Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

An American Werewolf in London (1981)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

An American Werewolf in London (1981, US/UK)

In writer/director John Landis' hip horror/black comedy film:

  • the opening moon theme-related song: Bobby Vinton's singing of "Blue Moon"
  • the warning by the locals in a British pub to two American student backpackers David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) to "stay off the moors!"
  • the werewolf attack in the moors, leaving Jack dead and David infected with lycanthropy
  • the disorienting 'dream within a dream' sequence in which wounded and hospitalized backpacker David had dreams of an attack by machine-gun-toting Nazi werewolves who killed his family and burned his house - and a second dream within the hospital in which a knife-wielding Nazi werewolf stabbed a nurse in the heart - and then David woke up again
  • the darkly comic haunting of David by the decomposing apparition of his friend Jack, warning him of his impending curse; at one point undead Jack complained about how his girlfriend reacted to his death: ("Debbie Klein cried a lot. So, so, you know what she does? She's soooo grief-stricken, she runs to find solace in Mark Levine's asshole! Life mocks me even in death!")
  • the horrific transformation scene (an Academy Award-winner for Best Makeup for Rich Baker) of David turning into a fearful werewolflycanthrope - his body, face, and limbs crunched and his skin bubbled as it grew hair and his body stretched out and was elongated - to the tune of "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Werewolf Transformation Scene
  • the chilling stalking scene of one victim in the British Underground subway (with the werewolf's POV) who was finally caught and devoured on an ascending escalator by David
  • the prologue to the love scene between David and his beautiful nurse girlfriend Alex Price (Jenny Agutter), when she prefaced her interest in him in her apartment with: "I'll be perfectly honest with you, David. I'm not in the habit of bringing home stray, young American men....I find you very attractive and a little bit sad...I've had seven lovers in my life, three of which were one-night stands. I don't know what I'm trying to say. Perhaps you'd like to watch telly whilst I take a shower" - shortly later, he joined her in the shower before love-making, to the tune of "Moondance" by Van Morrison
  • the scene in which all of David's victims' similarly-decomposing ghosts confronted him in a porno theater - furious at David for killing them and turning them into werewolves
  • the finale killing spree - including a car-wreck climax in Piccadilly Circus
Concluding Sequence - Death of David
  • the concluding sequence when Alex came up to cornered werewolf David in an alleyway, and implored him: "David, please, please let me help you. (growling) I love you, David" - police opened fire with guns blazing behind her when the wolf snarled and attacked, and afterwards stared down at David's nude corpse; Alex began crying as the end credits began to scroll with a closing rendition of "Blue Moon" by the American doo-wop band The Marcels

Backpacking Attack

"Dream Within a Dream" Sequence

Undead Jack
(Griffin Dunne)

Stalking of Victim in British Underground

David's Love Affair with Alex


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z