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Straw Dogs

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United Kingdom, United States · 1971
Rated R · 1h 56m
Director Sam Peckinpah
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T. P. McKenna
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller

David Sumner, a mild-mannered academic from the United States, marries Amy, an Englishwoman. In order to escape a hectic stateside lifestyle, David and his wife relocate to the small town in rural Cornwall where Amy was raised. There, David is ostracized by the brutish men of the village, including Amy's old flame, Charlie. Eventually the taunts escalate, and two of the locals rape Amy. This sexual assault awakes a shockingly violent side of David.

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Variety by

Director Sam Peckinpah indulges himself in an orgy of unparalleled violence and nastiness with undertones of sexual repression in this production.


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

Straw Dogs has the heat of personal commitment and the authority of deep (if bitter) contemplation. It is also moviemaking of a very high order.


Slant Magazine by 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 shocking and vicious as its fiery conclusion is inevitable.


The New Yorker by Pauline Kael

Despite Peckinpah’s artistry, there’s something basically grim and crude in Straw Dogs. It’s no news that men are capable of violence, but while most of us want to find ways to control that violence, Sam Peckinpah wants us to know that that’s all hypocrisy.


Chicago Sun-Times by 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.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Though studio interference and his own personal demons hampered his later work, Straw Dogs shows a master in control of his effects, which made an artist of Peckinpah's sensibility an especially dangerous man.

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