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Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  24 May 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 85,574 users  
Reviews: 666 user | 209 critic

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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Emge ...
Gaylen Ross ...
David Crawford ...
Dr. Foster
David Early ...
Mr. Berman
Richard France ...
Howard Smith ...
TV Commentator
Daniel Dietrich ...
Fred Baker ...
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.


Following the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the exploits of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse as they take refuge in an abandoned shopping mall following a horrific SWAT evacuation of an apartment complex. Taking stock of their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and destroy the zombies inside so they can eke out a living--at least for a while. Tensions begin to build as months go on, and they come to realize that they've fallen prey to consumerism. Soon afterward, they have even heavier problems to worry about, as a large gang of bikers discovers the mall and invades it, ruining the survivors' best-laid plans and forcing them to fight off both lethal bandits and flesh-eating zombies. Written by Curly Q. Link

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 May 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead  »

Box Office


$650,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

(German prints)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many of the extras cast in the film (especially the zombies in close-up shots) were friends and relatives of the production crew. See more »


In the TV studio, when Stephen (David Emge) informs Fran (Gaylen Ross) that they're going to flee via helicopter, Ross accidentally refers to Emge as "David" rather than "Stephen." By the time the goof was realized, Ross was in Europe and unable to loop the line of dialog. See more »


[looking in a Civil Defense carton]
Francine Parker: Spam!
Roger: You bring a can opener?
Francine Parker: No, I guess I didn't
Roger: Then don't knock it, it's got it's own key.
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 »


Referenced in Rise of the Undead (2005) See more »


Desert De Glace
Composed by Pierre Arvay
Published by De Wolfe Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Here's ONE zombie movie that buries all the others!
27 September 2006 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

There's not much use denying it… George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" is one of the chosen few, absolute greatest horror films ever made and it's fairly unimaginable that a powerful movie like this will ever come out again. Even more than its 1968 predecessor, the landmark known as "Night of the Living Dead", this film contains literally everything to satisfy even the most demanding fan of horror cinema. Some films attempt to reach a maximum level of high tension throughout; some have eminent directors and/or a professional cast; some horrors will distinguish themselves from the rest by providing a lot of gore & gruesome make-up effects and others completely rely on uniquely atmospheric set pieces and filming locations. "Dawn of the Dead" consists of ALL these trademarks and yet a whole lot more! This film more or less begins where "Night" ended, with an alarming increase of zombies that feast their way through America. The opening sequences masterfully capture the growing sense of mass hysteria and disbelief in a TV-studio, where a 'scientist' warns the population not to regard these walking corpses as former family members or friends, but as mere monsters on the constant lookout for human flesh to feed on. These scenes introduce Peter and Francine, who plan to escape the big city in a helicopter. Cut to another very perplexing series of action sequences in which fellow policemen Stephen & Peter battle their way through a zombie-infested apartment building. Eventually these four characters flee together and entrench themselves in a large shopping mall complex. They can fairly easily handle the menace of the zombies here, but the biggest danger comes from typical human greed and selfishness. It's downright amazing how Romero manages to present such an implausible topic like zombie mayhem in such a realistic and incredibly disturbing way. He already did that in "Night of the Living Dead" but "Dawn" is entirely different film all together, since it contains a lot more humor and intelligently subtle society-mockery. The gore is sensational and plentiful (thank you, Tom Savini!) but the film never at one point drags in the tension or bad editing department. It's just, in one word, the perfect horror movie. There exist more than a dozen different versions of this film, which are all worth seeing at least once if only to spot the differences. Particularly recommended are Romero's original director's cut (duh!!) and Argento's European cut. This latter cuts a little on the dialogues and humor, but it features another brilliant soundtrack by Goblin! I could easily write another five page-essay about the genius of this movie, but it would just constantly re-confirm that it's absolute must-see! In case you haven't yet, make "Dawn of the Dead" a priority and also make sure you've got the horror-munchies!

43 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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