National Lampoon's Animal House

1978

National Lampoon's Animal House

Critics Consensus

The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 49

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 185,539
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Movie Info

Director John Landis put himself on the map with this low-budget, fabulously successful comedy, which made a then-astounding 62 million dollars and started a slew of careers for its cast in the process. National Lampoon's Animal House is set in 1962 on the campus of Faber College in Faber, PA. The first glimpse we get of the campus is the statue of its founder Emil Faber, on the base of which is inscribed the motto, "Knowledge Is Good." Incoming freshmen Larry "Pinto" Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent "Flounder" Dorfman (Stephen Furst) find themselves rejected by the pretentious Omega fraternity, and instead pledge to Delta House. The Deltas are a motley fraternity of rejects and maladjusted undergraduates (some approaching their late twenties) whose main goal -- seemingly accomplished in part by their mere presence on campus -- is disrupting the staid, peaceful, rigidly orthodox, and totally hypocritical social order of the school, as represented by the Omegas and the college's dean, Vernon Wormer (John Vernon). Dean Wormer decides that this is the year he's going to get the Deltas expelled and their chapter decertified; he places the fraternity on "double secret probation" and, with help from Omega president Greg Marmalard (James Daughton) and hard-nosed member Doug Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf), starts looking for any pretext on which to bring the members of the Delta fraternity up on charges. The Deltas, oblivious to the danger they're in, are having a great time, steeped in irreverence, mild debauchery, and occasional drunkenness, led by seniors Otter (Tim Matheson), Hoover (James Widdoes), D-Day (Bruce McGill), Boon (Peter Riegert), and pledge master John "Bluto" Blutarsky (John Belushi). They're given enough rope to hang themselves, but even then manage to get into comical misadventures on a road trip (where they arrange an assignation with a group of young ladies from Emily Dickinson University). Finally, they are thrown out of school, and, as a result, stripped of their student deferments (and, thus, eligible for the draft). They decide to commit one last, utterly senseless (and screamingly funny) slapstick act of rebellion, making a shambles of the university's annual homecoming parade, and, in the process, getting revenge on the dean, the Omegas, and everyone else who has ever gone against them. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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News & Interviews for National Lampoon's Animal House

Critic Reviews for National Lampoon's Animal House

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (5)

  • You may not care to take up permanent spiritual residence at Animal House, but it's funny place to visit.

    Jul 31, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Animal House is a self-congratulatory mess; but it's also spattered with terrific one-liners and sight gags, and it's the best showcase extant for John Belushi's subversive, attention-grabbing screen presence.

    Oct 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • While the low comedy is undeniably effective, the film leaves behind a bad taste of snobbery and petty meanness.

    Jul 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The Lampoon people understand the darkest secret of an American college education: one of the noblest reasons to go is to spend four years studying sex.

    Jul 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There's enough bite and bawdiness to provide lots of smiles and several broad guffaws.

    Jul 25, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • An unashamed sense of its own fantasy is coupled with classically mounted slapstick; nostalgia mixes with cynicism in seductive proportions; and John Belushi's central performance as brain-damaged slob-cum-Thief of Baghdad is wonderful.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Chris Auty

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for National Lampoon's Animal House

  • Sep 19, 2018
    Some of the gags are silly and dated (especially towards the end of the movie), but most of them are hilarious even without need of a well-defined structure to wrap around them, since this is a comedy that works quite well as a loose series of raunchy chronicles of college.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2017
    When you look past its obviously thin script, you can't help but admire the anarchy and absurdity of this film. National Lampoon's Animal House's senseless hysteria and laughs to go along with the enigmatic charm of John Belushi make for a timeless party-themed film that would launch a genre of wild, chaotic party films to come. 3.5/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2012
    National Lampoon's has made some absolutely terrible movies, but this is definitely not one of them. Animal House is the original college frat house party movie. Up to the gills in booze and women, these wild college coed's party hard, and study never. Sharing a common thing with many great movies, the characters in this story all meld into the perfect cohesive ensemble. This movie is all about rebellion against authority, and finding ways in any circumstance to have a good mischievous time. John Belushi delivers the performance of a lifetime, and he will forever be missed.
    Jarryd R Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2012
    A very funny film that begs the question of whether college in the 70's and 80's are accurately depicted. An interesting quip: My father tells stories worse than those presented here. I can assure you, this, respecting the MPAA rating system, is a completely accurate and downright funny picture of college in the 70's and 80's.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer

National Lampoon's Animal House Quotes

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