National Lampoon’s Animal House – 1978 Film
The classic Animal House Movie was released on July 28, 1978. The film grossed $141,600,000 at the box office, almost 50 times its production budget. It also became one of the most quoted and iconic American comedies in cinema history. The idea for Animal House originated from National Lampoon magazine, a very influential pop culture magazine at the time
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The director, John Landis, and writers Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller created Bluto’s character for Saturday Night Live comedian John Belushi, hoping he would take the role.
“That boy is a P.I.G. PIG.” – BABS
From food fights to toga parties, Animal House is a disruptive and outrageous film about misfits banding together.
Breaking Down the Animal House Movie Plot
“We can do anything we want. We’re college students!”
Fraternity rush week began in full force at Faber College in 1962. Freshmen Larry Kroger, played by Tom Hulce, and Kent Dorfman, played by Stephen Furst, visit each fraternity attempting to be chummy and cool. But after the preppy kids at Omega Theta Pi reject them, Larry and Kent join the trashy and rowdy Delta Tau Chi fraternity house as pledges. Each pledge is given a new nickname, Kroger becomes ‘Pinto,’ and Dorfman is ‘Flounder.’
There is a love story between Delta member Donald “Boon” Schoenstein, played by Peter Riegert, and his girlfriend Katy, played by Karen Allen. Katy wishes that her long-term boyfriend Boon would finally grow up and out of the partying phase with his fraternity brothers.
“As of this moment, they’re on double secret probation?” – Dean Vernon Wormer
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But we know the young men at Delta Tau Chi party hard and can’t stop, especially their president Robert ‘Hoover’ played by James Widdoes, and Rush Chairman Eric ‘Otter’ Stratton, played by Tim Matheson. Their wild behavior does not go unnoticed by Dean Vernon Wormer, played by John Vernon, as he puts the Delta’s on a “Double Secret Probation.” Dean Wormer even puts Omega President Greg Marmalard in charge of watching and reporting Delta’s bad behavior to him.
Greg wants to sabotage the Delta’s, so he plants fake Psychology midterm exam answers for Bluto and Daniel “D-Day” Simpson Day, played by Bruce McGill, to find. But, of course, all the answers are wrong, and as a result, the Delta brothers fail the test, grades drop, and they receive official probation.
But remember: “Don’t get mad. Get even.” – D-Day
The rest of the Animal House Movie follows the Delta’s as they play pranks, do less than PC activities, and get even with the Omegas and Dean Wormer.
- Donald Sutherland sites Animal House as one of his favorite films to make. He had such a great time!
- Katy and Boon smoke weed with Katy’s Professor Dave Jennings.
- Delta’s throw a Toga Party at the house when they aren’t allowed to be drinking or partying.
- Bluto starts a huge “Food Fight!!” in the college cafeteria.
- Pinto makes out with the mayor’s daughter.
- Otter sleeps with Dean Wormer’s wife.
- Bluto uses a ladder to spy in the sorority girls’ windows.
- Otter fakes having a dead fiance to get sympathy and dates.
- Otter hooks up with Greg’s girlfriend, Mandy, and gets beat up by Greg and his brothers.
Pinto throws up on Dean Wormer when he tells them the entire Delta House is expelled from Faber College. The Delta fraternity and all of its members are expelled on four charges:
- Giving alcohol to pledges during rush
- Below acceptable grade point average. Bluto is at the bottom of his fraternity with a 0.0 GPA.
- Having a toga party while under probation.
- Giving stimulants to members during finals week.
You may have heard this iconic Animal House Movie line from Bluto as the panic settles in.
“Great! Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the f*cking Peace Corps.” – Bluto
In one last-ditch effort to ‘get even’ with the school for kicking the Delta’s out, they decide to sabotage the town’s parade. They lead the band down a dead-end alley, crash some floats, and fly down the street with a floating reading “Eat Me.”
“You’re all worthless and weak. Now drop and give me twenty!” – Neidermeyer
These gentlemen really know how to push the limits, as their finale creates the utmost chaos and destruction around the city. Animal House is a lively American classic meant to poke fun at ridiculous frat and college culture. Watch as these young adults make mistakes, have some fun, and prevail.
“I’m a zit, get it?” – Bluto
Fun Facts about Animal House
- John Belushi’s Journey to Stardom – Animal House became SNL comedian John Belushi’s big break! He was still working on SNL, flying to New York Thursday to Sunday and back on set at Animal House Monday to Wednesday. His comedy was so fun and witty that Belishi’s food fighting scene was almost entirely improvised.
- And no, he did not *actually* chug a fifth of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey; it was iced tea.
- Otis Day and the Knights were initially a fictional band made up for the Animal House film. However, Dewayne Jessie’s performance and Llyod William’s versions of “Shout” and “Shama Lama Ding Dong” became a hit. They have since toured as a real band across the USA. AND Dewyane Jessie legally changed his name to Otis because he liked it so much.
- Kevin Bacon’s Debut – Animal House was Kevin Bacon’s first movie. He played an Omega pledge named Chip Diller.
- Real Stories – Many of the pranks, nicknames, and storylines come from the writing crew’s own crazy college and fraternity stories. Writers including Harold Ramis, Doug Kenney, and Chris Miller
- A Real Frat House – The house used for Delta Tau Chi frat was an actual fraternity house on the University of Oregon campus.
- Rowdy in Real Life – Some cast members got in a fight with real UO students after being invited to a party at Sigma Alpha Epsilon. This drunken brawl ended with Hoover losing a few teeth and D-Day with a black eye.
Animal House Movie Cast
- John Belushi as John “Bluto” Blutarsky
- Tim Matheson as Eric “Otter” Stratton
- Peter Riegert as Donald “Boon” Schoenstein
- Tom Hulce as Lawrence “Pinto” Kroger
- Stephen Furst as Kent “Flounder” Dorfman
- Bruce McGill as Daniel “D-Day” Simpson Day
- James Widdoes as Robert Hoover
- Karen Allen as Katy
- James Daughton as Gregory Marmalard
- Mark Metcalf as Douglas C. Neidermeyer
- Kevin Bacon as Chip Diller
- Mary Louise Weller as Mandy Pepperidge
- Martha Smith as Barbara “Babs” Sue Jansen
- John Vernon as Dean Vernon Wormer
- Verna Bloom as Mrs. Marion Wormer
- Donald Sutherland as Prof. Dave Jennings
- Cesare Danova as Mayor Carmine DePasto
- Sarah Holcomb as Clorette DePasto
- DeWayne Jessie as Otis Day
- Douglas Kenney as Dwayne “Stork” Storkman
- Christian Miller as Curtis “Hardbar” Wayne Fuller
- The movie was directed by John Landis and was based on the experiences of writer Chris Miller and producer Ivan Reitman during their time in college.
- Belushi’s famous “College” sweatshirt was actually a shirt he found in a thrift store and added the “College” lettering himself.
- The movie’s famous food fight scene was made possible with the use of real food, including mashed potatoes and jello.
- Animal House continues to be revered as a cultural touchstone and beloved comedy even over 40 years since its initial release.