Willard 1971

Willard

Critics Consensus

Willard has an intriguing character study lurking within - but much of those elements, like many of the movie's characters, are swallowed up by rats.

57%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

38%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,970

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Movie Info

Nagged by his mother (Elsa Lanchester), bullied by his boss (Ernest Borgnine), a young man (Bruce Davison) trains mansion rats to kill for him.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Willard

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (10)

  • The movie, however, persists in crossing its lines of stimulation, resulting in a series of little short-circuits that effectively limit pleasure to an occasional line or bit of business.

    May 9, 2005 | Full Review…
  • What is it in this film that touches some deep-buried nerve in the public psyche? Why does wholesome family entertainment fade away, while rats make millions?

    October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Mann's shoddy staging, haphazard framing (he seems to be allergic to close-ups) and low-contrast lighting sap the drama and tension from most of the movie. The ending is cool, though.

    September 28, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's brave work, and the role seems tailor-made for the actor, who's enjoyed an entire career playing easily winded jerks, with Willard's descent into authority and panic vividly captured.

    September 28, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's a complex and sympathetic character study and for a few misfits in the audience, it gave us a protagonist we could finally identify with and a film that helped define our later lives.

    September 28, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Willard is a strange affair now, as it isn't really that horrifying and the pay-offs at the end are relatively tame. It struggles in what it is trying to be and indeed.

    October 18, 2017 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Willard

  • Jan 30, 2016
    If you read the rats as a metaphor for a misfit's innermost dark impulses (like Psycho with rodents), then you will find more to enjoy in this trashy, clumsy and poorly-directed movie that can't even make sense of how Willard learns to communicate with his disgusting little friends.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 25, 2013
    Willard is an interesting horror tale about a social misfit who has a hard time and his only friends are rats. This is an eerie little horror yarn that is quite creepy, especially if you hate rats. The performances here are very good, and the lead actor who plays the title character, Bruce Davison is terrific and he gives the character a certain menacing charm that keeps you involved. Daniel Mann's direction is immaculate, and he crafts something unique and quite cheesy at the same name. However it works with effective results. The film has a dark atmosphere that is almost melancholic and helpless, which sets your distractions away from the cheesy notion of attacking rats. Aside from that, there are some impressive names like Ernest Borgnine. Willard is an entertaining picture that is sure to thrill horror fans and it boasts a well plotted story with a great cast and awesome direction. If you love old horror films that are somewhat forgotten, then give Willard a shot. This is a skin crawling affair that will certainly make you feel uncomfortable. This is a highly entertaining film that delivers s the thrills and chills. Willard has its imperfections, but due to a strong cast and well written script, this is a standout horror film that offers up a memorable and tense viewing experience. I really loved the film, and if you want a film that will give you the willies, then Willard is such a film. This is among the finest horror films of the 1970's and it is quite different as well. This is a film that deserves to be rediscovered and it really brings a tense, chilling atmosphere to the viewer. If you hate rats, then this will certainly make you feel uncomfortable from the first frame onwards. However it is a must see for sheer terror and great acting.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    A pretty good cast, but the movie isn't very scary at all, in fact it's kind of funny at times. I liked it anyway.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2009
    For some reason I've always had a thing for Bruce Davison. No idea why. That's probably why I liked this movie years ago. Don't even know if I could sit through it now...I shudder just thinking about all the mice running around everywhere. YIKES!
    Cindy I Super Reviewer

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