An American Werewolf in London

1981, Horror/Comedy, 1h 37m

63 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Terrifying and funny in almost equal measure, John Landis' horror-comedy crosses genres while introducing Rick Baker's astounding make-up effects. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he's plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.

Cast & Crew

David Naughton
David Kessler
Jenny Agutter
Nurse Alex Price
Griffin Dunne
Jack Goodman
Brian Glover
Chess Player
Paul Kember
Sergeant McManus
Don McKillop
Inspector Villiers
Frank Oz
Mr. Collins, Miss Piggy
Voice
Anne-Marie Davies
Nurse Susan Gallagher
Paula Jacobs
Mrs. Kessler
Gordon Sterne
Mr. Kessler
Mark Fisher
Max Kessler
Michele Brisigotti
Rachel Kessler
Peter Guber
Executive Producer
Jon Peters
Executive Producer
Elmer Bernstein
Original Music
Robert Paynter
Cinematographer
Leslie Dilley
Art Director
Deborah Nadoolman
Costume Design
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News & Interviews for An American Werewolf in London

Critic Reviews for An American Werewolf in London

Audience Reviews for An American Werewolf in London

  • May 02, 2021
    "A naked American man stole my balloons." - Little boy in the zoo. Now this is how you make a horror-comedy, werewolf masterpiece. Everything just clicks -- the horror, comedy, effects, acting, directing, soundtrack, score and more. The music selection, from beginning to end, was just great -- the common thread being they all reference the moon. The scene where David and Jack enter the pub is SO realistic and I speak from experience. I lived in the English Cotswolds for a year, near the area this "moors" scene was set at in the England / Wales area. My wife and I walked into a small village pub when we first arrived -- it had an odd name we can't remember, although not as odd as "The Slaughtered Lamb." It was in a very small village and the looks and attitude we got were EXACTLY like what was represented here (I don't think there was a pentagram on the wall though). The scene where they then wander into the moors was absolutely chilling -- the creature's wail is probably one of the most freaky sounding wolf/werewolf calls I've ever heard. Just listen to this and imagine yourself at night, hiking or camping. If that wouldn't freak the shit out of you, you are not human. While David is in the hospital, he has several dreams, one of which has one of the best dream-within-a-dream sequence that should win the academy award for jump scares. The romance with Nurse Alex is believable as they both are so charismatic, but I'm biased because when seeing this in my teens I think I had a crush at the time on the nurse (Alex) played by Jenny Agutter. The practical effects are spectacular. David screaming in pain and agony as his body transforms are just mind blowing. You literally feel the pain he is going through as everything stretches and grows to the classic song "Blue Moon" by Sam Cooke. I complained in my review for The Howling of the tonal inconsistencies between the horror and the comedy. American Werewolf perfected this by seamless weaving the comedy within horror, either by deftly inserting it where appropriate, or combining them within single scenes in such a way that you get both. The scenes were Jack appears to David in various states of decomposition are horrifying but are also played for comedic effect. It just works . But even with all of the comedy, there are some seriously creepy scenes. The one that always sticks out for me is in the abandoned "tube" or subway/metro system where a single businessman is being stalked by the creature. He collapses on a very tall escalator that slowly goes up and the camera pans above to watch the creature slowly slink over to him (he dies off screen). It ends tragically -- which felt appropriate, esp. if you were invested in the romance of the David and Alex. But it did seem to end too soon. That is my only gripe -- with a run time of 97 minutes it is the rare movie that I would've like to have seen more of.
    Mark B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2012
    I think that "An American Werewolf in London" could have used more of a focus on its storytelling rather than its visual effects, but then again, maybe not. It half-parodies the werewolf films that came before it by following along their narrative arcs, so deviating from the classic formula might have made it less effective. Both its humor and scares are of the mildest kind, and though it's slightly memorable for its groundbreaking makeup and special effects, "An American Werewolf in London" is just pretty average. I think that the ending's abruptness might be its funniest part.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2012
    "An American Werewolf In London" is a blast of hilarity, fun characters, and a legendary wolf transformation that will make you howl! This is not a scary film (although, it does have it's moments), but oh what a blast this film is!
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2012
    This film felt like a mix of many other prior and later films. The concepts and some scenes were similar to those in Fearless Vampire Killers. I actually enjoyed this one though. The scare tactics were much like those in the second poltergeist. And the humor was so similar to a movie I love the original Fright Night. The credits to this film had campy fun music. This was placed right after a sad scene. Without a fade out or anything. Almost as if Landis didn't know what he was doing. But he did, and the credits even added to the tune of the film. I recommend this as a late night comedy, for almost every age group. This is (for a lack of a better word) a fun movie.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer

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