Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Classics , Cult Movies , Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Universal Pictures

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Richard Carlson
as David Reed
Julie Adams
as Kay Lawrence
Richard Denning
as Mark Williams
Antonio Moreno
as Carl Maia
Whit Bissell
as Edwin Thompson
Ben Chapman
as Gill-Man
Sydney Mason
as Dr. Matos
Ricou Browning
as Gill-Man (in water)
Julio Lopez
as Tomas
Perry Lopez
as Tomas
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

Critic Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (4)

It makes for solid horror-thrill entertainment.

Full Review… | November 15, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Jack Arnold has a flair for this sort of thing, and if there really is anything frightening about a man dressed up in a rubber suit with zippers where the gills ought to be, Arnold comes close to finding it.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This adventure has no depth.

Full Review… | October 30, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The routine story is mightily improved by Arnold's sure sense of atmospheric locations and by the often sympathetic portrait of the monster.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Okay, it's just a guy in a rubber suit. Even people in the 1950's weren't afraid of this so-called monster. But, there's some camp value to this on-the-water and under-the-water adventure.

Full Review… | October 26, 2014
Movie Chambers

When I was a kid, this was the movie monster I wanted to be.

Full Review… | September 18, 2014

Audience Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

great atmosphere and underwater scenes! a monster movie classic

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


The story and characters are rather simplistic but the true reason to see this film is for the legendary "Gill Man". The underwater scenes are beautifully shot, containing a surreal sequence were Gill Man swims beneath an unsuspecting female diver. That scene would later inspire the opening sequence for Steven Spielberg's "Jaws". The music was also awesome, filled to the brim with dramatic orchestral cues. A must see for any fans of the monster movie genre.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

There's a reason why this is one of the most legendary monster films in existence. It doesn't really have that good of a story, or acting, but the underwater photography is very good for the time. But what really sets this film apart is the creature itself. Now, the design hasn't exactly aged well (the suit is obviously made of rubber), but there's something that has aged far more gracefully than the rest of the film: the creature performance. The inherent problem with B-Monster-Movies of the 50s is that the people playing monsters in a suit moved like people just flailing like they had a bulky suit on. The Creature from the Black Lagoon MOVES like a Creature From the Black Lagoon. When Gillman (his official Universal Studios name) swims underwater, he doesn't move like someone awkwardly maneuvering in a rubber suit, he moves like an aquatic creature. The Gillman on land's movements are a bit questionable, but the creature's physical performance is convincing enough that it becomes strangely immersive as an experience. Add in some real suspense at points and you have one pretty dang good monster movie. Check it out.

Jacob Ethington
Jacob Ethington

Super Reviewer

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