Dawn of the Dead (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dawn of the Dead (1979)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: One of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever, Dawn of the Dead perfectly blends pure horror and gore with social commentary on material society.

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Movie Info

Viewers who haven't seen George Romero's low-budget horror masterpiece Night of the Living Dead, might be at a loss during the first sequences of Dawn of the Dead. The opening scenes rely so much on familiarity with the earlier film that it might cause resentment among the uninitiated. But once the story gets started, plot and exposition matter not a whit. Dawn is set in a deserted shopping mall, where the ever-increasing zombie contingent from the first film have set up a sort of Condominium for the Condemned. From this vantage point, the flesh-eating creatures plan to overtake the entire country. There's a lot of allegory and hidden meaning around, but Tom Savini's excellent (and unremittingly gruesome) special effects take center stage throughout. Dawn of the Dead is not recommended for those who have trouble keeping their popcorn down.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
United Film Distribution Compa

Cast

David Emge
as Stephen Andrews
Ken Foree
as Peter Washington
Scott Reiniger
as Roger DeMarco
Gaylen Ross
as Francine Parker
Tom Savini
as Blades
David Crawford
as Dr. Foster
David L. Early
as Mr. Berman
Richard France
as Scientist
Pan Chatfield
as Lead Zombie
Howard Smith
as TV Commentator
Jim Christopher
as Lead Zombie
Fred Baker
as Commander
Jim Baffico
as Wooley
David Earle
as Mr. Berman
Howard K. Smith
as TV Commentator
Rod Stouffer
as Young Officer on Roof
Jese del Gre
as Old Priest
Clayton McKinnon
as Project Apartment Officer
John Rice
as Project Apartment Officer
Ted Bank
as Police Dock Officer
Randy Kovitz
as Police Dock Officer
Patrick McCloskey
as Police Dock Officer
Joseph Pilato
as Police Dock Officer
Pasquale A. Buba
as Motorcycle Raider
Christine Forrest
as TV Producer (uncredited)
Tony Buba
as Motorcycle Raider
John Harrison
as Screwdriver Zombie
Marty Schiff
as Motorcycle Raider
Butchie
as Motorcycle Raider
George A. Romero
as TV Director
Joe Shelby
as Motorcycle Raider
Dave Hawkins
as Motorcycle Raider
Tom Kapusta
as Motorcycle Raider
Nick Tallo
as Motorcycle Raider
Rudy Ricci
as Motorcycle Raider
Taso N. Stavrakis
as Motorcycle Raider
Larry Vaira
as Motorcycle Raider
Sharon Ceccatti
as Lead Zombie
Pam Chatfield
as Lead Zombie
Bill Christopher
as Lead Zombie
Clayton Hill
as Lead Zombie
Jay Stover
as Lead Zombie
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News & Interviews for Dawn of the Dead

Critic Reviews for Dawn of the Dead

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (6)

Romero's script is banal when not incoherent.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Romero's sensibility approaches the Swiftian in its wit, accuracy, excess, and profound misanthropy.

Full Review… | March 29, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Between atrocities the movie has its funny moments and funny lines. It's just difficult to relish the humor when you're dripping in so much gore.

Full Review… | February 21, 2007
Washington Post
Top Critic

Undoubtedly the zombie movie to end 'em all.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Dawn of the Dead is one of the best horror films ever made -- and, as an inescapable result, one of the most horrifying. It is gruesome, sickening, disgusting, violent, brutal and appalling.

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

Perhaps horror-movie buffs will consider this an improvement.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dawn of the Dead

In this excellent sequel, Romero replaces the ghastly, oppressive black and white of the original film with some very entertaining and gruesome gore in color full of humor and clever social satire. A classic zombie horror film that stands out as an intelligent allegory.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

George A. Romero's sequel to the game changing mega-hit "Night of the Living Dead," this film has the same political undertones, and also subtle ruminations in consumer culture. Unlike the original, this film only deals with the exploits of four people, who trap themselves inside a mall and live off its resources. The original was much more about the epidemic, and the terror of ghouls rampaging through the wilderness. The urban setting shows the vacancy of man-made structures without human residency, and the ease with which we as Americans consume and find pleasure in spaces such as malls. Our heroes fall back into lives of luxury and convenience, though they are faced with horrors, because they are programmed to do so, as are the zombies who return to the mall based on their baser instincts. Riveting to watch because of how massive and impressive the film is, but also for the creativity of the story, "Dawn of the Dead" is a classic zombie film that tells a very human story.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Some say this is Romero's best work. Me, well, I'm undecided. This is an excellent film though, and not just in horror circles. You can never go wrong with intelligent social commentary and satire, especially when mixed with great (albeit somewhat dated) gore effects. Despite coming out a decade after Night of the Living Dead, this sequel treats things as if only a few days or so have passed. In that time, the zombie outbreak has become incredibly widespread. A group of survivors (a diverse lot professionally, racially, and genderwise) take refuge in a shopping mall where they barricade themselves in and kick all zombies (and others) out. This is where the film gets interesting. The mall is a larger setting than the previous film's farmhouse, but is still a great place full of all sorts of possibilities and claustrophobia. What I find really interesting is how this film is a satire/social commentary railing against malls, consumerism, and greed, and came out at a time when shopping malls were really new to the world. I love that this films is a brilliant blend of humor, satire, gore, and zombies. Humor is not the focus, but the levity is a necessary element that provides a unique spin on the zombie apocalypse stuff. I can't really think of anything this film gets wrong. The direction, performances, makeup/sfx, music, and camerawork are all terrific. I did say that the effects are dated, but in a way, their garishness actually adds to the atmosphere and enhances the mood, satire, and 70s decor. This is an essential film in multiple categories, so don't hesitate to check it out.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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