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An American Werewolf In London

An American Werewolf In London

4.6 16
Director: John Landis

Cast: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne


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While wandering the English moors on vacation, college yanks David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) happen upon a quaint pub with a mysterious patronage who warn them not to leave the road when walking after dark. Irreverent of such advice as characters in horror films always are, the two decide to find a short cut....David wakes up in the hospital with a


While wandering the English moors on vacation, college yanks David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) happen upon a quaint pub with a mysterious patronage who warn them not to leave the road when walking after dark. Irreverent of such advice as characters in horror films always are, the two decide to find a short cut....David wakes up in the hospital with a nasty bite wound to his shoulder; the freshly deceased, and rapidly decomposing, Jack arrives soon after to deliver the grim news that, unless he commits suicide, David will become a werewolf when the moon is full. David dismisses the encounter as a hallucination, but all indicators point to lycanthrope; evenings of barking and bloodletting follow closely behind. While the story is thin and much of the tongue-in-cheek humor is overdone, there are plenty of genuine jolts thanks to makeup guru Rick Baker's eye-popping special effects. The werewolf, resembling a cross between a bear and a wolverine, appears frighteningly real, and, given the fantastic premise, the gore is most convincing (although surprisingly and refreshingly scant). The hospital dream sequences are creative, and the scenes in which the werewolf runs rampant through downtown London are particularly good. In all, An American Werewolf in London is an original, atmospheric film that manages both to scare and amuse. While dismissed by most American critics upon its release, the film managed to secure a place in the annals of American cinema when Baker won an Academy Award for his amazing effects and creature designs.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Patricia Kim O'Cone
Even as it keeps one paw planted firmly in the horror-comedy tradition of Young Frankenstein, An American Werewolf in London deftly manages to jolt the viewer with scenes of genuine terror -- this feat was unique in 1981, when the film was released, though it eventually became the hot horror trend of the late '90s. The film opens with two college chums, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), embarking on a backpacking trip across Europe. They wind up in a quaint town where the tendency toward tight-lipped English reserve is in stark contrast to the local legend: werewolves that howl and bite. Sure enough, a wolf attacks the boys, and once David is bitten, his lycanthropic destiny begins to get the better of him. Complicating matters is Alex (Jenny Agutter), David's accommodating nurse, who finds David fetching until the unnatural blood lust takes over his body and mind. Director John Landis, fresh off his comedy hits Animal House and The Blues Brothers, goes for slightly more subtle laughs here; employing multiple versions of the haunting "Blue Moon," for instance, most notably in David's first man-wolf transformation. Broader bits, such as Dunne's bone-dry zombie turn, help lay the foundation for the self-referential shockers to come (like the Scream trilogy). Rick Baker earned the first-ever Academy Award for makeup for his remarkable work on An American Werewolf in London; and he teamed up again with Landis in '84 to create monster makeup for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video.
All Movie Guide - Robert Firsching
Because of the admittedly justified attention paid to Rick Baker's amazing werewolf transformation effects, certain other elements of this irreverent, impressively realized horror film have been neglected. John Landis' witty script and careful direction strike just the right balance between nervous laughter and savage gore, and a pair of nightmares near the beginning of the film are among the most canny and effective shock sequences of the '80s. The appealing cast is highlighted by Griffin Dunne, who turns in a sardonically funny performance as an increasingly grotesque decomposing zombie which provides most of the film's considerable dark humor. Landis reverts to his usual car crashes and mayhem in the film's disappointing conclusion, and throws in another "See You Next Wednesday" reference for his fans, but the majority of this film -- though definitely not for the squeamish -- is wonderfully entertaining and highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Naughton David Kessler
Jenny Agutter Alex Price
Griffin Dunne Jack Goodman
John Woodvine Dr. Hirsch
Brian Glover Chess player
David Schofield Darts Player
Lila Kaye Barmaid
Paul Kernber Sgt. McManus
Don McKillop Inspector Villiers
Frank Oz Mr. Collins
Joe Belcher Truck Driver
Rik Mayall Chess Player
Paddy Ryan Werewolf
Albert Moses Hospital Porter
Mark Fisher Max Kessler
Gordon Sterne Mr. Kessler
Paula Jacobs Mrs. Kessler
Sydney Bromley Alf
Frank Singuineau Ted
Michael Carter Gerald Bringsley
Elizabeth Bradley Woman in Zoo
George Hilsdon Newsvendor
Alan Ford Taxi Driver
Linzi Drew Brenda Bristols
Christine Hargreaves Ticket Lady
John Salthouse Bobby at Cinema
Roger Rowland Police

Technical Credits
John Landis Director,Screenwriter
Roy Alon Stunts
Vic Armstrong Stunts
Richard Baker Makeup Special Effects
Ken Barker Stunts
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer
Marc Boyle Stunts
Malcolm Campbell Editor
Clive Curtis Stunts
Peter Diamond Stunts
Leslie Dilley Art Director
Tracey Eddon Stunts
George Folsey Producer
Terry Forrestal Stunts
Romo Gorrara Stunts
Peter Guber Executive Producer
Fred Haggerty Stunts
Frank Henson Stunts
Joyce Herlihy Production Manager
Nick Hobbs Stunts
Billy Horrigan Stunts
Arthur Howell Stunts
Debbie McWilliams Casting
Gareth Milne Stunts
Deborah Nadoolman Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Paynter Cinematographer
Jon Peters Executive Producer
Colin Skeaping Stunts
Tony Smart Stunts
Rocky Taylor Stunts
David Tringham Asst. Director
Terry Walsh Stunts
Paul Weston & His Orchestra Stunts


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An American Werewolf In London 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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The best werewolf movie to date. Sometimes I go straight to the transformation scene because that is my favorite scene! If you're looking for a horror flick, this is for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great special effects and it's not your typical low budget film just like The Howling and their series. I recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a good werewolf movie. It's simply the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of my favorite werewolf movies of all time. The werewolf looked very real and I enjoyed the fact that you couldn't tell the transformations of it were computer generated.This beats The Howling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great! Humor, good effects,great werewolf transformation,foreign people, what else do you need in a werewolf film. You can't go wrong with this horror classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Definitely one of the best werewolf movies ever made, 'American Werewolf in London' is a smashing good time. The transformation scene and the decaying zombie friend are true classics. I also liked the use of Credence Clearwater Revival's 'Bad Moon On The Rise' as part of the soundtrack. Guaranteed to scare you blooming crazy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just to correct a prior review, you couldn't tell the transformations were computer generated because they weren't! This was made in 1980-81 and there were no CGI effects. Everything you see was done with practical make-up and was actually filmed. The scenes are so good that the Academy of Motion Pictures created a category to recognize achievement in special effects, which they awarded to Rick Baker who is the genius behind these effects. Funny and still scary it is an absolute must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director John Landis strays away from the typical straight comedy productions that made him famous to produce a cult classic horror film - The American Werewolf In London. The film is based around two American College friends holidying in England who are attacked by a Werewolf. One dies a savage death, the other (lead actor David Naughton) survives only to have inherited the werewolfs curse and thurst for human blood. Being a huge horror fan i would say that ''Werewolf'' is by far the scariest film i have ever seen. Director Landis delibritly filters the film with scenes of light comedy, but the sheer suspense and gore defietly make this a first class horror flick. The special effects are groundbraking and still look amazing today, there is a great soundtrack to the film as well as very, very errie background music.
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