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Wolfen (1981)

Albert Finney , Gregory Hines , Michael Wadleigh  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Finney, Gregory Hines, Tom Noonan, Dick O'Neill, Edward James Olmos
  • Directors: Michael Wadleigh
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 13, 2002
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FP6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,802 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wolfen" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A real estate tycoon, his coke-binging wife and a slum wino have something grisly in common: they're the latest victims in a series of random murders. A veteran NYPD detective soon suspects the killings may be supernatural and deliberate: ages-old beings of cunning intelligence and incredible power, defending their turf from the encroachments of humankind.

DVD Features:
Filmographies:Cast/director film highlights
Interactive Menus
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer

Wolfen is definitely the oddest and most socially conscious of the three big werewolf movies released in 1981 (the others were The Howling and An American Werewolf in London). Rumpled detective Albert Finney is investigating some brutal NYC murders, which leads him to discover that the collapsing buildings of the South Bronx are home to a pack of very vindictive wolflike creatures. American Indian mythology and environmental issues are more to the point here than silver-bullet lycanthropy. As a police procedural, the movie's a bust, its rhythms wrong and Finney's tortured Brooklyn accent unconvincing. But as a horror-mood piece, it can get under your skin. Some trippy photography, plus a bunch of interesting actors at the beginnings of their film careers (Diane Venora, Gregory Hines, and a lean and hungry Edward James Olmos), outweigh the druggy pace and period hairstyles. Director Michael Wadleigh (Woodstock) never made another feature. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Them There Can be No Lies September 18, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Every once in a while there comes to the horror genre a film that is something more, which leaves the viewer unnexpectedly pondering. Hitchcock was a master at this, and, more recently we have had 'Seven,' and 'Silence of the Lambs.' Coming in the 1980's, when the werewolf film was largely beinng redefined ('The Howling,' and 'An American Werewolf in London') 'Wolfen' truly set itself apart.
Of course, the fact that it is not exactly a werewolf film has a bit to do with that. Set in a New York City that seems almost post devastation, with scene after scene in the worst possible slums it is a revelation of people in woeful straits, and a study of the predators (human and otherwise) that live among them. The film also flirts with Native American reality and myths and the nature of the pressures of urbanization.P>The bleak scene making, the totally believable performances by all the actors and the adept use of just enough violence and special effects combine to provide a compelling experience for the watcher. Michael Wadleigh (who also directed 'Woodstock') displays a sense of timing that uses each discovery to catapult the tension to new levels. This is not a film that permits clinical distance, but which strives to create a tumult of ideas that crystallize into a grand finale.
'Wolfen' is a horror film that begs the question of what really is the true horror, the monster or the man. My only regret is that this disc is pure film with no effort to provide any of the traditional extra features. I was hoping for at least an interview or two, or even a short on the filmmaking, but none of that is provided. Even so, I recommend this as a special treat for all horror buffs.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "THEY DON'T MAKE MOVIES LIKE WOLFEN ANYMORE" January 11, 2006
Whitley Striebers book "Wolfen" explains alot more than this movie ever could. I still feel this movie was done very well. I was dissapointed that this dvd only has a trailer and no other special features. Wolfen was filmed beautifully in New York, Bklyn, Bronx, Staten Island. Wolfen really caught New York during 1980-1981,the big apple was some what different then. This film eerily catches the Bronx in a cold septic view. Wolfen made you very aware of the sociol class, poverty and drug problems of America during the early 1980s. The soundtrack by James Horner is simply awesome. In my opinion Wolfen was the best of the wolf movies of the early 1980s. They dont make movies like this anymore. This was Michael Wadleighs last film but really a well directed film with some interesting actors and charachters. Wolfen does have some political views as well as regarding mans technology against natures, and the treatment of the American Indian and thier connection to the wolf. Albert Finney plays an excellent NYPD detective. The late Gregory Hines an excellent pathologist. Veteran actor Dick O'neil plays a believable NYPD Captain. Diana Venora whatever became of Diane, but her charachter was really interesting to. This film also supplies some great landscape shots as well. People will have different views of Wolfen,but in all very entertaining. Take out of "Wolfen" what you will. "Wolfen knows all, there could be no lying". Michael Wadliegh and his crew do an awesome job with a steadicam and a louma crane capturing the predators prospective. A very well crafted film with some ambiguity.......
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1981 was "The Great Werewolf Year," when three major films heralded a revival of the legendary monster. "The Howling" and "An American Werewolf in London" have both become classics, while the third, "Wolfen," remains an oddity. It is definitely the strangest of the three and makes unusual changes to the werewolf mythology to the point that it might not be about werewolves at all. The usual standards of the genre -- silver bullets, wolfsbane, transformations, curses -- are nowhere to be seen, although there are hints of spiritual powers and cunning intelligence beyond the natural world. And while "American Werewolf in London" and "The Howling" contained extensive comedy and many genre-references along with their horror, "Wolfen" plays its story straight and dead serious. It has social issues mixed into its thrills 'n' chills premise: a police detective (Albert Finney) investigating murders in New York City that point toward a wolf-like killer, or possibly a whole pack of them. Director Michael Wadleigh (his only other film is the classic concert documentary "Woodstock") uses the horror movie backdrop as a venue for commentary on class, environmentalism, industrialization, and Native American politics.
This is an ambitious bill to fill, and "Wolfen" doesn't quite manage to pull it off. You can appreciate Wadleigh's goals, but he often trips over trying to do too much. The political grandstanding makes for a thoughtful horror movie, but it also slows the film down and overbalances it. Sometimes, you just want action and scares, and "Wolfen" frequently drags. It would have rocked at ninety-minutes, but at nearly two hours, it goes on for too long.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deleted Scene - ** Stars August 30, 2002
By A Customer
Wolfen is a rare werewolf movie that isn't all Hollywood hokum. This absorbing and suspenseful movie makes a strong social commentary about how much we know and asks the question which race is truly superior.
If you're looking for the traditional werewolf movie, Wolfen is not it. If you're looking for a well made suspense drama with great special effects, Wolfen is a 4 Star movie to see.
Wolfen is a beautifully transferred DVD that has great picture quality - the only problem is that Wolfen has a deleted scene in the bar with singer Tom Waits.
Are studios so in a rush to make a buck that they are deleting scenes, leaving out sub-titles and essential dubbing? What's the point in owning a good looking disc with missing movie parts? A shocker from Warner and a red flag to the other major studios who think that DVD collectors don't notice such omissions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!
Great movie...that's why I ordered it!
Published 2 months ago by Diane M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good acting. Love the bit by Olmos as an ...
I am a horror/sci-fi fan. This is a very interesting take on the "wolf man" theme.... completely unique to the genre. Read more
Published 3 months ago by College professor
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Love the message
Not the typical 'horror film'. Love it! Love the message. Watch it over and over again.
Published 3 months ago by Echothursday
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my type, and yet…
Would normally not seek out such a movie, so perhaps my standards are a little low. I was, however, totally taken into the mood and plot; thought the South Bronx war zone as it... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Organgrinder1010
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Movies
I like warewolf movies especially to see each film maker's ideas on what a warewolf is how they transform from a man to a beast and visa versa.
Published 6 months ago by Carl R. Kannady
5.0 out of 5 stars a shadow of the book.
dont get me wrong, this is a good enough movie and actually for its time period a better cop drama than most, and there were a lot at the time this came out. Read more
Published 7 months ago by infinte_variety
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie--great message.
Loved this movie.
We are a money driven nation and we are losing
the ability to make decisions about anything but
income. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Penelope Crowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as I remembered
Saw this movie many years ago but for some reason it's not been on TV. I thought with wolves, coyotes and other animals now living in the cities, the premise of this movie would... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon8consumer
4.0 out of 5 stars Wolfen Rocks
WOLFEN is definitely the oddest and most socially conscious of the three big werewolf movies released in 1981 (the others were THE HOWLING & AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON). Read more
Published 9 months ago by Taheen Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this
Really enjoyed this film. It kept you on the edge of your seat. Well worth the time you spend watching
Published 9 months ago by ole man
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