Straw Dogs

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Released 1971

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Movie Summary

Director:
Sam Peckinpah
Released:
1971
Rating:
R
Straw Dogs is a controversial 1971 drama directed by Sam Peckinpah based on The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams. David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) is a mathematician and pacifist who decides to escape from the Vietnam-era controversy in the United States by moving to a small village in Britain with his wife, Amy (Susan George). David immediately attracts negative attention from a tough gang of local construction workers repairing his house, including Chris Cawsey (Jim Norton), Norman Scutt (Ken Hutchison), and Phil Riddaway (Donald Webster). They think he is a spineless weakling, and they don't care for his academic ways. Tension heats up between David and the men as they bully him, play violent jokes, and violate his wife sexually. David attempts to avoid conflict with them at all costs, but he must uncover his own rage buried deep inside when the men force him into one last violent standoff.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Slant Magazine Chuck Bowen

    One of the most ambiguous, neurotic, and disturbing of all American films.

  • 75

    Slant Magazine Nick Schager

    Sitting through Peckinpah's controversial classic is not unlike watching a lit fuse make its slow, inexorable way toward its combustible destination—the taut build-up is as shock...

  • 50

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The most offensive thing about the movie is its hypocrisy; it is totally committed to the pornography of violence, but lays on the moral outrage with a shovel.

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Action & Adventure

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Thrillers