6.1/10
17,770
124 user 138 critic

Cat People (1982)

A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard.

Director:

Paul Schrader

Writers:

DeWitt Bodeen (story), Alan Ormsby (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,899 ( 118)

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Cat People (1942)
Fantasy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Los Angeles male escort, who mostly caters to an older female clientèle, is accused of a murder which he did not commit.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo
Hardcore (1979)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A conservative Midwest businessman ventures into the sordid underworld of pornography in California to look for his runaway teenage daughter who is making porno films in California's porno pits.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: George C. Scott, Peter Boyle, Season Hubley
Blue Collar (1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When three workers try to steal from the local union, they discover the corruption of the union instead and decide to blackmail them.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto
Light Sleeper (1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drug dealer reconsiders his profession when his boss plans to go straight and an old flame reappears.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon, Dana Delany
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami
Patty Hearst (1988)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In the 1970s, Patricia Hearst is abducted by American revolutionaries, but eventually joins their cause instead.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Natasha Richardson, William Forsythe, Ving Rhames
Light of Day (1987)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A pair of siblings must choose whether to pursue their dream of touring with their rock band or support their family and stay in Cleveland, Ohio.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Gena Rowlands, Joan Jett
The Walker (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An escort who caters to Washington D.C.'s society ladies becomes involved in a murder case.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall
Affliction (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A deeply troubled small town cop investigates a suspicious hunting death while events occur that cause him to mentally disintegrate.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A couple retreat to Venice to work on their relationship, but an encounter with a stranger leads them into a world of intrigue - where their darkest desires are in reach.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson
Auto Focus (2002)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The life of TV star Bob Crane and his strange friendship with electronics expert John Henry Carpenter.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nastassja Kinski ... Irena Gallier (as Nastassia Kinski)
Malcolm McDowell ... Paul Gallier
John Heard ... Oliver Yates
Annette O'Toole ... Alice Perrin
Ruby Dee ... Female
Ed Begley Jr. ... Joe Creigh
Scott Paulin ... Bill Searle
Frankie Faison ... Detective Brandt
Ron Diamond Ron Diamond ... Detective Ron Diamond
Lynn Lowry ... Ruthie
John Larroquette ... Bronte Judson
Tessa Richarde Tessa Richarde ... Billie
Patricia Perkins Patricia Perkins ... Taxi Driver
Berry Berenson ... Sandra
Fausto Barajas Fausto Barajas ... Otis
Edit

Storyline

The Cat People originated way back in time, when humans sacrificed their women to leopards, who mated with them. Cat People look similar to humans, but must mate with other Cat People before they transform into panthers. Irene Gallier was raised by adoptive parents and meets her older brother Paul for the first time since childhood. We follow brother and sister - who seem to be the only ones of their kind left. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An erotic fantasy about the animal in us all. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cat People See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,617,636, 4 April 1982

Gross USA:

$7,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This remake had been touted for a number of years going back to 1978 before it was eventually made and released. See more »

Goofs

The sound of the panther's loud roar is actually that of a lion. See more »

Quotes

Oliver Yates: [character's first lines] Dr. Yates, New Orleans Zoo. Bill Searle called about a stray cat?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the theatrical version, the song "Sunday Kind of Love" by Ella Fitzgerald plays in the background during a dinner scene. In the syndicated television version, the song "Faraway Places" by Bing Crosby plays. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Halt and Catch Fire: 10Broad36 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

What's New Pussycat?
(uncredited)
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Sung by Ed Begley Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Brilliant film, but should not be thought of as a remake
11 February 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

After looking for years for his long lost sister, Irena Gallier (Nastassja Kinski), Paul (Malcolm McDowell) finally finds her and has her come to New Orleans, where he's currently living. While there, she gradually discovers the truth about their bizarre past and falls for a zoo curator.

First, a caveat. Director Paul Schrader, in his interview on the Cat People DVD, says that he regrets that he didn't just change the name of the film to remove some of the perception that this is a remake of Jacques Tourneur's Cat People from 1942. It is wrong to look at this as a remake. Aside from mostly superficial similarities, Schrader's Cat People really has little to do with the original--no more in common than, say, The Grudge (2004) and The Ring (2002), assuming that "Kayako" from The Grudge would have been named "Samara" instead, or no more similar than any two random vampire films. Irena's first name is the same, there are similarities in her background story and what she is, she visits a zoo, she falls in love with a man with the same first name of "Oliver", and there are maybe two and a half scenes similar to Tourneur's film. That's it. Yes, I'm a fan of Tourneur's film, too--it's my favorite out of his collaborations with producer Val Lewton. But you have to forget about Tourneur's film when watching this one. This is a remarkable work of cinematic art in its own right, with its own story and goals.

Schrader's Cat People deserves a 10 on visual terms alone. The cinematography, production design and lighting are nothing short of genius throughout the film. Almost every shot is one that deserves to be paused and studied. Director of photography John Bailey never ceases to find interesting perspectives, angles and tracking. The sets are elaborate and exquisitely constructed for visual impact. In conjunction with the lighting, the film is mired in a rich, varied palette of colors similar to (and as good as) Dario Argento's best work.

Of course the film is more graphic than Tourneur's--it would be almost impossible for it not to be, both in terms of blood/gore and nudity, and all of that is shot brilliantly as well. The only cinematic instance of blood that I can think of that is as effective as the scene in this film where blood runs by Irena's shoes and down a drain is the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The event leading up to this image has more impact of most similar scenes, as well. The copious amounts of nudity throughout the film are never gratuitous (not that I have anything against gratuitous nudity, mind you), but always interestingly blocked, with some grander artistic purpose. These scenes range from creating juxtapositions between prurient voyeurism and horror, to surrender to and (sometimes perverse) domination of animality, to interior psychological conflicts--just look at the ingenious placement of a window frames during a full frontal nudity shot in Oliver's "swamp cabin".

The music--both the score and the incidental songs, are just as good. Most of it is an eerie, synthesized score by Giorgio Moroder. It often approaches the tasty moodiness of Brian Eno's excellent work with David Bowie (Low, Heroes, Lodger), which is perhaps ironic in light of the fact that Bowie contributed a great song for the closing credits. The limited incidental music--such as Jimmy Hughes' "Why Not Tonight?" during the cab ride to the zoo--fits the mood of the film perfectly.

Of course, the film isn't all just visuals and music. There's an intriguing, surreal story here, and great performances from a seemingly odd combination of actors--ranging from Kinski and McDowell to Ed Begley, Jr. and John Laroquette. Setting the film in New Orleans was an inspired choice, as it allowed for eerie voodoo-weirdness ala Angel Heart (1987) and moody swamp vistas ala Down By Law (1986) to seep into the already creepy story. Setting the more dreamlike imagery in a desert (albeit a studio-created desert) also helped draw me into the film, as there is probably no environment I find more aesthetically captivating.

I first saw Cat People as a teen during its theatrical run. I didn't like it near as much then, and that fact caused me to put off re-watching it for a number of years. I think at that time, the film may have been too slow for me, I may not have understood it very well, and I certainly didn't have the visual and overall aesthetic appreciation that I currently have. Now, I think it's a masterpiece--perhaps one of the better films of the 1980s. It's worth checking out at least once, and if you've seen it awhile ago and think you didn't like it so well, it's worth giving a second chance.


90 of 118 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 124 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed