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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

 -  Horror  -  24 May 1979 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 73,317 users  
Reviews: 647 user | 189 critic

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

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Title: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Emge ...
...
...
Gaylen Ross ...
David Crawford ...
Dr. Foster
David Early ...
Mr. Berman
Richard France ...
Scientist
Howard Smith ...
TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich ...
Fred Baker ...
Commander
James A. Baffico ...
Wooley (as Jim Baffico)
Rod Stouffer ...
Young Officer on Roof
Jese Del Gre ...
Old Priest
Clayton McKinnon ...
Officer in Project Apt.
John Rice ...
Officer in Project Apt.
Edit

Storyline

In this first sequel of "Night of the Living Dead," four people take up residence in a deserted mall while trying to stay alive amid the armies of the dead and a vicious gang of militant bikers. Written by Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead  »

Box Office

Budget:

$650,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ultimate Final Cut) | (Dario Argento's European Version) | (DVD) | (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

(German prints)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The helicopter used in the film was a Bell Jet Ranger II. The registration number was N90090. See more »

Goofs

When Peter talks to Stephen at one point, his hand blocks his mouth. Moving away for a few seconds, however, it can be seen that Peter's lips do not match the words on the audio track. See more »

Quotes

[about to whack a zombie in the head with a machete]
Blades: Say goodbye, creep!
See more »

Crazy Credits

George A. Romero appears on screen as a TV Station Director (the bearded man wearing a scarf and a blue shirt) as his name appears, listing him as "Editor", in the on-screen credits beneath him. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Won't Back Down (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

We Are The Champions
(Mall Montage Scene) (uncredited)
Composed by Reg Tilsley
Published by De Wolfe Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Sequels AND One of the Best Horror Films Ever
4 November 2001 | by (Boston) – See all my reviews

This review refers to the theatrical cut of the film.

When George A. Romero's no-budget horror movie Night of the Living Dead hit screens in 1968, the same year that had already given audiences the all time genre classic Rosemary's Baby, no one could have predicted the indelible effect it would have on the history of cinema. The film introduced audiences to a degree of graphic violence never before witnessed on American screens. However, it was the film's intense, omnipotent terror that forever scarred a generation of viewers.

Although the film enjoyed unprecedented mainstream success for an independent production, the filmmakers saw little of the movie's earnings. Romero's string of box office disappointments in the years to follow would diminish his clout in Hollywood, and as such he found it was an uphill battle to fund his ambitious sequel to the film. Then along came Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, hot off the heels of such international blockbusters as Deep Red and Suspiria. Argento helped secure funding for the film, in exchange for the rights to personally oversee the international cut of the film.

The collaboration would be a match made in horror movie heaven, for the end product would be Dawn of the Dead, one of the most acclaimed and enduringly popular horror movies of all time.

Dawn of the Dead's plot is so effectively simple, and now thoroughly familiar, that it almost goes without description. While the world approaches a still unexplained and ever growing zombie apocalypse, four individuals-two millitary men, a helicopter pilot, and his TV reporter girlfriend-barricade themselves in an abandoned suburban shopping mall. The mall provides fodder not only for the film's well known social commentary, but also for some truly thrilling-if not terrifying-setpieces.

With its graphic depictions of human evisceration, exploding heads, and gruesome flesh eating, Dawn of the Dead may well be the goriest American film of all time. The film is actually so violent and gruesome that it was released unrated in the United States for fear of being slapped with an X Rating. That didn't stop the film from being a huge hit at home and abroad. The film earned rave reviews from critics (most famously, from Roger Ebert, who called it `one of the best horror movies of all time'). It instantly became recognized not only as a genre classic, but also as one of the sharpest social satires of the decade, with its often hilarious commentary on an ever growing consumer culture embodied by the film's mall location.

Internationally, the film was even bigger. The movie was released in a special 117 minute cut overseas (the US theatrical version was 120 minutes) which was edited by Dario Argento and featured a more prominent presentation of the soundtrack by rock band Goblin as well as a much faster overall pace. Released in most countries as `Zombie: Dawn of the Dead' or `Zombies', it was so big in Italy that the following year Lucio Fulci, previously a director of `giallo' thrillers, helmed a gory semi-sequel. His `Zombie 2', released in the US as `Zombie', would become one of the most popular drive in hits of the 1970s, a massive international success that solidified the zombie/cannibal craze of the early 1980s and sparked Lucio Fulci's own reign as a horror movie icon.

Dawn of the Dead is a truly stunning example of the horror genre's ability to produce works that are as socially relevant as they are terrifying, films which break free of the constraints of conventional horror movie elements and in doing so establish themselves as being truly timeless. While I would still give Night of the Living Dead the slight edge between the two, Dawn of the Dead is still an extraordinary film in its own right as well as an almost superior sequel to another of the scariest movies ever made.




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