Alligator (1980)



No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

When illicit chemicals are dumped into the Los Angeles sewers, a former pet alligator is transformed into an enormous monster. It's up to a dedicated police officer and a beautiful scientist to stop the beast's rampage in this affectionate tribute to the giant monster movie genre.

Rating: R
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: John Sayles
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 18, 2007



as Police Chief Clark

as Kelly

as Col. Brock

as Reporter

as Tycoon

as News Reporter

as News Reporter

as Mad Bomber

as Madeline

as Announcer

as Seedy

as Shamsky

as Meyer

as Sgt. Rice

as Stanley

as Policeman 2

as Gator Vendor 2

as Gator Vendor 4

as Old Lady

as Gatekeeper

as Society Matron

as Chi Chi

as Gator Vendor 2
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Alligator

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Lewis Teague is only too willing to hand over the entire project to Sayles's hunger for allegorical subplots.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Slant Magazine

Pretty good, as far as these gigantic Alligator things go.

February 5, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Audience Reviews for Alligator


Before he launched an art-house directing career, John Sayles wrote a plethora of wiseacre, cunning horror-comedies for Roger Corman such as 'Piranha' and this gruesomely funny gem. Robert Forster is street-wise and unerringly charismatic as the detective who is investigating the string of sewer-based slayings and in a self-deprecating lack of seriousness, Forster's receding hairline is the subject of multifarious jabs. Sayles upends the old adage about flushing an alligator down the toilet and transforms it into a darkly humorous cautionary tale. For the most part, the alligator skulks through the shadows but once it is unveiled, the combination of animatronics and an alligator on a scale model, is an impressive feat. Perhaps the most pungent contribution of Sayles' screenplay is that if one were to extract the alligator scenes entirely, 'Alligator' would still be a exceedingly frolicsome satire of the New York lifestyle (Forster casually disarms a perpetrator with a makeshift "bomb" strapped to his chest as if it is a matter-of-fact occurrence). Teague rachets up the palpable suspense in many of the subterranean scenes (without a musical stinger to accompany it, the alligator can seen in the underground backdrop like a subliminal image). Henry Silva materializes midway through as a big-game hunter and his scenery-chewing hamminess is a joy to behold. Unlike the sublethal piranha, "Ramon" (as he dubbed earlier in the film) constitutes a baleful threat. Of the 'Jaws' imitators in the late 70's and early 80's, 'Alligator' is a wonderfully facetious addition that doesn't skimp on the offbeat humor or referential jokes (graffiti stating that "Harry Lime Lives" is spray-painted on a wall).

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


I love nature gone wild horror flicks. There's a certain appeal to killer animal films that just makes that genre of horror so memorable. Director Lewis Teague has made one of the classic gator flicks, years before films like Rogue and Lake Placid took to the screens. Alligator is fun monster horror flick about a killer alligator that terrorizes a town. This is a very good film that is pretty underrated. If you enjoy good old' fashioned cheesy monster films, then this is the perfect film to watch. As far as killer creature films are concerned, this is the most entertaining since 1976's Grizzly. There's plenty of good gruesome moments in this film to appeal to horror fans. If you love creature features, then check this one out. The cast do a good job and there's plenty of effective suspenseful moments to thrill you. This is a terrific B movie. it's a very enjoying film from start to finish. It's a well written, well directed from Lewis Teague, who also directed Cujo. It's very entertaining, and is a film that should get more exposure. Alligator is underrated and is a must see for fans who enjoy a good killer creature flick. Although nothing original, Alligator is nonetheless a solid entertaining film that delivers a thrilling viewing experience. The film is very tongue in cheek, and I think that's what makes this film so good, add to that an ample body count, and you have a horror film worth watching.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

When it comes to these creature features, they're pretty much a dime a dozen. I found Alligator to be quite special for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was made by competent filmmakers who put their own spin on things without losing sight of the main narrative. Second, Robert Forster, Perry Lang and Henry Silva are in it. The lovely Robin Riker is also in it, and one must experience Michael Vincente Gazzo's performance which is amazingly bad! Third, not only does it reference The Third Man in a very nice way, it's also been referenced and lifted from for everything from movies to video games. There are supposed to be some extended and deleted scenes from a TV version of the movie out there that I would like to have seen included on the side of the disc I watched, but the movie itself is quite entertaining. It's constantly giving us new information without becoming boring, and I like that a lot. It's also nice to see a leading guy who's not all that great. Not that Robert Forster isn't great, but the way he portrays his character makes him seem like a douche bag. It's great that he isn't the usual heroic type, yet still manages to come through in the end.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

Alligator Quotes

– Submitted by Jayne L (2 years ago)

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