson
Diane Venora ... Rebecca Neff
Edward James Olmos ... Eddie Holt
Gregory Hines ... Whittington
Tom Noonan ... Ferguson
Dick O'Neill ... Warren
Dehl Berti Dehl Berti ... Old Indian
Peter Michael Goetz ... Ross
Sam Gray Sam Gray ... Mayor
Ralph Bell Ralph Bell ... Commissioner
Max M. Brown Max M. Brown ... Christopher van der Veer
Anne Marie Pohtamo ... Pauline van der Veer
Sarah Felder Sarah Felder ... Cicely Rensselaer
Reginald VelJohnson ... Morgue Attendant (as Reginald Vel Johnson)
James Tolkan ... Baldy
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Storyline

A city cop is assigned to solve a bizarre set of violent murders where it appears that the victoms were killed by animals. In his pursuit he learns of an Indian legend about wolf spirits. Written by K. Rose <rcs@texas.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their hunting ground - New York City. Their prey - the people. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A farkas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,037,911, 26 July 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,626,725
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (MegaSound encoding) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Trade Paper 'Variety' reported that the film "...was reportedly recut several times (four editors are credited)". See more »

Goofs

When the doctor is riding his motorbike through the tunnel and spots the wolf, he is mouthing "Help me," repeatedly, but we don't hear his voice. At the end, he says, "Oh my god," but is still mouthing, "Help me." See more »

Quotes

[Eddie and Dewey are up on the top of a bridgeworks]
Eddie Holt: Shape shifting. We do it for kicks. Turn yourself into a different animal. One night a deer, next night a salmon...
Dewey Wilson: Or a wolf?
Eddie Holt: Sure.
[Eddie unhooks Dewey's safety line]
Eddie Holt: Or an eagle.
[Dewey looks down, a long way... ]
Eddie Holt: C'mon Dewey, just flap your arms and jump, its easy. It's all in the head.
Dewey Wilson: That would be murder. You wouldn't kill anyone else, would you?
Eddie Holt: That's what they pay you to find out...
See more »

Alternate Versions

A cameo (about 15 seconds) by Tom Waits as a bar owner playing the piano and singing his song "Jitterbug Boy" was included in theatrical prints and early TV versions, but had to be removed from the film for video and DVD releases due to copyright reasons. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Flying Doctors: Sins of the Father (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Jitterbug Boy
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A New York Cop submerges himself in the mythology of the werewolf to hunt a serial killer
6 April 2012 | by DanLives1980See all my reviews

Here's one you'll rarely see the likes of ever again, an urban horror story based on Native American mythology that sends us a message about mankind's selfish destruction of nature. Sounds boring doesn't it? It's not. In fact it's actually a very thoughtful, suspenseful and instinctive horror film based around a moral rather than trying to force feed you someone else's ideals.

Wolfen sets about with the murder of a very wealthy architect businessman and his girlfriend in a New York City park. From what we gather, this is no human but some sort of creature with very sharp teeth or claws.

Enter lonely, weary and tragic detective Dewey Wilson, portrayed by brilliant Irish actor Albert Finney. He's assigned to the more gruesome cases and his closest friend and the closest thing to a partner he has is criminal pathologist Whittington, played by the late charmer Gregory Hines.

Together they stumble upon several leads that begin to pose the question whether what is stalking the streets is a man who thinks he's a werewolf or something unquestionably supernatural, as the Native American Indians working on the skyscrapers want to have Wilson believe.

There are a number of factors that work in Wolfen's favour and as I always pointed out, one large factor is that this film's visual effects were stolen some six years later by a certain director by the name of John McTiernan. That film, where we saw from the killer's eyes as he stalked his prey was none other than Predator.

This is a serial killer crime thriller with a huge twist and part of that twist is that the film is so well made that no matter how far fetched it may seem, you truly understand it and enjoy it.

The old decayed and abandoned New York is the majority setting for Wolfen, which suits its style to the ground and provides some chilling moments, especially as Albert Finney portrays one of the most unhealthy and out of shape detectives ever devoted to lead character. It's refreshing to see an older film like this where talent overrides appearance.

James Horner (Aliens, Enemy At The Gates, Troy) provides the chilling old-school orchestral soundtrack, which really sets the scenes on edge and the dialogue is all original, making the characters all very believable and down to earth.

I can't compare this film to any other but I highly recommend it!


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