Grizzly (1976)

grizzly poster 1976 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 2/10


Complete rip-off of Jaws

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Grizzly

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  May 21, 1976

MPAA Rating:  PG

Just when you thought it was safe to get naked and swim in a waterfall in the wood…GRIZZLY!!!

Two campers are killed in a brutal attack by what appears to be a bear.  Now three men (Andrew Prine, Christopher George, Richard Jaeckel) are out to stop the rogue grizzly bear which has staked claim to the woods.  The bear is now a man-eater…massive and strong…and it is hungry.

Directed by William Girdler, Grizzly is a nature-attacks horror movie.  The film was released after Jaws release in 1975 and led the pack as part of a boom of animals horror films.  The movie was met with so-so reviews and a lot of criticisms with comparisons to Jaws.  It also featured a poster illustrated by comic artist Neal Adams but performed well at the box office.

grizzly bear attack victim kid

Even kids aren’t save from the GRIZZLY!!!

Animal attack movies are fun.  You just have a force of nature attacking humans.  It does not use logic and it does not use reason…it just hunts.  Jaws obviously is the classic example of the genre and it was done with style.  Grizzly is no Jaws.

The titular Grizzly was portrayed by the mother of the famous Bart the Bear (who appeared in tons of ’80s and ’90s movies…including The Bear and The Edge).  This bear also also appeared in Girdler’s follow-up film (that some consider a sequel) Day of the Animals, but here she is mostly brought in for her roars and some scenes near the end where she attacks the rangers’ tower and the helicopter.  The people attacks all appear to be a dummy bear that swats and takes off arms, legs, and horse heads (my favorite part).

grizzly bear vs helicopter ending

Seriously, just turn the helicopter back on…end of bear

The movie is a complete Jaws rip-off…it is so blatant that it isn’t even funny.  You have the naturalist Arthur Scott who is the equivalent of Richard Dreyfuss’ character that wants the bear saved (and his attempts lead to his death…what happened to the character in the novel Jaws).  You have park ranger Michael Kelly who is Roy Scheider’s character and even has the concerned “wife” (here just a girlfriend) in Joan McCall who he’s involved with. The Quint character is Stober who gives this tale of bears attacking his people…just like the sharks and the U.S.S. Indianapolis (they also “borrow” the reverse zoom used in Jaws in a similar way near the end).  The movie even has the whole “we should close the park” battle that parallels the close the beaches argument in Jaws.

grizzly bear ending

Well, the next logical move is to pull out a bazooka

The movie is relatively short, but has a very unsatisfying end battle with “the grizzly” in which Stober and Kelly face off against the bear…Stober (like Quint) is killed by the animal he hates and then, for God knows why, Kelly has a bazooka that he pulls out and blows up the grizzly bear. Really!?!  I realize the bear is a killer, but they could have just shot it from the air or something…but a bazooka? It is almost as bad as the shark randomly blowing up at the end of Jaws: The Revenge.

Grizzly is a typical when-animals-attack type of film.  The movie is bad…better than Day of the Animals, but still bad.  The movie had a very famous sequel that was made in 1983 but unreleased until 2020.  Grizzly II: Revenge had John Rhys-Davies hunting a bear in a park that ends up attacking a rock concert in the park (and gave Charlie Sheen and George Clooney early roles)…as bad as Grizzly was it will not stop me from watching Grizzly II.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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