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      PG 1971 1h 35m Horror List
      52% Tomatometer 23 Reviews 37% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Nagged by his mother (Elsa Lanchester), bullied by his boss (Ernest Borgnine), a young man (Bruce Davison) trains mansion rats to kill for him. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Consensus

      Willard has an intriguing character study lurking within - but much of those elements, like many of the movie's characters, are swallowed up by rats.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Vincent Canby New York Times The movie, however, persists in crossing its lines of stimulation, resulting in a series of little short-circuits that effectively limit pleasure to an occasional line or bit of business. May 9, 2005 Full Review Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times What is it in this film that touches some deep-buried nerve in the public psyche? Why does wholesome family entertainment fade away, while rats make millions? Rated: 2/4 Oct 23, 2004 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Ragged. Rated: 2.5/4 Dec 28, 2021 Full Review David Bax Battleship Pretension Mann's shoddy staging, haphazard framing (he seems to be allergic to close-ups) and low-contrast lighting sap the drama and tension from most of the movie. The ending is cool, though. Sep 28, 2018 Full Review Brian Orndorf It's brave work, and the role seems tailor-made for the actor, who's enjoyed an entire career playing easily winded jerks, with Willard's descent into authority and panic vividly captured. Sep 28, 2018 Full Review Jim Knipfel Den of Geek It's a complex and sympathetic character study and for a few misfits in the audience, it gave us a protagonist we could finally identify with and a film that helped define our later lives. Sep 28, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (93) audience reviews
      Wayne K Within about 20 minutes of watching Williard I thought to myself ‘Haven’t I seen this kind of thing before?’ The concept of humans befriending animals and forming a bizarre and even dangerous bond with them was a concept that provided fertile ground for countess B-movie makers. Our lead is a man who, dissatisfied with his life and browbeaten by everyone around him, finds solace in a rapidly expanding colony of rats that live below his mother’s house. I’m sure I’d seen a film before that was literally title ‘Rats’ that had many similar elements. Willard itself it like a monster movie crossed with Psycho. It tries to delve into the psychology of a perpetually under the thumb individual who slowly loses his mind, but it also wants to throw in lots of silly antics involved his pets, which are mostly played for comic effect. Sadly, the film never leans heavily enough into either of these areas to establish an actual tone, and as a result many of the scenes just feeling awkward and strange, a fact that isn’t helped by the editing. It’s billed as a horror film, but I can only see it being scary or shocking to musophobics. It apparently triggered an entire spate of animal-centric horror films, many of which I’m sure are more enjoyable than this one. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 05/13/24 Full Review Michael C The original version of "Willard' does have the benefit of a very good cast. The actors all do well in their respective roles from star Bruce Davison to the late Ernest Borgnine and the late Elsa Lanchester. The script is for the most part well written (Though not perfect.). I liked where the story ultimately ended up. However, that is pretty much the only good thing to say about the movie. Overall, "Willard" is rather dull. It was very slow at times and while I said previously that the cast did well in their respective roles, everybody accept the character of Joan (Played by the late Sandra Locke.) are terrible people. They are all rude and obnoxious jackasses that just made me cringe every time they were on screen. Willard is supposed to be the hero of the movie as you all know, but he is also lazy, stupid and unappreciative of those who are trying to help him. While it is true that his employer is trying to ruin Willard's life everybody else wants to help him and he either insults them or foolishly turns them away when he should be accepting of their assistance. The climax of the movie was very poorly staged. The scenes of the rats attacking Ernest Borgnine's character look too stupid to be believed. The rats are obviously being thrown at him by crew members off camera. Who know rats could fly? I often wonder why the movie was so popular because "Willard" is loaded with flaws and is rather dull all things considered. It is not a movie I would recommend. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/04/24 Full Review Ted B 1.5 stars; Even by the standards of the Horror movies in the '70s, of which I am not a fan, this movie sucks. I can't find anything to put in the positive column. Earnest Borgnine and Elsa Lancaster were just collecting retirement. Bruce Davidson and Sandra Locke.... what were you thinking??? Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 01/29/24 Full Review Dallas H It is the original love story we needed before Ratatouille (2007) came along and ruined it for everyone. I imagine that if Willard were around today, he would have an Instagram account dedicated to Ben, just like we see all the pop celebs do for their little pipsqueak dogs. Why can't an introvert live in peace in the basement of his mom's house, minding his own business with his hobbies and interests when he isn't working at his tedious day job? Speaking of his mom, it's interesting to think it is the same actress who portrays the Bride of Frankenstein; no joke. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/28/24 Full Review Red B This is such a dumb idea for a movie. It never really has a point beyond Willard befriends rats, they kill a few people and they kill him. There's not much else and is really weird more than scary or creepy. This drags terribly and never builds tension. Things that should happen in the first 15 minutes happen over an hour in. The tone is just weird also and isn't really good. I can't tell you if this is a horror movie, weird drama, or thriller. Stuff just sort of happens with a very loose bad plot holding it together. The cat, killing the guy who gets the 8K check, all feel pointless and add nothing. The rat shots are terrible and nothing but close ups, bad kills, and just dumb scenes with Willard talking to them. It's actually well shot outside of those scenes. Everything else about it is just ok. Willard isn't that likeable and just weird. Ernest is the best thing and isn't bad. This just is a bad idea for a film in general and never really does anything until it gets to bizarre dumb scenes. Skip this. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 09/26/23 Full Review Tic Toc M First off, this is not a "horror" movie, it's a revenge story with a dash of creepiness. If this was made in the 50s, they'd be calling it a b-movie cult classic but because it's from 1971, when some American cinema was starting to turn out high-art masterpieces every three weeks, even in the horror genre, it's held to a much higher standard. I see it compared to "Carrie" a bit, that's fair. I compare Willard a bit to Harold from "Harold And Maude", which came out later in '71. It's basically "Harold & Maude" meets "Carrie". With rats! It's no mystery why this was a hit. June of '71? School's out, going on a date, maybe to the Drive-In.....a no-brainer. Ernest Borgnine is great, Elsa Lanchester is great, Bruce Davidson is great. It's "WIlliard"! There ain't no other movie like it! You flip the channels late at night, nothing else is on, you watch "Willard", lol. I'm not even sure if until a couple of hours ago I had ever actually seen the movie from the very beginning. If you want a cinematic masterpiece from 1971, you watch "Carnal Knowledge", "A Clockwork Orange" etc. But "Willard" is exactly what it set out to do, a cheap thrill on a Saturday night.....and unlike 98% of those types of movies, this one holds up because of the acting and the very simple and forever relatable premise. A picked-on loner makes friends with rats and uses them to exact his revenge. Pass the popcorn, please. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 09/03/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Nagged by his mother (Elsa Lanchester), bullied by his boss (Ernest Borgnine), a young man (Bruce Davison) trains mansion rats to kill for him.
      Daniel Mann
      Charles A. Pratt
      Gilbert Ralston
      Production Co
      Bing Crosby Productions
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      May 16, 2017
      1h 35m
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