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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

2:44 | Trailer
When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.


Dan O'Bannon


Rudy Ricci (story), John A. Russo (story) (as John Russo) | 2 more credits »
2,725 ( 1,128)
4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Clu Gulager ... Burt
James Karen ... Frank
Don Calfa ... Ernie
Thom Mathews ... Freddy
Beverly Randolph ... Tina
John Philbin ... Chuck
Jewel Shepard Jewel Shepard ... Casey
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. ... Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
Brian Peck ... Scuz
Linnea Quigley ... Trash
Mark Venturini ... Suicide
Jonathan Terry ... Colonel Glover
Cathleen Cordell ... Colonel's Wife
Drew Deighan ... Paramedic #1
James Dalesandro ... Paramedic #2


When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to re-animate as they go on a rampage through Louisville, Kentucky seeking their favorite food, brains. Written by Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They're Back From The Grave and Ready To Party!


Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Regarding the line where Frank tells Freddy (Thom Mathews) about the skeleton farms in India, O'Bannon recalls working on Alien and having H.R. Giger request fresh skulls to aid his designs. "They were wrapped in plastic just like that, and they were the most beautiful skulls I had ever seen, like works of art, and the teeth were all perfect. I was told they were ordered from India." Tobe Hooper suggested the "skeleton farm" line, and a few months after the film opened O'Bannon read a report that "the government of India had stopped all deportations of skeletons for medical purposes." He's unclear if the timing was coincidental. See more »


(at around 13 mins) When the punks arrive at the Uneeda Warehouse at the beginning, a train can be seen passing behind the wall where the cemetery was supposed to be. See more »


[Frank shows Freddy a military drum with a dead zombie inside]
Freddy: Oh shit, look at that! You say that thing was alive?
Frank: So they say.
Freddy: Oh god. Hey, these things don't leak, do they?
Frank: Leak? Hell no. These things were made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
[Frank slaps the drum and gas starts leaking]
Frank: Oh fuck!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The following phony disclaimer precedes the movie: "The events portrayed in this film are all true. The names are real names of real people and real organizations." See more »

Alternate Versions

German version is edited to remove most blood and gore and the final scene stops before the zombie appears from the grave. See more »


Referenced in Zomboat!: Episode #1.5 (2019) See more »


Nothing for You
Performed by T.S.O.L.
Composed by T.S.O.L.
Produced by Ron Goudie, Chris Gray and T.S.O.L.
See more »

User Reviews

Crackerjack ...
19 September 2003 | by Poe-17See all my reviews

I love this film to living death ... Every actor got the right part, and they all got the part right. High camp, higher parody, positively hilarious scenes so well set up that a mere facial gesture delivers the punchline, sometimes only a few beats of music delivers. In the midst of all this ripping off of Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", it borders on worship of its inspiration. Pathos holds hands with hilarity, genuinely creepy scenes bleed into high gear humor. I haven't found a misstep. There is a high quotient of "Oh s**t" scenes and they all work. The undraped Quigley is neither gratuitous or prurient; just imagine the movie without her character; loses much. This is a delicious, feverish living dead romp that plays out to one crackerjack musical score. Everything meshes, everything works. How do you fault a film that gets it all right? This title will survive a long long time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

MGM | MySpace





Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Living Dead See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,403,169, 18 August 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (workprint)

Sound Mix:



Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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