Animal House - John Landis (1978)




A cult movie, a prototype for the college genre (afterwards they arrived American Pie, Van Wilder, Porky's The College Years and so on) and the first appearance of a nonconformist and brutal character, the student (?) John "Bluto" Blutarsky interpreted by John Belushi, soon after again together with director Jon Landis in  Blues Brothers with the very similar character Jakie Blues. The movie starts as a parody of the well known fiction and films about the 50s and 60s years, seen as the "age of innocence" before the 1968 (or the 1963, the year of JFK assassination) as Happy Days or American Graffiti, the George Lucas movie of 1973.

The story / Main characters / Soundtrack / Selection of images / Their adult life


The story


The story is quite simple and it's based around two "fresher", Pinto (Tom Hulce) and Flounder (the nickname decided by Bluto (Stephen Furst). They have to choice the club, and they started from the good boys' one, Omega it's the name. They are gently invited to remain apart with other unlucky members, and they decided so to try another club, the rival of Omega, the Delta club. A total chaos, strange guys (as Bluto), they are aware that they are going probably to meet several troubles, but it's too much funny, and so they join the Delta.

The remaining of the story is based on the rivality of the two clubs and the actions they invent to defy the "enemy". In this way the other characters are presented: the conscious epicurean Otter (Tim Matheson), the girl of the Delta Katy (Karen Allen) and her boy-friend Boon (Peter Reiter), room mate and accomplice of Otter, the mad biker D-Day (Bruce McGill), Hoover, the president of the Delta Club, the teacher Jennings, interpreted by Donald Sutherland, marijuana smoker and very much interested to Katy, and the rivals, the perfect american boys Neidermeyer and Marmalard and their girls Mandy and Babs, very much appreciated by Bluto and by the other Delta guys.

Delta boys' jokes and transgressions can be read as a reaction to the fifties habits or, more simply, as the consciousness to be the new generation, with new habits and no respect for the old ones. And the perfect representation of the new era is the famous Toga party, no limits, no respect, zero tolerance for the high-minded feelings.

The parade in the town nearby the college is the final apotheosis of the movie, a real battle between the two clubs involving all the population, with Bluto dressed as the pirates and that howls "no prisoners!" and moreover the maximum offense to the spirit of the early sixties, racial integration and other high ideals, the black and white hands separating together (more realistically).

The best gags are the final ones, as in American Graffiti the spectators are informed about the adult life of all these boys and girls, and we learn so how much the real life is full of surprises.

Main characters

Delta Club Guys

John Belushi :  John 'Bluto' Blutarsky
Tom Hulce :  Larry 'Pinto' Kroger
Tim Matheson :  Eric 'Otter' Stratton
Stephen Furst :  Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman
Peter Riegert :  Donald 'Boon' Schoenstein
Bruce McGill :  Daniel Simpson 'D-Day' Day
James Widdoes :  Robert Hoover (Delta president)
Karen Allen :  Katy
Sarah Holcomb :  Clorette DePasto (major's daughter)

The adults

John Vernon :  Vernon Wormer (the Dean)
Verna Bloom :  Marion Wormer (Dean's wife)
Cesare Danova :  Carmine DePasto (the Major and car seller)

The good guys of the Omega

James Daughton :  Greg Marmalard (Omega president, the "politic man")
Mark Metcalf :  Doug Neidermeyer (the "soldier")
Martha Smith :  Barbara Sue 'Babs' Jansen (Greg's fiancé)
Mary Louise Weller :  Mandy Pepperidge (the preferred by Blutarsky)

The external

Jessie DeWayne  :  Otis Day (R&B singer)
Donald Sutherland :  Prof. Dave Jennings




The soundtrack was curated by the composer and actor Stephen Bishop and is organized mainly around R&B songs, at the time (the film action is on 1962) mostly black music, not the music the large part of white students were usual to listen to. Between the characters it's even included a fictional R&B singer with his group, Otis Day and The Knights (Jessie DeWayne, one of the Knights is Robert Cray, a well known blues singer and guitarist).
The main tune is without doubt Louie Louie by the Kingsmen (actually a hit of 1962) with its "big beat" is a good representation of an era that it's changing. All the songs are carefully selected, actually available on that November of the 1962.




Some information

Film's situation

Animal House / Dream Girl

Stephen Bishop

Main theme. Stephen Bishop was also the husband of the main female actor in the movie, Karen Allen


Louie Louie

The Kingsmen 

A prototype of the garage-band sound and the unique hit for this band from Portland, Oregon.

The music inside the Delta when Pinto and Flounder ask to Bluto to enter the club, a very different atmosphere in comparison with the Omega, where a classic piano could be heard instead.

Money (That's What I Want)

Barrett Strong

A song that should be famous few years later thanks to the Beatles' cover. Originally it was a R&B on 1961 of the singer Barrett Strong.

Pinto and Flounder are finally accepted and they can now enter the Delta.

Hey Paula

Paul and Paula

Also in this case a unique hit for the duo Paul & Paula (real names Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson). They published the song initially as Jill & Ray, and afterwards, coherently with the lyrics, they decided to change the duo's name in Paul and Paula.
The song was a huge success in the first months of the 1963, and in 1962 was published only by a minor label, at the end of the year, so in this case there is a little imperfection in the times.

Boon and Katy sing together this romantic song under the effect of the joint they smoke at Professor Jenning house.

Wonderful World

Sam Cooke

A very well known song from a champion of soul music.

The song in background during the cafeteria episode, it could be actually a "wonderful world", without Bluto ...

Let's Dance

Chris Montez

Chris Montez was a Hispanic rocker, as Ritchie Valens, This strong twist style song, was his first hit on 1962, afterwards he followed the composer Herb Alpert towards the easy listening style.

This famous twist sounds in background, as a dance music, during the inevitable punch-up between the Delta guys leaded by Bluto and the "soldiers" of Neidermeyer following the performances of Bluto in the cafeteria.

Who's Sorry Now

Connie Francis



Twistin' The Night Away

Sam Cooke

Anther R&B to be danced from the great Sam Cooke.

At the Toga party, it's the song that welcomes the persons entering the party.

The Cherry Song Kingston Trio

A sweet folk ballad, one of the hits of teh Kingston Trio, a famous group of the folk revival (50s . 60s).

During the Toga party, a well-mannered student (Stephen Bishop himself) is playing this gentle song to a little group of very involved student girls, when Bluto arrives. He is disturbed by this song and by this atmosphere, so much far away from his idea of a funny party. Simply, he smashes the guitar of the guy on the wall giving then to him only this explanation: "Excuse me". Evidently, high-minded feelings and folk music are now the past, and it's not necessary even to explain it.


Isley Brothers

A minor-hit in the 1959 when the song was published, but in the following years a model for the black music.

The song performed by Otis Day & The Knights, special guest stars at the Toga Party.

Shama Lama Ding Dong

Lloyd Williams

It should be an original song by Lloyd Williams the actual singer of the song performed by Otis Day (the actor Jessie DeWayne does not sing really)

Some of Delta boys meet again the Knights and Otis Day during a tour in searching of girls following the tremendous Otter and his tremendous trick. They unfortunately have arrived in a "black-only" nightclub and, despite the racial integration effort, they are not so popular as white young boys. Maybe you can expect that Otis Day should intercede for them, since he knows the whole crew. Not at all, they are pushed out of the pub and, as perfect scoundrels, they leave there the girls.

Tossin' And Turnin'

Bobby Lewis

A blues-soul performer of the early sixties, his unique big hit was this song, published on 1961.

On the background during the transformation of The Lincoln Continetal, the luxury car of Flounder's brother, in the final weapon for the battle against the Omega guys at the city parade.

Animal House

Stephen Bishop

The movie theme, now with lyrics.

The song in background during film credits.


Images selection


A short selection of images taken by the film Animal House by John Landis.

Greg welcomes Flounder at the Club Omega Pinto and Flounder are going, a little bit worried, to the Delta Club
Delta president welcomes them in a very different way, together with Katy as bar waitress Bluto - John Belushi - introduces himself
The difficult military training of the soldier Flounder D-Day and Bluto show to Flounder some of the Delta secrets
Bluto in action.
His objective: the girls' house
Mandy is going to bed just in this moment
Lucky man ... ... everything is going well
A strategic position. But in the uncut version, Mandy (Mary Louise Weller) goes ahead.
But, sorry, the censorship is still alive 47 years after and we must delete these two images - October 2015)
Bluto is enchanted ... ... and finally reach the ground
A student (Stephen Bishop) is gently performing a beatufil folk song. Many girls are surrounding him listening to the sweet melody.
Bluto is not convnced Definitely not convinced
A fast reaction ... ... to cancel this sound so far away from his personal idea of a "Toga Party".
Otter is following his plain (politically incorrect) to find a girl for Friday night. The nice girl is conquered.
Otis Day, the famous rhythm & blues singer, Pinto and Flounder, worried, at the "for black-only" nightclub.
Greg in her girlfriend Babs room (a Barbie's house) It's Friday night also for Babs and Greg.
Otter try to start a conversation with a fascinating lady (he will realize afterwards that she's the Dean's wife) Otter after the physical rendezvous with the Omega's guys. The final countdown has started.
White and black can live together in peace, and they must shake the hands ... almost until Bluto and the other Delta guys introduce some variation in the city parade. The fanatic Neidermeyer leads his special corps.
The city parade becomes a big mess. The chaos rules.
"Everything is ok .... everything is ok!" Pinto introduce himself to Sarah parents (incidentally, the city Major and his wife). Maybe it's not a good moment.
"Gregory Marmalard, White house aide, raped in prison, 1974" "Douglas C. Neidermeyer. Killed in  Vietnam by his own troops"
"Daniel Simpson Day (D-Day). Missing" "No prisoners!"
"Senator  & Mrs. John Blutarsky, Washington D.C." "Animal House"

Their adult life


John 'Bluto' Blutarsky (John Belushi)

Senator in Washington

Larry 'Pinto' Kroger (Tom Hulce)

National Lampoon's editor

Eric 'Otter' Stratton (Tim Matheson)

Gynecologist in Beverly Hills

Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman (Stephen Furst)

Psychiatric help coordinator in Cleveland

Donald 'Boon' Schoenstein (Peter Riegert)

Married with Katy on 1964, divorced on1969

Daniel Simpson 'D-Day' Day (Bruce McGill)

Missing since 1962

Robert Hoover, Delta president (James Widdoes)

Public lawyer on Baltimora

Katy (Karen Allen)

Boon's wife (until 1969)

Clorette DePasto, Major's daughter (Sarah Holcomb)

Not reported

Greg Marmalard, the "politic" (James Daughton)

White house aide, raped in prison on 1974

Doug Neidermeyer, the "soldier" (Mark Metcalf) 

Killed in  Vietnam by his own troops"

Barbara Sue 'Babs' Jansen, Greg's girlfriend (Martha Smith) 

Hollywood's Universal Studios stewardess.

Mandy Pepperidge (Mary Louise Weller)

Senator John Blutarsky's wife


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 © Alberto Truffi 2010 - 2011



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