The Omen (1976)

the omen poster 1976 movie gregory peck lee remick
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Crazy deaths, strong cast

One of many evil kid movies

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Omen

Studio: 20th Century Fox/Harvey Bernhardt Productions/Mace Neufeld Productions

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): June 6, 1976 (UK)/June 26, 1976 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

omen 1976 damien born robert thorn katherine gregory peck lee remick

Honey…this will be the best day of our lives!

Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) and his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) have dreamed of a child.  When Robert learns that their child died just after birth, Robert permits a secret adoption of an orphaned child.  As their son Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens) grows up, Damien begins to display peculiarities.  Churches upset him, animals dislike him, and a mysterious nanny named Mrs. Baylock (Billie Whitelaw) shows up after the shocking suicide of his nanny.  Robert begins to suspect that something is wrong with Damien…and tracking down the secret could prove fatal to whoever tries it.

Directed by Richard Donner, The Omen is a demonic supernatural horror thriller.  The film received positive reviews and was a box office success.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Original Score with a nomination for Best Original Song (“Ave Satani”).

omen 1976 glass decaptiation david warner

When faced with trying to find a way to kill the Antichrist, keep calm and don’t lose your head.

In the mid-’70s, demonic possession and Satanic horror were the rage.  The Exorcist was such a massive, crossover success that there were many copycat style films.  While The Omen was one of those films try to profit, the originality of the story and the insane deaths in the film makes the movie stand out.

The movie is smartly crafted and really builds tension.  The audience essentially knows what Damien is the entire time, but no one else can see it.  Plus, the fact that pure evil is hidden in a child makes the decision of what to do nearly impossible.  You know what Gregory Peck must do…but the ramifications and how it will be seen by society is impossible to deal with.

The Omen also excels because of its cast.  Gregory Peck is everyone’s father after To Kill a Mockingbird and to see him have to sacrifice a child shows the real horror.  Lee Remick is good as the wife who understands what is going on before everyone else.  David Warner and Patrick Troughton both see the danger in Damien and pay a horrible price.  I like the creepy Mrs. Baylock played by Billie Whitelaw, but Donner also gets a great subtle kid’s performance from Harvey Spencer Stephens as Damien himself.

omen 1976 ending damien gregory peck church spencer stephens

What Sunday didn’t end with my dad trying to kill me with sacrificial knives?

The Omen is really remembered for its amazing deaths.  Before movies like Final Destination, The Omen brought high-concept murders to the story.  You have crazy hangings, slow motion decapitations, and steeples impaling people.  They are done quite artsy and scenes like Lee Remick’s fall are a step above the standard horror films.

Horror was becoming an art.  Movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and Jaws brought “class” to horror and movies like The Omen and Carrie followed suit.  While not all attempts to make horror award worthy worked, The Omen stands out as a film that succeeded in taking it to the next level.  The Omen was followed by the sequel Damien:  Omen II in 1978 (which continued the trend of crazy deaths).

Related Links:

Damien:  Omen II (1978)

Omen III:  The Final Conflict (1981)

Omen IV:  The Awakening (1991)

The Omen (2006)

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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