National Lampoon's Animal House was released 45 years ago on July 28, 1978. It was the first in a series of National Lampoon movie comedies.
Featuring a cast of relative unknowns except for John Belushi and Donald Sutherland, many of the actors were appearing in their first film. It's directed buy Jon Landis and co-written by Harold Ramis, Doug Kenney and Chris Miller.
The premise is the wild-and-crazy Delta frat vs. the straight-laced Omega frat set at fictional Faber College in 1962. The colllege brass prefers the latter frat to the former and punishes Delta for poor grades and a number of pranks. Delta's famous for their toga parties featuring Otis Day & the Knights. Beer, pot and sex are high on their list of priorities, not going to class and graduating on time. They're the bad boys on campus.
Significant scenes include the famous cafeteria food fight, Delta's Otter making it wife Dean Wormer's wife, Bluto peeping at the girls' dorm, students smoking a joint with the prof, the administrative trial against Delta and the outrageous parade ending.
Animal House was a surprise success at the box office, raking in $141 million. It ushered in an era of stoner comedies that followed like Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon's Vacation and Club Paradise.
Where Is the Cast Now?
• John Belushi (Bluto) - The Saturday Night Live star's movie career was just beginning with this breakout role as the slovenly Delta masher. He'd appearred in 1941, Animal House, Continental Divide and Neighbors before overdosing in 1982.
• Tim Mathseon (Otter) - The movie's lead actor and Delta frontman stands out for his cool demenaor and clever grandstanding. He's also appeared in 1941, Fletch, Black Sheep, Van Wilder and Up the Creek, and received an Emmy nomination for his role in West Wing.
• Karen Allen (Katy) – She plays Boon's girlfirend who dislikes Delta's antics and hooks up with the prof instead. Allen went on co-star as Marion in threee Indiana Jones movies.
• Peter Riegert (Boon) - Delta's resident beatnik/hipster dates Katy until she dumps him. They sing a nice version of "Hey Paula." He co-starred in Crossing Delancey and appeared in The Sopranos, Traffic and Disjointed.
• Tom Hulce (Pinto) - Shy by comparison to the rest of the macho Deltas, he doesn't hold back when asking the professor to sell him some pot. Pinto ends up taking an underaged girl to the toga party. Hulce received an Oscar nom for his leading role in Amadeus and has appeared in Dominick and Eugene and Parenthood.
• Donald Sutherland (Prof. Jennings) - One of the few veteran actors in the cast, he only has a couple of scenes, including the smoke session with Boon, Katy and Pinto. Nominated twice for Emmys, Sutherland has appeared in such films as M*A*S*H, Klute, The Dirty Dozen, Ordinary People, JFK, A White Dry Season and The Hunger Games.
• James Widdoes (Hoover) - As president of Delta, he desperately tries to keep the frat from being expelled from campus. Widdoes went on to a lengthy career as the director of such TV shows as Mom, The Goldbergs, Disjointed and According to Jim.
• Kevin Bacon (Chip) - For his first film, he had a small role as an Omer43ga pledge. Bacon would go on to appear in Footloose, Diner, JFK and other movies.
• Verna Bloom (Marion Wormer) - She shows up at the party drunk and ends up in Otter's bed. Bloom appeared in such classics as Medium Cool, The Hired Hand and High Plains Drifter before dying in 2009.
• John Vernon (Dean Wormer) - The brunt of many of Delta's pranks, he comically huffed and puffed and still couldn't take the frat down. Vernon appeared in Topaz, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Dirty Harry before dying in 2005.
• Stephen Furst (Flounder) - The overweight rookie pledge is fresh meat for the Delta veterans who take control of his car and have fun with him in a supermarket. Furst, who also appeared in Up the Creek, passed away in 2017.
• Bruce McGill (D-Day) - The frat's gearhead transforms Flounder's Lincoln Continental into the Deathmobile that creates havoc during the parade. He followed with a long list of roles in such films as Silkwood, Club Paradise, My Cousin Vinny and Black Sheep.
• Mark Metcalf (Neidermeyer) - Fond of ROTC and uniforms, he's the uncoolest of all the Omegas. Metcalf appeared in Where the Buffalo Roam, but has otherwise had a limited film career.
• James Daughton (Greg) - Like Neidermeyer, he plays a Delta creep. Daughton has no film credits since 2002.
• Mary Lousie Weller (Mandy) - Greg's prissy girlfrend. She never acted again.
• Martha Smith (Babs) - Mandy's bestie. She had long runs in Days of Our Lives and Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
• Cesare Danova (Mayor DePasto) - He shows up at the parade as the Deltas lay waste to Main Street. Danova previously appeared in Don Juan; Tarzan, the Ape Man; Viva Las Vegas; and Mean Streets. He died in 1992.
• Sarah Holcombe (Clorette) - The underaged girl PInto takes to the party and makes out with (to be fair, he didn't kmow she was 15). Holcombe also appeared in Caddyshack.
• Eliza Garrett (Brunella) - One of the sorority girls the Delta guys invite to see Otis Day & the Knights at a local club. Garrett since married Eric Roberts.
• DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day) - He lip-syncs "Shout" at the toga party and "Shama Lama Ding Dong" at the club. Jessie has also apppeared in Car Wash, Where the Buffalo Roam and D.C. Cab.
• Jon Landis (director) - The success of Animal House opened the door for a number of Landis directing projects, including The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Three Amigos and Coming to America.
• Harold Ramis (co-writer) - The SCTV veteran went on to write Meatballs, Stripes, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Year One; direct Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, Club Paradise and Year One; and co-star in Stripes and Ghostbusters. He passed away in 2014.
• Doug Kenney (Stork, co-writer) - The National Lampoon editor also plays a Delta frat boy. He died in 1980.
• Chris Miller (co-writer) - The National Lampoon writer based much of the storyline on his experiences in a frat at Dartmouth. He also co-wrote Club Paradise.
MORE MOVIE ANNIVERSARIES