Creature from the Black Lagoon


Creature from the Black Lagoon

Critics Consensus

A solid, atmospheric creature feature that entertains without attempting to be deeper than it needs.



Total Count: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 23,549
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Movie Info

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

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Critic Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

  • Sep 12, 2016
    The creature's makeup and design are stunning and look very realistic for the time the movie came out, while the underwater scenes are really awesome and creepy, making for a classic monster movie that aged well enough and can still be fun for modern audiences.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2014
    An Atomic Age Creature feature that smartly forgoes a radioactive beastie for a straight up monster thriller, this Black Lagoon birthed a very worthy final act for Universal Horror. After all, Godzilla already cornered the market on A-Bomb reptiles. Just to prove that the Atomic market was already cornered, Them! featured gi-normous nuclear ants and Tarantula featured...well, you guessed it. Here, instead, filmgoers get thrown back into a well-proven genre, albeit with a highly effective monster and well wrought script. Allusions to the word 'throw back' are not at all mistaken. At this cultural juncture, the mid-'50s, the original Universal horror flicks enjoyed a hugely successful theatrical re-release and television premiere. The Creature from the Black Lagoon may have been Johnny-Come-Lately, but the quality speaks of Johnny-on-the-Spot. In this unrated classic Universal horror flick, a strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle where a group of scientists try to capture it and bring it back to civilization for study. Cutting his teeth t great effect here, director Jack Arnold would go on to helm The Incredible Shrinking Man and the aforementioned Tarantula. He never achieved the same Wow factor as with Creature, however. Harry Essex and Arthur Ross provided a decent script. Granted, The Creature fell into that classic Beauty and the Beast formula made infamous by King Kong. The scares truly chill and thrill, however, heightened by the then-pioneering 3D "gimmick." The true measure remains Black Lagoon's extant ability to frighten audiences without the technology. Thankfully, however, the Blu-Ray edition smartly restores the third dimension. Bottom line: Jurassic Lark
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2012
    It's pretty amusing to see a low-budget monster movie that has influenced so many filmmakers and movies. It's painfully obvious that the creature is just a professional swimmer with a rubber suit on, but that only makes it more fun to watch. The underwater scenes are quite good for a 50's movie and the story is simple enough to just kick back and enjoy without putting too much thought into it, which is nice for a change. Considering the fact that this movie is over 50 years old and it wasn't actually filmed in the Amazon (which is where it takes place) there is undeniably a great sense of atmosphere: it really feels like the actors are on a boat in the middle of an exotic river rather than the United States. Overall, it's worth seeing if you're a fan of newer monster movies such as Cloverfield and Jaws.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 07, 2012
    great atmosphere and underwater scenes! a monster movie classic
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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