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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 2

Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 410,277

My Rating

Movie Info

Teenagers in a small town are dropping like flies, apparently in the grip of mass hysteria causing their suicides. A cop's daughter (Heather Langenkamp) traces the cause to child molester Fred Krueger (Robert Englund), who was burned alive by angry parents many years before. Krueger has now come back in the dreams of his killers' children, claiming their lives as his revenge. With a supporting cast that includes horror veterans like John Saxon and Ronee Blakley, director Wes Craven creates


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Wes Craven

Aug 21, 2001

New Line Cinema - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (2) | DVD (31)

A highly imaginative horror film that provides the requisite shocks to keep fans of the genre happy.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Craven vitalizes the nightmare sequences with assorted surrealist novelties.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's all good scary fun.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Nightmare on Elm Street... puts more emphasis on bizarre special effects, which aren't at all bad.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Still stands on its own as an intriguing and chilling example of how horror works best when the characters and the audience don't have to be lobotomized.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A smart, streamlined slasher with plenty under the bonnet.

October 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

A top-flight terror classic that spawned seven sequels and a TV series.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Craven knows which big, red Freudian buttons to push, turning Freddy into a true monster from the Id.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

First feature for knife-handed horror idol Freddy.

December 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

...a low-key horror effort that's ultimately not quite as enthralling as its premise might've indicated...

October 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

An imaginative, menacing, and scary film with top notch performances, an original premise, and horrifying villain...

October 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Comment (1)
Cinema Crazed

Seeing the movie again, I was reminded that while the Krueger character did have some taunting, humorous dialogue, it was more eerie than funny. Krueger was truly a menacing, terrifying boogeyman in the beginning.

May 4, 2010 Full Review Source:

... ingenious exploitation that plays on primal fears and subconscious anxieties...

April 18, 2010 Full Review Source:

...decidedly anti-art - at one point, a teen dozes off while reading Shakespeare - yet it still manages to rank among the top horror movies of all time.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

A fantastic horror film that still holds up resoundingly well today.

April 14, 2010 Full Review Source: FEARnet

What the film did more than anything else was create a new horror star.

April 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The Sandman of Reagan's dozy suburbia

November 9, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comments (3)

Terrifically spooky and original, the film continues to feel completely modern despite being almost a quarter-century old.

October 9, 2008 Full Review Source: of the great horror efforts and a worthy successor to the classic monsters of yesteryear.

September 16, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter

My favourite horror movie.

February 4, 2008 | Comments (4)

An inventive and terrifying horror film that explores the inner psyche and its ability to turn nightmares into reality.

November 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

One of the most intelligent and terrifying horror films of the 1980s.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

What makes Freddy truly terrifying, and an inspired invention on Craven's part, is that he exists not in the real world but in the shadowy realm of dreams.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

It succeeds by preying on archetypal fears and imagery - the myth of the bogeyman, the power of the unconscious conjuring up the worst horrors imaginable.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for A Nightmare on Elm Street

Really like this one - classic 80's horror. Acting is a bit hammy, but it works. Nancy is a likeable lead and Freddie Krueger is just horrible and still quite scary even now.
Just bought the box set of 6 movies, so will be working my way through them this long weekend. (Happier about this than I probably should be!).
December 28, 2012

Super Reviewer

Rarely ever do I so haplessly fall victim to a horror movie. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a truly terrifying experience. The presentation of fright works in a fantastical atmosphere, but as the plot presents a dynamically convincing tie between dreams and conscious happenings, there is a realistically ominous, densely macabre sensation of terror escalating by each passing second. This is the tale of a group of teenagers, haunted by the same nightmare in which a deformed child killer (Robert Englund) in a hat, a striped shirt, and knives for fingernails, is stalking them. Upon waking up, they discover that whatever has happened to them in the dream (i.e. scars, contusions, burns, etc.) is real. Yet outside the dreams, the man himself is only the hidden spirit of a child killer named Freddy Krueger. He is using dreams as his "afterlife" to grotesquely murder the sons and daughters of the lynch mob that killed him.
November 10, 2012

Super Reviewer

Nancy: Whatever you do don't fall asleep. 

"If Nancy Doesn't Wake Up Screaming She Won't Wake Up At All..."

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror classic and deserves every bit of praise it has gotten. This is one of Wes Craven's best movies, probably only behind Scream. An iconic villain is created here in Freddy Krueger, and is effect would be felt through countless sequels and even a remake. None of the sequels or the remake can touch this one though. It's a great mixture of gore and atmosphere. There's always that ominous feeling in the air.

A former child murderer comes back to life and kills by taking kids when they are asleep. As kids continue to die, Nancy must find a way to bring an end to it all. The story is one that was pretty groundbreaking for the time and also extremely smart. This is a story that can truly keep people up at night, because if you fall asleep; Freddy might get you.

Wes Craven has always been hit or miss for me, but this one lands squarely in the hit section. The atmosphere he creates is absorbing to say the least. There's also always a cool appeal to the film. It's just one of those classic horror movies that I can watch many, many times; like Halloween or Scream. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street is required viewing for the horror fanatic in us all. It spins a web of crazy dream sequences, blood, and intelligence. It isn't the same old, same old slasher, but one with something to spice up the normal formula. Some scenes are among some of the coolest the genre has ever seen, and there's something about Freddy that makes him more than the average villain. It's almost as if, he were truly alive.
October 31, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer


Wes Craven's benchmark creature of terror: Freddy Kreuger. Combined with the brilliantly intelligent premise has strongly helped make this deservedly remain one of the greatest suspense horror's of all time. It's an incredibly smart slasher movie that never loses it's ability to bring forth a unique enigmatic and eery sense of isolation among it's victims. The victims? Us.
April 8, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Freddy Krueger: Why are you screaming? I haven't even caught you yet.
    – Submitted by Erica L (10 months ago)
    1. Nancy Thompson: One two... Freddy's coming for you... 3, 4 better lock your door..5, 6 grab a crucifix... 7, 8, gonna stay up late, 9, 10, never sleep again!
    – Submitted by Facebook U (15 months ago)
    1. Nancy Thompson: Wathever you do... DON'T... FALL... ASLEEP...
    – Submitted by André A (16 months ago)
    1. Tina Gray: Oh, God...
    2. Freddy Krueger: This.. is God.
    – Submitted by Jimmy G (17 months ago)
    1. Nancy Thompson: It's only a dream!
    2. Freddy Krueger: Come to Freddy.
    3. Nancy Thompson: GOD DAMN YOU!
    – Submitted by Nathan B (20 months ago)
    1. Freddy Krueger: I'm your boyfriend now Nancy.
    – Submitted by Jack P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (73)

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Foreign Titles

  • Nightmare - Mörderische Träume (DE)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (UK)
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