Alligator – USA, 1980


‘A frightening movie with a sense of fun!’

Alligator is a 1980 American monster movie, directed by Lewis Teague (Cujo; Cat’s Eye) from a screenplay by John Sayles (Piranha). It stars Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Henry Silva and Michael V. Gazzo.

The film plays on a prevalent urban legend of the era which held that rogue alligators lived in the New York sewers preying on the homeless and unwary. There had been a short lived craze of owning baby alligators as pets which led to many being allegedly flushed down toilets when they began to grow too big for a domestic setting.

The film received praise from critics for its intentional satirising and, in 1991, an apparent sequel was released, titled Alligator II: The Mutation. Despite the title, this film shared no characters or actors with the original, and the plot was essentially a retread of the first film.

Alligator was a big hit in the early days of video, seemingly being available in every British rental store on the Intervision label.

A laconic police officer named David Madison (Forster) and a reptile expert named Marisa Kendall (Riker) try to stop a deadly giant alligator that is killing humans in the sewers of Chicago…

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“This flick easily knocks the socks off some recent killer gator epics (Lake Placid anyone?). Alligator isn’t gonna change your world, but it’s a fun flick that doesn’t overstay its welcome.” Lawrence P Raffel, Monsters at Play

“There is an odd comedic tone to Alligator that is laced into the characters and the dialogue in the film. It is clearly self aware about what it is, and mocks itself lightly while not ruining the genuine monster movie tone. It never drifts so far as to become outright parody, which is a good thing in my opinion. This is a movie that hits right on the nose of the tropes and characteristic of a Jaws-era monster thriller, and it plays with them well.” Gordon Maples, Misan[trope]y

Alligator is a pretty neat flick, miles ahead of its contemporaries like Tentacles. If only the endless supply of similar films (recent examples include Anaconda and Relic) had as much going for them as this film, we would all be up to our ears in rampaging animal heaven. Killer beast devotees should definitely pick this up… Scott Hamilton, Stomp Tokyo

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” … has a tongue in cheek tone which is both admirable and invigorating, and the spatial potential of claustrophobic sewer systems with the ever present sound of dripping water adds a great deal of atmosphere to the piece. An enjoyable film which is able to transcend its limitations (poor model work, plot inconsistencies) to emerge as a minor classic in the ‘Revolt of Nature’ subgenre.” Shaun Anderson, The Celluloid Highway

” …an effective and unpretentious treat.” Time Out (London)

Cast and characters:

  • Frederick Long as Sparks
  • Ed Brodow as Ross
  • Larry Margo as Stanley
  • Philip Luther as Purdy
  • John F. Goff as Ashe
  • Elizabeth Halsey as policewoman
  • Barry Chase as policeman 1
  • Richard Partlow as policeman 2
  • Jerado Decordovier as gator vendor 1 (credited as Jeradio De Cordovier)
  • Dick Richards as gator vendor 2
  • Vincent De Stefano as gator vendor 3
  • JoJo D’Amore as gator vendor 4 (credited as Jo Jo D’Amore)
  • Bella Bruck as Dot
  • Kendall Carly Browne as Ann
  • Danny Baseda as radioman
  • Tink Williams as Hector
  • Corkey Ford as Chi Chi (credited as Corky Ford)
  • Charles R. Penland as Tyrone
  • Anita Keith as old lady
  • Mike Mazurki as gatekeeper (credited as Michael Mazurki)
  • Margaret Muse as Society Matron
  • Michael Misita as reporter 1
  • Harold Greene as reporter 2
  • Jim Alquist as reporter 3
  • Margie Platt as bride
  • Nike Zachmanoglou as maid at party
  • Gloria Morrison as woman at bar-b-que

alligator 1980 lewis teague




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Buy Alligator and Alligator 2 on DVD from


Wikipedia | IMDb


One Comment on “Alligator – USA, 1980”

  1. Pretty much what happens when you get a solid director/screenwriter team to helm your movie. The monster action works as does the comedy and satire. Amazing how no one seems to be able to make the formula work anymore.

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