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Straw Dogs (1971)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  22 December 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 43,046 users  
Reviews: 252 user | 146 critic

A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Maj. John Scott
Del Henney ...
Donald Webster ...
Len Jones ...
Bobby Hedden
Sally Thomsett ...
Robert Keegan ...
Harry Ware
Peter Arne ...
Cherina Schaer ...
Colin Welland ...


Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house. Written by Andrew Hyatt <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In the eyes of every coward burns a straw dog. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Strawdogs  »

Box Office


$3,251,794 (estimated)


SEK 794,608 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:


(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)| (opening credits)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Dustin Hoffman's character first enters the local pub, Sam Peckinpah was unhappy with the other actors' reaction to this stranger entering their world. Eventually, he decided to do one take where Hoffman entered the scene without his trousers on. He got his reaction, and these are the shots shown in the final film. See more »


In the scene where David is taken duck shooting, he fires his gun into the air at ducks flying overhead. We see ducks flying to the right and straightaway to the left. It is the same film reversed. See more »


Amy Sumner: David, give Niles to them. That's what they want. They just want him. Give them Niles, David!
David Sumner: They'll beat him to death.
Amy Sumner: I don't care! Get him out!
David Sumner: You really don't care, do you?
Amy Sumner: No, I don't.
David Sumner: No. I care. This is where I live. This is me. I will not allow violence against this house.
See more »


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »


Symphony No.94
(The "Surprise") (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Haydn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fantastic thriller that holds its own after 30 years
24 May 2003 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

Straw Dogs is an intense thriller that shows what can happen when you push even the most mild mannered man too far. Dustin Hoffman plays a mathematician who temporarily moves to a house in a rural village in England with his wife, a former resident of the town, played by Susan George. The two withstand incessant needling from several of the townsfolk until George is raped and assaulted and Hoffman is pushed over the edge.

Incidentally, right after watching this film I found a documentary on cable about filmmakers from the late '60s to late '70s and one of the directors profiled was Sam Peckinpah. I had always considered his films to be violent and vaguely shocking, which never surprised me, knowing that he was a hard-living maverick who did things his way - an element that is resplendent in most of his films. A brief mention of Straw Dogs was included in this documentary, where they described it as a "sexist film". There are obvious scenes in the film that could support this criticism, but I think that is overanalyzing the film with a political correctness that is out of place. While the two female characters are both victimized, Susan George also has her moments of empowerment. I may be a female, but I don't consider Peckinpah's tendency to make testosterone-driven films any more sexist than anything that Tarantino puts out, and I'm a big fan of his work as well. It's a dangerous line to draw when one labels a film due to what is *not* included in a film.

What this film does contain is much more stellar - Hoffman is beyond incredible in this film. His character development is amazing to experience. One criticism of the film that I heard from a friend who saw it before me was that it "dragged." I couldn't disagree more. The development of the story until the extremely violent climax is a perfect pace because it made me feel like I was sitting in a dentist chair, knowing that this low boil could explode at any time. After the dust settles, the viewer is left to decide whether Hoffman's character made the right decision, and left to speculate on the ramifications of the choices made. This is by far one of the best films I've seen in recent months and plan to seek out the newly released Criterion edition in my quest to find out as much about this film as I can.


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