Straw Dogs

1971

Straw Dogs

Critics Consensus

A violent, provocative meditation on manhood with some of the most controversial scenes ever shot for a mainstream movie.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,965
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Straw Dogs Photos

Movie Info

Sam Peckinpah examines the instinctual capacity for violence in his controversial 1971 film, loosely based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. To avoid the Vietnam-era social chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his British wife, Amy (Susan George), to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up, but their presence provokes antagonism among the village's men. As the hostilities escalate from routine bullying to the gang rape of his wife, David finds his pacifistic self backed into a corner. When the hooligans attack his house, David finally resorts to the gruesome violence that he abhors. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Cast

T.P. McKenna
as Maj. Scott
Del Henney
as Charlie Venner
Peter Vaughan
as Tom Hedden
Colin Welland
as Rev. hood
Jim Norton
as Cawsey
David Warner
as Henry Niles
Len Jones
as Bobby Hedden
Michael Mundell
as Bertie Hedden
Peter Arne
as John Niles
Robert Keegan
as Harry Ware
June Brown
as Mrs. Hedden
Chloe Franks
as Emma Hedden
Cherina Mann
as Mrs. Hood
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Critic Reviews for Straw Dogs

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6)

  • [T]hough doubtlessly reactionary, Straw Dogs has the heat of personal commitment and the authority of deep (if bitter) contemplation.

    Jan 9, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The script... relies on shock and violence to tide it over weakness in development, shallow characterization and lack of motivation.

    Jul 16, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The most offensive thing about the movie is its hypocrisy; it is totally committed to the pornography of violence, but lays on the moral outrage with a shovel.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Upon first viewing, it seems like a straightforward film, but the more one watches it, the more tension one sees in the relationship between the couple.

    Aug 5, 2003
  • Mr. Peckinpah has made some good films (Ride the High Country) and a couple of great films (The Wild Bunch, The Ballad of Cable Hogue) -- which may be why Straw Dogs is a special disappointment.

    May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
  • Eyes Wide Shut -- and the cooked-up debates surrounding it -- are only about sex in the head. Peckinpah gives you sex as a kick in the groin, a jolt to the brain and a shot to the heart.

    Dec 19, 2001

Audience Reviews for Straw Dogs

  • Jul 01, 2018
    "Who cares if you're an intellectual," Peckinpah seems to inquire, and indeed his hero, played by Dustin Hoffman, is a math scholar and bores anyone when he talks about his work, his passion, and eyes glass over - even his wife's (Susan George). The workman in the small English village they've moved to disrespect him, milking the labor, laughing at him to his face, and eyeing his wife lecherously. "What is it that makes a man a man in a world that only respects violence?" One of the best films ever made if you ask me, looks at some answers.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2014
    Straw Dogs has an eerie feel from the start, intellect American, David (Dustin Hoffman) movies into a villager with his maturely younger S.O., Amy (Susan George). It's obvious in this film that **** is going to go down, you can figure from every poster... or if you just heard of the movie from someone, so perhaps it was premeditated that I'd feel some intensity, but the film itself definitely creates an uptight atmosphere. David and Amy have their differences, David's more mature but Amy has more smarts when it comes to the locals. They have some tense trivial arguments, but sexually they're happy. The surrounding characters are not so pleasant, except for some elitists everyone surrounding is trash, or soon to be trash. British hicks who have no entertainment outside of drinking or fantasizing over David's bombshell wife. Trouble comes towards David's household, and trouble comes hard. It begins with some animal cruelty which always hits the emotions, and then a harsh rape scene. Difficult to watch, and feels comparable to the one in Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The irony is, David came to this village to escape the chaos of America, with the war protests, race riots, notable assassinations really concentrated only three years before this films release date. The notorious final sequence features insane violence, built up by a harrowing intensity. The plot line behind this was much more intricate than I expected, since this was no pointless violence. The film obviously doesn't endorse violence, but Peckinpah was not pulling a Haneke stunt, because I was hot headed and yelling for David to kill the bastards. David became a man and defended his household, and I'll applaud that. David also became a badass, not a super hero but that Bernhard Goetz type badass. Rooting for David was an exhilarating film watching experience, but also harsh since a true moral dilemma exists. Straw Dogs is among the most intense films I've ever seen, which gets crazier and crazier as it goes along. With an amazing performance from one of the greats in Dustin Hoffman. Isolation is scary, but being alone is far from the scariest.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2013
    Straw Dogs is a unique feat in the cinematic medium. This is a highly engaging picture with a talented cast and immaculate directing. Straw Dogs is a relentless violent picture that tells the story of a couple who move out to the countryside and they get terrorized by the locals of a nearby village. The plot is very well layered and structured and for me is one of the standout performances of actor Dustin Hoffman along with his role in Rainman. This is a must see film for film fans and it will keep you hooked right up till the last blistering frame. Now this isn't a horror film, but the events that transpire within the movie are quite terrifying in retrospect and it serves as a powerful and disturbing psychological thriller with slight horror overtones. The aspect of home invasion is always something to fear and is pretty scary. Even if this isn't a straight forward horror yarn, fans of the genre should seek this one out just the same. I very much loved the film, and I think that anyone looking for something truly riveting will surely love this. Be warned, this is a picture that is very violent, but it shouldn't turn you off it either. Sam Peckinpah crafts a stunning piece of cinema that you shouldn't pass up. Straw Dogs is a near flawless picture that is a definite classic. The portrait of its violence is raw and gritty and unflinching. This is what keeps you on the edge and involved from the get go. If you love Dustin Hoffman films, don't miss up on this one. The film blends all sorts of elements to make a picture that stands out above all the rest that comes in this style of storytelling.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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