National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

national lampoons animal house poster 1978 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

College gross-out humor, Toga! Toga! Toga!

Some dated behavior isn't the most PC

Movie Info

Movie Name: National Lampoon’s Animal House

Studio: Universal Pictures

Genre(s): Comedy

Release Date(s): July 28, 1978

MPAA Rating: R

national lampoons animal house toga party bluto john belushi


The boys of Delta Tau Chi house at Faber College might not be the brightest guys on campus…in fact they are quite possibly the dumbest.  Despite their GPA, the Delta Tau Chi house makes up for grades in parties much to the chagrin of Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon) and as Wormer and the other houses plot to eject the Deltas from campus, the Deltas have their own plans and they aren’t going to let a vengeful dean ruin their fun.

Directed by John Landis, National Lampoon’s Animal House (often just referred to as Animal House) is a college comedy.  The film’s script was developed by Harold Ramis and with additional writing by Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller.  The low budget film became a massive hit and retains a cult standing.  In 2001, the Library of Congress added Animal House to the National Film Registry.

As a kid, Animal House was one of those legendary movies.  It was R-Rated, but like other college type comedies (like later movies like Porky’s and even Revenge of the Nerds), it was the type of movie that you hoped to get to see before you were “old enough” to see it because people quoted and joked about it.  Animal House is a little un-PC by this point, but the laughs still hold up.

national lampoons animal house dean vernon wormer john vernon

You get an expulsion, you get an expulsion, you get an explusion…you definitely get an expulsion!!!

Don’t really go into Animal House for the plot.  It is as you’d expect.  Jerk students pile on the hate toward the dumb students that aren’t even cool jocks.  The Deltas do deserve some of the hate they are given and honestly many of them aren’t very likable…they’re fun to watch, but I don’t know if I’d care to be friends with many of them.  In fairness, many of the people in the movie are rather shallow, but that shallowness translates into the comedy.  The film also goes full bonkers at the end which does not care if it is over the top.

The cast is young and fresh.  The movie made a celebrity movie star out of SNL alum John Belushi and Belushi does steal a lot of the movie as Bluto who is more distinctive than some of the other Deltas.  Tim Matheson also gained fame from the movie while Stephen Furst’s Flounder is a fun fan favorite.  Bruce McGill didn’t ever seem to really develop as D-Day and Karen Allen plays the most develop of the female characters as Katy.  Kevin Bacon has a small role in his first film as Chip Diller while John Vernon gets to play the epitome of “evil, fun-ruining” deans in Dean Wormer.

national lampoons animal house deathmobile

Death comes for them all!!!

Schools weren’t entirely anxious to have Animal House shoot on the campus, and after an attempt to lock in the University of Missouri, the film ended up at the University of Oregon.  The movie is set in the early 1960s (and was specifically chosen as kind of the end of innocents with the assassination of Kennedy).  The jokes are often dirty, misogynistic, and at points racist, but it is (as weird as it seems) a period piece in time, script, and visuals.

Animal House remains a classic despite changes in time.  Fortunately, sticky moments like Pinto choosing whether to have sex with a drunk Clorette goes the right direction or the movie would have a tougher time with a more modern PC crowd.  The movie is what you’d consider a “fun romp” and can’t be taken too seriously.  It was the definition of what guys thought college would be like, and the toxic masculinity it potentially spawned wasn’t a great thing, but that isn’t on the movie as much as some of how people take the film…regardless what you think of him Wormer is right “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life”…but you also have to remember to have fun and enjoy the toga party sometimes.

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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