Critics Consensus

David Lynch's surreal Eraserhead uses detailed visuals and a creepy score to create a bizarre and disturbing look into a man's fear of parenthood.



Total Count: 58


Audience Score

User Ratings: 57,373
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Movie Info

This surreal nightmare examines male paranoia. Our hero and title character, Henry, faces a number of horrifying obstacles in meeting someone of the opposite sex, meeting her parents, and procreating. Produced during a one-and-a-half-year period while director David Lynch was a student at the American Film Institute, the film launched him as a major new talent admired by cinephiles and filmmakers all over the world. It stands today as a milestone in personal, independent filmmaking.


Jack Nance
as Henry Spencer
Judith Anna Roberts
as Beautiful Girl Across the Hall
Laurel Near
as Lady in the Radiator
Jack Fisk
as Man In The Planet
Jean Lange
as Grandmother
Neil Moran
as The Boss
Hal Landon Jr.
as Pencil Machine Operator
Brad Keeler
as Little Boy
Peggy Lynch
as Person Digging in the Alley
Doddie Keeler
as Person Digging in the Alley
Gill Dennis
as Man with Cigar
Toby Keeler
as Man Fighting
Raymond J. Walsh
as Mr. Roundheels
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Critic Reviews for Eraserhead

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (6)

  • It's beautiful and strange, with its profoundly disturbing ambient sound design of industrial groaning, as if filmed inside some collapsing factory or gigantic dying organism.

    Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • What makes Eraserhead great -- and still, perhaps the best of all Lynch's films? Intensity. Nightmare clarity. And perhaps also it's the single-mindedness of its vision.

    Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A murkily pretentious shocker.

    Oct 14, 2014 | Full Review…
  • David Lynch's remarkable first film, made in 1976, still looks like a minor masterpiece, mixing Gothic horror, surrealism and darkly expressionist mise-en-scène.

    Sep 12, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • David Lynch's 1977 feature debut Eraserhead is one of those rare films that really deserves its cult status - a nightmarish, heavily symbolic story set in a postapocalyptic future.

    Sep 12, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The mind boggles to learn that Lynch labored on this pic for five years.

    Sep 25, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Eraserhead

  • Feb 21, 2019
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2017
    You have to admire director David Lynch's creativity and for the focus he had in putting his vision on film. In 'Eraserhead', he creates a dehumanizing and nightmarish world, hyperbolically amplifying the awkwardness and isolation many feel in real life. He uses black and white film, light and shadow, long, drawn out takes, and ghoulish, haunting sounds in addition to 'creepy', outrageous moments to play this up. The result is absurdity along the lines of Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis', and if you like Kafka or highly unconventional movies with a dark take on life, you'll probably love this one. For my taste, though, while it held my interest and I appreciated what Lynch was going for, it's just a little too dark.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 03, 2016
    Accurately surmises my feelings on child rearing. Weird for weird's sake doesn't phase me, in fact it's kind of my wheelhouse. What I do have trouble abiding in Eraserhead is how long Lynch will linger on each part of the film. He stays on each frame longer than seems humanly reasonable. It's like a comedian telling a joke that barely hits the first time, then retelling it three or four more times, then starring at his audience with his eyes and mouth open wide in anticipation. We had it the first time, just move on. I understand it's an intentional stylistic choice, but it doesn't mesh with me at all.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2015
    Oh, what an atmosphere!
    Liam G Super Reviewer

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