AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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National Lampoon's Animal House
Alternate Title: Animal House
Director: John Landis (Dir)
Release Date:   28 Jul 1978
Premiere Information:   New York opening: week of 28 Jul 1978; Los Angeles opening: 4 Aug 1978
Production Date:   24 Oct--mid-Dec 1977
Duration (in mins):   109
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Cast: Starring John Belushi (John ["Bluto"] Blutarsky )  
    Tim Matheson (Eric ["Otter"] Stratton/[Frank Lymon])  
    John Vernon (Dean Vernon Wormer)  
    Verna Bloom (Marion Wormer)  
    Thomas Hulce (Larry ["Pinto"] Kroger )  
  [and] Cesare Danova (Mayor Carmine DePasto)  
  Also Starring Peter Riegert (Donald ["Boon"] Schoenstein)  
    Mary Louise Weller (Mandy Pepperidge)  
    Stephen Furst (Kent ["Flounder"] Dorfman)  
    James Daughton (Greg Marmalard)  
    Bruce McGill (Daniel ["D-Day"] Simpson Day )  
    Mark Metcalf (Doug Neidermeyer)  
    DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day)  
    Karen Allen (Katy)  
    James Widdoes (Robert Hoover)  
    Martha Smith (Babs Jansen)  
    Sarah Holcomb (Clorette DePasto)  
    Lisa Baur (Shelly [Dubinsky])  
  [and] Kevin Bacon (Chip Diller)  
  And Donald Sutherland ([Professor] Dave Jennings ) as Jennings
    Douglas Kenney (Stork)  
    Christian Miller (Hardbar)  
    Bruce Bonnheim (B.B.)  
    Joshua Daniel (Mothball)  
    Junior (Trooper)  
    Sunny Johnson (Otter's co-ed)  
    Stacy Grooman (Sissy)  
    Stephen Bishop (Charming guy with guitar)  
    Eliza Garrett (Brunella)  
    Aseneth Jurgenson (Beth)  
    Katherine Denning (Noreen)  
    Raymone Robinson (Mean dude)  
    Robert Elliott (Meaner dude)  
    Reginald H. Farmer (Meanest dude)  
    Jebidiah R. Dumas (Gigantic dude)  
    Priscilla Lauris (Dean's secretary)  
    Rick Eby (Omega)  
    John Freeman (Man on street)  
    Sean McCartin (Lucky Boy)  
    Helen Vick (Sorority girl)  
    Rick Greenough (Mongol)  

Summary: At Faber College in 1962, freshmen Larry Kroger and Kent Dorfman attend pledge week, hoping to join a fraternity. Wanting to pledge Omega House, the most prestigious fraternity on campus, the boys attend the invitational party but quickly realize that the Omegas won’t accept them. Although Kent suggests Delta House instead, because his brother is a former fraternity member or “legacy”, Larry laments that Delta has a terrible reputation. At Delta House, the wild and crazy members are more welcoming to Larry and Kent. There, they meet John “Bluto” Blutarsky, who is the sergeant at arms, Robert Hoover, the chapter president, Eric “Otter” Stratton, the rush chairman, as well as Donald “Boon” Shoenstein and his frustrated girlfriend, Katy. The next day, Greg Marmalard, president of Omega House, meets with the school’s dean, Vernon Wormer, who wants Delta House expelled from Faber College for breaking campus rules and retaining a low collective grade point average. Dean Wormer orders Marmalard and his fellow Omega, Doug Neidermeyer, to expedite the expulsion. Meanwhile, Delta House review fraternity brother pledge candidates and accept Larry and Kent, mainly because they are in need of annual dues. At the Delta initiation, Bluto dubs Larry “Pinto,” and Kent “Flounder.” The fraternity celebrates with a wild party. Meanwhile, at Omega House new pledges are spanked in the dark while senior members look on. Sometime later, Boon, Katy and Pinto go to the home of English professor, Dave Jennings, where they all smoke a marijuana cigarette. During Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) practice, Otter and Boon see Neidermeyer bully Flounder and decide to exact revenge. As Neidermeyer forces Flounder to clean the stalls of Neidermeyer's beloved horse, he continues to abuse the Delta member. Later, Bluto and his fellow Delta brother, Daniel “D-Day” Simpson Day, convince Flounder to sneak Neidermeyer’s horse into Dean Wormer’s office late at night with a gun. Unbeknown to Flounder, the gun is filled with blanks so he fires at the ceiling. The prank backfires when the horse dies of a heart attack at the sound of the explosion. The next day at the cafeteria, Otter flirts with Marmalard’s girlfriend, Mandy Pepperidge, in front of Marmalard and other Omegas. Continuing his pranks, Bluto spits food in Marmalard’s face and a food fight ensues. Later, Bluto and D-Day steal the answers to an upcoming Psychology mid-term exam, unaware that members of the Omega House have planted a fake test with the wrong answers. When all of the Deltas fail the exam, Dean Wormer informs them that he will revoke the fraternity’s charter if they make one more mistake. Hoover wants to prevent the expulsion, but Otter and Boon think the fraternity is doomed and decide to throw one last toga party. The Deltas go to the grocery store for supplies. There, Boon and Pinto shoplift while Otter flirts with Dean Wormer’s wife, Marion. Pinto invites the young cashier, Clorette DePasto, to the party. Back at Delta House, the band Otis Day and the Knights play for raucous partygoers. Marion arrives, intoxicated, and has sex with Otter, but Clorette passes out before Pinto can seduce her. He returns an unconscious Clorette to her parents’ house, where her father, Mayor Carmine DePasto, finds his daughter in a shopping cart. Meanwhile, Marion, still intoxicated, returns home to Dean Wormer. Furious, Dean Wormer organizes a campus tribunal to try Delta House, but he does not let the fraternity members defend themselves. The Dean revokes Delta’s charter and threatens to expel the members. Sometime later, the Deltas go on a road trip to Emily Dickinson College to pick up girls. Upon meeting Shelly Dubinsky, who tells Otter that her roommate, Fawn Liebowitz, recently died, Otter pretends to be the deceased girl’s fiancé. Otter convinces Shelly and her sorority sisters to go out with the Deltas to “cheer him up.” At the Dexter Lake Club, they watch Otis Day and the Knights perform and find themselves the only white people in attendance. When some of the African-American men threaten the boys, they run out of the club, leaving the girls behind. Back at Faber College, Boon tries to make up with Katy, but he discovers that she is having an affair with Professor Jennings. Later, Mandy’s friend, Babs Jansen, sets up Otter for an ambush by the Omegas, telling him that Mandy wants to have a sexual rendezvous. When Otter arrives at a motel to meet her, the Omegas attack him. Dean Wormer expels the entire Delta House for failing their mid-term exams and notifies the local draft board. Although most of the Deltas feel defeated, Bluto encourages them with an impassioned speech and they decide to get revenge by invading the annual homecoming parade. Manning an undercover float, the Deltas create chaos and destruction at the event and wreak havoc on Dean Wormer and the Omegas. In the future, Delta members rise to success while Omegas meet tragic ends. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Production Text: A Matty Simmons/Ivan Reitman Production
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Director: John Landis (Dir)
  Gary R. McLarty (2d unit dir)
  Peter MacGregor-Scott (Unit prod mgr)
  Cliff Coleman (1st asst dir)
  Ed Milkovich (2d asst dir)
  Steve Pohl (Asst dir trainee)
  Gene Deardorff (Asst dir)
Producer: Matty Simmons (Prod)
  Ivan Reitman (Prod)
Writer: Harold Ramis (Wrt)
  Douglas Kenney (Wrt)
  Chris Miller (Wrt)
Photography: Charles Correll (Dir of photog)
  Steve Yaconelli (Cam op)
  Michael Simpson (Cam asst)
  Joe Kosko (Cam asst)
  Charles Mills (2d cam op)
  Pete Hill (2d cam asst)
  Norman Glasser (Gaffer)
  Tom Kessenich (Key grip)
  Richard Kamins (Best boy)
  John Shannon (Stills)
  Christine Loss (Stills)
  Frank Holgate (2d unit cam)
  David Calloway (2d unit cam asst)
  Robert Griffith (2d grip)
  John Falkengren (Dolly grip)
  Joe Nappi (Grip)
  Mark Stanley (Company grip)
  Al Budiniak (Elec)
  Connie Holt (Elec)
  Bob Winkler (Elec)
  Keith Pallant (Elec)
  Herbert Roberts (3rd cam op)
  Herbert Estabrook (3rd cam op)
Art Direction: John J. Lloyd (Art dir)
Film Editor: George Folsey, Jr. (Ed)
  Malcolm Campbell (Asst film ed)
Set Decoration: Hal Gausman (Set dec)
  Michael Milgrom (Prop master)
  Art Smedley (Leadman)
  William Reinert (Swing gang)
  Joe Pizzorusso (Swing gang)
  Terry Adams (Asst prop man)
  Clint Robinson (Asst prop man)
  Delayne Lytle (Prop foreman)
  Greg Villalva (Prop maker)
  Paul Sabourin (Set const )
  Gary Osborn (Painter)
  Jerry Palermo (Painter)
  John Stuart (Scenic artist)
Costumes: Deborah Nadoolman (Cost)
  Dan Chichester (Ward)
  Gene Deardorff (Ward)
Music: Elmer Bernstein (Mus)
  Dave Kahn (Mus ed)
Sound: William B. Kaplan (Sd)
  Earl Sampson (Boom man)
  Bill Varney (Re-rec mixer)
  Howard Wollman (Re-rec mixer)
  Alan Holly (Re-rec mixer)
  John Stacy (Sd eff ed)
  Jack Gosden (Dial ed)
  Jerry Clark (Rec)
  Noel Bartlett (Rec)
  Greg Aggalsoff (Rec)
Special Effects: Henry Millar (Spec eff)
  Universal Title (Titles and opt eff)
  Hal Millar (Spec eff)
  Gordon Graff (Spec eff)
  Bruce Mattox (Spec eff)
  Leo Sobis (Spec eff)
Make Up: Lynn Brooks (Makeup)
  Gerald Soucie (Makeup)
  Marilyn Phillips (Hairstylist)
  Joy Zapata (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Michael Chinich (Casting)
  Katherine Wooten (Scr supv)
  Don Newton (Transportation capt)
  Saul Kahan (Unit pub)
  Oregon Film Factory (Addl casting)
  Stage III Productions (Addl casting)
  Judith Jacklin (Prod assoc)
  William Rodenbaugh (Auditor)
  Rick Frazier (Auditor)
  Sol Berlin (40 man)
  Barbara Kennedy (Prod secy)
  Tom Battaglia (Driver co-capt)
  Ron Williams (Driver co-capt local)
  R.W. Hutchinson (Driver)
  Victor Hunsberger Jr. (Driver)
  Tom McDonald (Driver)
  Lorne McDonald (Driver)
  Ernest Fuentes (First aid)
  Mitchell ElMahady (First aid)
  Michaelson's (Caterer)
  Tony Kerum (Chef)
  Jose Jimez (Chef)
  Marvin Ramsey (Craft service-local)
  Maureen Higgins (Casting secy)
  Bob Laird (Extra casting)
  Lew Melson (Extra casting)
  Joe Valentine (Extra casting)
Stand In: Gary McLarty (Stunt person)
  Albert M. Mauro (Stunt person)
  Karen Werner (Stunt person)
  Fred Hice (Stunt person)
  Bill Hooker (Stunt person)
  Clifford Happy (Stunt person)
  Pam Bebbermeyer (Stunt person)
  Bud Ekins (Stunt person)
  Jim Halty (Stunt person)
  R. A. Rondell (Stunt person)
  Walter Wyatt (Stunt person)
  Gilbert Combs (Stunt person)
  Gary R. McLarty (Stunt coord)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Animal House," composed and performed by Stephen Bishop, supervised by Kenny Vance; "Dream Girl," composed and performed by Stephen Bishop, supervised by Kenny Vance; "Shout," written by O'Kelly Isley, Jr., Ronald Isley and Rudolph Isley, supervised by Mark Davis; "Shama Lama Ding Dong," written and supervised by Mark Davis; "Louie Louie," written by Richard Berry, performed by The Kingsmen, courtesy of Springboard International Records, Inc.; "Hey Paula," written by Ray Hildebrand, performed by Paul and Paula, courtesy of Phonogram, Inc.;
Composer: Richard Berry
  Stephen Bishop
  Mark Davis
  Ray Hildebrand
  Ronald Isley
  Rudolph Isley
  O'Kelly Isley, Jr.
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal City Studios, Inc. 5/2/1979 dd/mm/yyyy PA22433

PCA NO: 25259
Physical Properties: Sd:
  col: Color by Technicolor®
  Lenses: Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: College
 
Subjects (Major): College life
  Drunkenness
  Expulsion
  Fraternities
  Nudity
  Practical jokes
  Sex
 
Subjects (Minor): Ambushes
  Animals
  Bars
  Beer
  Brassieres
  Bullies
  Cafeterias
  Cheating
  Cheerleaders
  Cocktail parties
  College deans
  College presidents
  College students
  Colleges
  Concerts
  Corporal punishment
  Dance parties
  Deans (In schools)
  Entertainers
  Firearms
  Food fights
  Grocery stores
  Hangovers
  Hazing
  Horses
  Initiations (Into trades, societies, etc.)
  Lechery
  Lingerie
  Liquor
  Love affairs
  Marching bands
  Marijuana
  Mayors
  Motorcycles
  Nightclub entertainers
  Nightclubs
  Parades
  Parties
  Peeping Toms
  Premarital sex
  Revenge
  Ruses
  School life
  Seduction
  Seltzer water
  Shoplifting
  Sororities
  Spanking
  Stables
  Supermarkets
  Swords
  Underwear
  Universities
  Virginity
  Voyeurism

Note:        According to a 25 Aug 2003 NYT article, Animal House represented actor Kevin Bacon’s first theatrically released screen role. The written statement, “Faber College 1962”, appears before the film’s title in the opening credits.
       The start of the end credits shows a series of postscripts about the main characters. Superimposed title cards contain the following statements: “Robert Hoover ’63, Public Defender, Baltimore, Maryland”; “Lawrence Kroger ’66, Editor, National Lampoon Magazine”; “Gregory Marmaland ’63, Nixon White House aid, raped in prison, 1974”; Eric Stratton ’63, Gynecologist, Beverly Hills, California"; "Douglas C. Neidermeyer ’63, killed in Vietnam by his own troops”; "Kent Dorfman ’66, Sensitivity Trainer, Encounter Groups of Cleveland, Inc.”; “Daniel Simpson Day ’63, whereabouts unknown”; “Boon and Katy, Married 1964, Divorced 1969”; “Barbara Sue Jansen ’63, Tour Guide, Universal Studios, Hollywood”; “Senator & Mrs. John Blutarsky, Washington, D.C.”
       The credits close with the following statements: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance of the people of Eugene and Cottage Grove, Oregon”; “Produced at Universal Studios, California U.S.A.”; and, “When in Hollywood, visit Universal Studios (Ask for Babs)”.
       Animal House was the first feature film from the humor magazine The National Lampoon. The screenplay was written by Lampoon staff writers Chris Miller, Doug Kenney, and Harold Ramis, according to an 8 Nov 1976 HR news item.
       The film began production on 24 Oct 1977, as stated in a 28 Nov 1977 Box news item. Principal photography wrapped in Eugene, OR, in mid-Dec 197,7 according to a 15 Dec 1977 HR news item. A 2 Aug 1978 Var article reported that the budget was roughly $3.5 million, with $2.7 million spent on actual production expenses.
       21st Century Communications, the parent company of The National Lampoon magazine, signed a three year development and production deal with Universal Pictures in May 1978. Their first joint venture was National Lampoon’s Animal House, according to a 10 May 1978 Var news item. As a part of the deal, Animal House had its first screening at the American Booksellers Association’s annual conference on 27 May 1978. The film was scheduled for wide release on 28 Jul 1978 in 600 theaters. A novelization of the film was written by Chris Miller and published as a trade paperback by The National Lampoon according to a 10 Apr 1978 Publisher’s Weekly article.
       By Nov 1978, the film was a huge success, accounting for twenty-three percent of the entire U.S. box office along with Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke (1978, see entry), as stated in a 19 Nov 1978 NYT article.
       A television spin-off titled Delta House (ABC, 18 Jan--28 Apr 1979) was developed for ABC Television. The film’s producers Matty Simons and Ivan Reitman were on board as executive producers for the series. Starring in the television adaption were several of the film’s original cast members, including: Josh Mostel, Bruce McGill, Peter Fox, James Widdoes, Stephen Furst, and John Vernon, according to a 27 Dec 1978 DV news item.
       In 1979, Meta-Film Associates filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Universal Studios and MCA Inc. for $55 million. Meta-Film claimed Animal was based on their copyrighted screenplay Frat Rats, which was submitted to Universal in 1975, according to a 25 Apr 1979 Var article. In Oct 1975, James P. Tierney, the attorney for Meta-Films filed a “related action” to the suit. Defendants included "21st Century Communications, National Lampoon, National Lampoon Players, Ivan Reitman Enterprises, Yearbook Movie Co., ABC, Inc., and other individuals." According to a 3 Oct 1979 LAHExam article, the suit charged “copyright infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of confidential relationship.” The case concluded in 1984 when U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaeizer ruled in favor of the defendants. On 29 May 1984, Pfaeizer wrote that the “defendants have established, without substantial controversy, that the creators of the ('Animal House') Treatment had no access to the ‘Frat Rats’ screenplay prior to submitting the Treatment to Universal,” as state in 23 May 1984 DV article.
       According to a 25 Aug 2003 NYT article, Animal House represented actor Kevin Bacon’s first theatrically released screen role. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   8 Nov 1976.   
Box Office   28 Nov 1977.   
Daily Variety   27 Dec 1978.   
Daily Variety   23 May 1984.   
Hollywood Reporter   8 Nov 1976.   
Hollywood Reporter   15 Dec 1977.   
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jun 1978   p. 3, 8.
Los Angeles Herald Express   3 Oct 1979.   
Los Angeles Times   4 Aug 1978   p. 1.
New York Times   28 Jul 1978   p. 7.
New York Times   19 Nov 1978   p. 17.
New York Times   23 Aug 2003   p. 1, 5.
Publisher's Weekly   10 Apr 1978.   
Variety   10 May 1978.   
Variety   28 Jun 1978   p. 20.
Variety   2 Aug 1978   p. 6.
Variety   25 Apr 1979.   

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