A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.


Wes Craven
535 ( 51)
11 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Drew Barrymore ... Casey
Roger Jackson ... Phone Voice (voice)
Kevin Patrick Walls Kevin Patrick Walls ... Steve
David Booth ... Casey's Father
Carla Hatley Carla Hatley ... Casey's Mother
Neve Campbell ... Sidney
Skeet Ulrich ... Billy
Lawrence Hecht Lawrence Hecht ... Mr. Prescott
Courteney Cox ... Gale Weathers
W. Earl Brown ... Kenny
Rose McGowan ... Tatum
Lois Saunders Lois Saunders ... Mrs. Tate
David Arquette ... Deputy Dewey
Joseph Whipp ... Sheriff Burke
Matthew Lillard ... Stuart

Who Almost Starred in 'Scream'?

Can you picture Molly Ringwald as Sidney Prescott? Or Ben Affleck as Billy Loomis? We go through all the young Hollywood stars who were almost cast in this horror classic.

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A year after her mother's death, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends started experiencing some strange phone calls. They later learned the calls were coming from a crazed serial killer, in a white faced mask and a large black robe, looking for revenge. His phone calls usually consist of many questions, the main one being: What's your favorite scary movie? Along with much scary movie trivia, ending with bloody pieces of innocent lives scattered around the small town of Woodsboro. Written by Joss Oran

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Name The Killer! December 20th. See more »


Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Despite competition from other box-office fare such as Jerry Maguire (1996) and Mars Attacks! (1996) (which flopped), its release during the Christmas season, and Variety labelling it "D.O.A." before it was even released, it became the fifteenth highest-grossing film of 1996, well placed amongst big-budget blockbusters released that year such as Independence Day (1996) and Mission: Impossible (1996). It was shown in theaters for nearly eight months after its release. See more »


Reflection in window of the opening sequence. See more »


[first lines]
Casey: Hello?
Phone Voice: Hello.
Casey: Yes?
Phone Voice: Who is this?
Casey: Who are you trying to reach?
Phone Voice: What number is this?
Casey: Well, what number are you trying to reach?
Phone Voice: I don't know.
Casey: I think you have the wrong number.
See more »

Crazy Credits

No thanks whatsoever to the Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board. See more »

Alternate Versions

What's called "Director's Cut" in Germany is the normal R-rated version, not the real "Director's Cut". The real "Director's Cut" was released on DVD in 2005 by Kinowelt Home Entertainment. See more »


Referenced in Cartoon Monsoon: Oh, Shoot!: Director's Cut (2003) See more »


Don't Fear The Reaper
Performed by Gus Black (as Gus)
Written by Donald Roeser
Courtesy of Sony/ATV Tunes LLC
See more »

User Reviews

What is your favourite scary movie?
1 July 2011 | by freemantle_ukSee all my reviews

By the 1990s the Slasher genre was becoming stale, filled with clichés, countless sequels and very predictable and uninventive. Likely two men was able to play on this, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven was able to play on this and made a really excellent take on Slashers.

In the small town of Woodsboro two teenagers (Drew Barrymore and Kevin Patrick Walls) are shockingly murdered, a year after a woman was raped and murdered in the town centre. Very quickly the town is thrown into turmoil, with the media reporting on it, but the teens do not seem to be worried. The killer, known as Ghost-face soon targets another Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the daughter of a victim, who luckily escapes. But Ghost-face is going to rest and goes on a mission to take down Sidney and anyone who stands in his way.

Scream works because it is set in a world where horror movies do exist and teenagers know clichés. It is a self-aware horror film and has a lot of references to classic horror films like Halloween. Scream is forced to be inventive and Craven who is a master of the horror genre, so knew what he was doing with this film.

Even if Scream was not made with a post-modern, self-aware horror with a comic edge, it still would have been an excellent horror film and one of the best slashers around. Craven and Williamson made sure their characters were fully developed, likable or at least normal. Sidney is a character with a lot of a baggage because of her mother's death and afraid to get close to people. She is a likable because is a friendly, smart, decent girl who is also tough. Sidney's friend Tatum (Rose McGowan) was tough no-nonsense girl who could have easily been the clichéd slut role, but that was avoided because she was a good friend and competent. Courteney Cox plays a unpleasant journalist who cares more ratings and book sales more then safety of people and emotional harm. She is not a journalist who is looking to report the truth or for the public interest. But she does come good at the end. The characters of Randy (Jamie Kennedy) and Stuart (Matthew Lillard) offer a lot of comic relief particular because of their knowledge of horror films. And David Arquettte is solid as a competent police officer who has a typical brother-sister relationship with Tatum.

Cavern made sure Scream was exciting with a lot of action, violence and creative deaths. I particular like his technique of using the camera to follow the victims and move it around the house, adding excitement and intrigue. He knows how to build suspects and he does keep you guessing. I don't get scared watching horror films but you do care for Sidney and the idea of being home alone at night can make you more tense.

I do have a criticism. They does not seem to be much of a reaction at the school hearing about two of their peers being brutally murdered. Most people seem to be very causal about it and saw it as something fun, not worried about a serial killer being on the loose or just saw it as an excuse for a party. Come on, if they was a murder in a small town there would be more sadden, grief and worry. Personally I would have focused on this collective reaction, but I am a more serious person and possibly would have a thriller/a social piece.

Overall, Scream is certainly a worthy horror film, no manner what generation of horror fan you are.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

20 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Scary Movie See more »


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,354,586, 22 December 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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