A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

85m (Germany), 91m, 8,212 feet
colour, 1.85:1
mono, Dolby Digital, English

An American horror film directed by Wes Craven. The first of the Nightmare on Elm Street series it spawned seven sequels – including a crossover with the equally successful Friday the 13th franchise – and was remade in 2010. The film was originally announced in Variety as early as 1982 1Variety 20 October 1982 pp.78, 182 but didn't go into production for another two years.

Plot Summary

The teenage of Elm Street start to die, one-by-one, apparently killed off by something in their . Nancy Thompson determines to find out what it is before she too falls victim and comes to believe that the killer is pedophile serial-killer Freddy Kreuger – but he was burnt to death by vengeful parents many years before.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Wes Craven
Director of Chase Scene: Sean S. Cunningham *
© MVMLXXXIV The Elm Street Venture
New Line Cinema, Media Home Entertainment, Inc. & Smart Egg Pictures present a Robert Shaye production. A Wes Craven film
Executive Producers: Stanley Dudelson and Joseph Wolf
Produced by: Robert Shaye
Co-Producer: Sara Risher
Associate Producer: John Burrows
Written by: Wes Craven
Director of Photography: Jacques Haitkin
Film Editor: Rick Shaine
Music by: Charles Bernstein
Sound Mixer: James LaRue
Costume Designer: Dana Lyman
Make-up: Kathy Logan
Hairstylist: RaMona [real name: Ramona Fleetwood]
Special Make-up Effects: David Miller
Mechanical Special Effects Designed by: Jim Doyle, Theatrical Engines
Production Designer: Gregg Fonseca

John Saxon (Lt [Donald] Thompson)
Ronee Blakley (Marge Thompson)
Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson)
Amanda Wyss (Tina Gray)
Nick Corri (Rod Lane)
Johnny Depp (Glen Lantz)
Charles Fleischer (Dr King)
Joseph Whipp (Sgt Parker)
Lin Shaye (teacher)
Robert Englund as Fred Krueger
Joe Unger (Sgt Garcia)
Mimi Meyer-Craven (nurse)
Jack Shea (minister)
Ed Call (Mr Lantz)
Sandy Lipton (Mrs Lantz)
David Andrews (foreman)
Jeff Levine (coroner)
Donna Woodrum (Tina's mom)
Shashawnee Hall (cop #1)
Carol Pritikin (cop #2)

Alternative Titles

Efialtis sto dromo me tis lefkes – Greece
Elm sokagi kâbusu – Turkey
Erumu gai no akumu – Japan
Freddy 1 – Les griffes de la nuit – France (DVD)
Les Griffes de la nuit – Canada (French), France
A Hora do Pesadelo – Brazil
Koszmar ulicy wiazowej – Poland
Nightmare dal profondo della notte – Italy
Nightmare – Mörderische Träume – West Germany
Painajainen Elm Streetillä – Finland
Pesadilla – Argentina
Pesadelo em Elm Street – Portugal
Pesadilla en Elm Street – Spain
Pesadilla en la calle del infierno – Venezuela
Rémálom az Elm utcában – Hungary
Strava u ulici Brestova – Serbia
Strava u ulici Brijestova – Croatia
Terror på Elm Street – Sweden

Part 2: Freddy's (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Freddy's (1988)
A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
New Nightmare (1994)
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Includes extracts from
The Evil Dead (1981)

Extracts included in
The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003)
100 Years of Horror (1996)
20 to 1: Adults Only 20 to 1: Movie Monsters (2010)
20 to 1: Memorable Movie Characters (2006)
20 to 1: Movie Heroes & Villains (2007)
The 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008)
The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010)
AFI's 100 Years… 100 Heroes & Villains (2003)
Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation (2001)
Dead Teenager Movie (2006)
The Directors: The Films of Wes Craven (1999)
Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors (1986)
Fear in the Dark (1991)
The Special (1988)
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Film (2006)
Heartstoppers: Horror at the Movies (1992)
The House That Freddy Built (2006)
I Love the '80s Strikes Back: 1984 (2003)
Masters of Horror (2002)
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2006)
Night Terrors (2006)
The Perfect Scary Movie (2005)
Return to Edge City (2005)
SexTV: Dark Desires Sexuality in the Horror Film (2003)
Stephen King's World of Horror (1986)
Super Secret Movie Rules: Slashers (2004)
Svengoolie: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2000)

See also
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Bogus Witch Project (2000)
Brainscan (1994)
Bride of Chucky (1998)
Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre (2005)
Cut (2000)
Deadly Blessing (1981)
Discworld II: Missing Presumed…!? (1996)
Dragnet (1987)
Emily Booth's GoreZone Magazine Movie Massacre: Part 1 (2010)
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Final Destination (2000)
Hobgoblins (1987)
Horror Friends (2004)
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Massive Attack: Eleven Promos (2001)
Mikey (1992)
Mørkeræd (1998)
Never Rewind the Buzzcocks (1999)
NewsRadio: Daydream (1996)
A Nightmare on Castro Street (2002)
Nightmare on Dyke Street (1992)
Nightmare on Lesbian Street (1995)
Nightmare on Porn Street (1988)
The Nutty Professor (1996)
Poltergeist (1982)
Return of the Living Dead III (1993)
Scary Movie (2000)
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Scream (1996)
Scream 2 (1997)
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth (2000)
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Spice World (1997)
Stan Helsing (2009)
Transylvania Twist (1989)
Urban Legend (1998)
Viernes 13 XXL (2001)
A Wish for Wings That Work (1991)


Variety 7 November 1984 p.18
[A] highly imaginative horror film that provides the requisite shocks to keep fans of the genre happy. Absence of a powerful dramatic payoff will limit its breakout potential, however. Unlike the summer release “Dreamscape,” which posed a nightmare vision within a far-fetched science fiction framework, “Elm Street” relies upon supernatural horror. […] Writer-director Wes Craven tantalizingly merges dreams with the ensuing wake-up reality but fails to tie up his thematic threads satisfyingly at the conclusion. Atmosphere is spooky with sustained suspense and admirable special effects work on a low budget. The young cast headed by Langenkamp is uniformly effective, for once believably approximating the look and behavior of young teens. Adult cast is strictly functional, with Robert Englund properly frightening under tons of monster makeup and Langenkamp's screen mom, Ronee Blakley, scoring in one riveting scene when she reveals the neighborhood's dark secret. – from a review by Lor

Screen International no.511 (24 August 1985) p.79
Wes Craven certainly doesn't believe in wasting a foot of footage. Something horrific and preferably bloody must be seen to be happening or about to happen every minute, even if it means complicating the plot with extra characters and introducing new threads of story. This is a concentration of girls at risk hack an' slashings but given the anti-sexist twist of a canny and courageous heroine at risk only because she is surrounded by so many dimwit fellers. Not that Craven is grinding any axes (not in the metaphorical sense, anyway); he has contrived an ingeniously different storyline which allows him to take his horror effects as far over the top as he wishes while evading the ludicrous extremes of the more patronisingly down market examples of schlock horrors. Whatever else, he gives us never a dull moment. – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow

The Listener vol.114 no.2925 (5 September 1985) p.33
If Rambo is ‘ripping yarn', then this nauseating slasher is ‘superior genre' […] In movies, which are after all, only mechanical dreams, the Vietnamese enemy and Middle American adolescents merge into the same victim-villain. They, it, we have to be punished in the most horrifying way by a Rambo-Fred figure. The real question is: what have we done to deserve this? – from a review by Clancy Sigal

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.52 no.620 (September 1985) pp.283-284
A Nightmare on Elm Street [finds] Craven emerging from his recent career slump (Swamp Thing, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2, Invitation to Hell) with a fine, perhaps definitive, bogey man to back him up. The video censors will doubtless look askance at the do-it-yourself sequence in which Fred Krueger fashions a glove with razor-sharp talons, but the killer's trademark claw provides the film's scariest images as Krueger slices himself open, slashes his way into the real world, and looms through a distended wall above a sleeping innocent. Considered as a straightforward co-ed killer film, Nightmare is a superior example of an over-worked genre, thanks to Craven's skill at organising individual shock scenes and getting neat performances out of his mostly young cast. Robert Englund, of course, steals all his scenes with porkpie hat, disgustingly striped jersey, and maniacal laugh, but heroine Heather Langenkamp also makes a strong first impression, summing up in one line the fears of an imperilled generation of movie . “God”, she gasps after several sleepless days and a close call with Fred Krueger, “I look twenty years old”. – from a review by Kim Newman



  • Alternative Cinema no.8 p.55 – review
  • American Cinematographer vol.87 no.12 (December 2006) p.20 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Playback: A Nightmare on Elm Street by Jim Hemphill)
  • Cinefantastique vol.15 no.3 (July 1985) pp.40-42; 43 – article; review
  • Cinefantastique vol.18 no.5 (July 1988) pp.8-10; 11 – illustrated articles (Bye bye, Freddy! Elm Street creator Wes Craven quits series by Dann Gire; New Line Cinema on working with Wes Craven by Frederick S. Clarke)
  • Cinefantastique vol.15 no.2 p.52 – review
  • Cinefex no.58 (June 1994) pp.103-104 – illustrated article (Kevin Yagher by Marc Derro)
  • Cinema Papers no.53 (September 1985) pp.64-65 – illustrated credits, review (by Tom Ryan)
  • City Limits no.204 (30 August 1985) pp.14; 23 – interview with Wes Craven (Nancy wins through by Kim Newman); review
  • The Dark Side no.82 p.26 – review
  • Deathray no.20 (August/September 2009) pp.156-163 – illustrated article (Time Trap: Destination: 1984 by Jes Bickham and Matt Bielby)
  • Écran Fantastique no.52 (January 1985) p.10 – note (Cineflash: Echos de tournage by Glles Polinien)
  • Écran Fantastique no.54 (March 1985) pp.8; 24-30; 31-33 (France) – illustrated interview with Wes Craven; illustrated interview with Jim Doyle
  • Empire no.1 (June/July 1989) pp.60-64 – illustrated credits, review; illustrated article (Nightmare on the high street by Kim Newman)
  • Empire November 1998 p.138 – credits, review
  • Empire no.203 (May 2006) pp.84-85 – illustrated article (The Top 10 dream sequences by Nick de Semlyen)
  • Empire no.215 (May 2007) pp.176-177 – illustrated article (The top 10 worst special effects by Simon Crook)
  • Empire no.237 (March 2009) pp.90-99 – illustrated article (Freddy vs Jason by Chris Hewitt and Adam Smith)
  • Entertainment Weekly no.495 (23 July 1999) pp.25-30 – illustrated article (25 scariest movies of all time)
  • Fangoria no.154 p.30 – review
  • Fangoria no.190 (March 2000) p,74 – illustrated DVD review (DVD dungeon by Michael Gingold and Matthew Kiernan)
  • Fangoria no.234 p.30 – illustrated article (Fango's Top 25: 1984 by Doug Bradley)
  • Fangoria no.293 May 2010 pp.59-64 – illustrated interview (They are still his children: Part One by Lee Gambin)
  • Fear no.5 p.30 – article
  • Film Criticism vol.33 no.3 (Spring 2009) pp.17-33 – article (Razors in the Dreamscape: Revisiting A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Slasher Film by James Kendric)
  • Film Review Special no.42 Psycho p.91-92 – illustrated DVD review (The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection by Grant Kempster and David Miller)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.284 no.23 (8 November 1984) pp.3, 6 – credits, review
  • Jeune Cinéma no.167 (June 1985) pp.36-37 (France) – article
  • Journal of Popular Film & Television vol.19 no.1 (Spring 1991) pp.36-43 – illustrated article (Bogeyman from the id: nightmare and reality in Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street by Douglas L. Rathgeb)
  • Journal of Popular Film & Television vol.29 no.2 (Summer 2001) pp.63-73 – illustrated article (Final Girls and terrible youths: transgression in 1980s slasher horror by Sarah Trenconsky)
  • The Listener vol.114 no.2925 (5 September 1985) p.33 – review (by Clancy Sigal)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.52 no.620 (September 1985) pp.283-284 – credits, synopsis, review (by Kim Newman)
  • Music from the Movies no.48/49 (2006) p.38 – soundtrack review (Film Music Review: Archival by Michael Beek)
  • Photoplay vol.36 no.10 (October 1985) pp.56-57 – illustrated article (Hollywood Nightmares by Neil Norman)
  • Positif no.343 (September 1989) pp.50-53 (France) – article (Fantastique by Alain Garsault)
  • Premiere vol.2 no.10 (June 1989) pp.70, 72 – review (Premiere Top 20 by Scott Immergut)
  • Quarterly Review of Film and Video vol.17 no.3 (October 2000) pp.211-220 – illustrated article (Female paranoia as survival skill: reason or pathology in Nightmare on Elm Street by Jonathan Markovitz)
  • Samhain no.4 p.20 – review
  • Samhain no.70 p.39 – review
  • Scarlet Street no.30 p.20 – review
  • Screen International no.458 (11 August 1984) p.15 – credits
  • Screen International no.511 (24 August 1985) p.79 – review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Shivers no.76 p.22 – article
  • Starburst Yearbook 1992 p.64-66 – illustrated interview (Freddy's make-up by Simon Bacal)
  • Strange Adventures no.54 (vol.5 no.6 June 1994) – illustrated review (by Jeff Young)
  • Time Out no.784 (29 August 1985) pp.18-19l 48 – illustrated interview with Wes Craven; illustrated review
  • Variety 20 October 1982 pp.78, 182 – note (New Line intro's Xtro shocker, seeks fiscal partners at Mifed)
  • Variety 7 November 1984 p.18 – credits, review (by Lor)
  • Video World May 1986 p.18 – review
  • Video Watchdog no.34 pp.6-7 – review
  • Video Watchdog no.36 p.50 – review


  • The New York Times 9 November 1984 p.C10 – review (Screen: ‘Nightmare' by Vincent Canby)


  • Anatomy of the Slasher Film: A Theoretical Analysis by Sotiris Petridis pp.2, 12, 19, 33, 35, 39, 48, 56, 57, 62, 63, 80, 83, 104, 129, 136, 141, 151
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.399-400 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Best 80s Movies by Helen O'Hara pp.78-79 – illustrated review
  • A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series by Ken Hanke pp.303-307; 310 – credits, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.283
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.405
  • The Films of the Eighties by Douglas Brode pp.119-120 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan pp.397-398
  • Hoffman's Guide to Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.264 – credits, review
  • Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death by James Marriott & Kim Newman pp.247-248
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.359 – credits
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.404-408 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.37-40
  • The Pocket Essential Slasher Movies by Mark Whitehead pp.53-55
  • Retro Screams: Terror in the New Millennium by Christopher T. Koetting pp.128-141; 386-387 – illustrated essay; credits
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes: An Illustrated Filmography, with Plot Synopses and Critical Commentary by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.354 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) p.199
  • Top 100 Horror Movies by Gary Gerani pp.87-89 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Vampire in Science Fiction Film and Literature by Paul Meehan p.160