Alligator (1980)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 5/10

Clever story, decent acting

The giant alligator is quite fake

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Alligator

Studio:  Alligator Inc.

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 2, 1980

MPAA Rating:  R


Hi! Remember the rumors of alligators in the sewers? Yep, they’re real!!!

When a young girl’s alligator is flushed down a Chicago toilet, it grows and evolves in the sewer eating what it can.  Twenty years later, the little alligator has grown to monstrous size due to the chemical releases of a company run by Slade (Dean Jagger).  Officer David Madison (Robert Forster) has been assigned to investigate the recent appearances of body parts and animals in the city’s sewage system.  When the killer is revealed to be a giant alligator, Madison and a reptile expert named Marisa Kendall (Robin Riker) are booted from the case for accusing Slade’s company.  The gator is now on the loose, and it is hungry.

Directed by Lewis Teague from a script by John Sayles, Alligator was actually fairly well received for what most would consider a B-Movie.  It has gained quite a cult following over the years and spawned a direct-to-video unrelated sequel in 1991 called Alligator II:  The Mutation.


What lovely sewage plants you have…

Alligator is a fun “when-animals-attack” that were of course made popular with Jaws.  The script of the film is written by the award winning John Sayles who also penned the fun Piranha before going on to award winning films like Eight Men Out, Lone Star, and Sunshine State.  The movie takes what could be a lot of clichés and makes them different and interesting.

What could be a whole film of no one believing in the gator turns into a search for the gator rather quickly when the gator is revealed publicly.  I hate the no one believes the main character storylines that are popular in these types of films so it is fun that they ditch that story idea quickly.  I also enjoy that the gator makes quick work of the expert hunter brought in to kill it.


Oh no! Little cars and a giant alligator!!!

The movie is of course hampered by the giant alligator.  Forster tries to make the best of his role as the cop, but when acting against an alligator in scale models, blue screen, “gator cam”, and a giant mechanical alligator head that looks like a giant gator head, he doesn’t have much to go on.  The location also looks distinctively “not Chicago” but even within the movie it is indicated that it is Missouri (also not very Missouri looking since it was shot in California).

The movie is one of those fun B-Movies that you watch and say…that wasn’t that bad.  I always like a horror film willing to kill animals and kids…it shows no one is safe, and Alligator steps up in that aspect.  The movie is a cult classic and deservingly so.

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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