Box art for The Wolf Man (1941)

The Wolf Man (1941)


Lon Chaney Jr. stars in this horror masterpiece featuring elaborate settings and a chilling score about a man who is attacked by a werewolf and then becomes one himself at each full moon.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A stodgy Universal thriller from 1941, redeemed by a name-heavy cast and by Lon Chaney Jr.'s lumbering, affable performance in the title role.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fresh: Chaney may appear to have had a bad run-in with a hair dryer, but he's still the definitive villain as tragic hero.

- Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Even with a canon that includes the definitive versions of (among others) Frankenstein, Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera, this 1941 classic has always remained my favorite of the studio's prolific output.

- Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

This was not all that great, despite the fact I really wanted to like this classic. The anachronisms of English mansions, European gypsy bands, horse and carriage on one hand with the car, telescope, 1940's suits, and American Lon Chaney Jr. were hard to get past. Claude Rains doesn't make any sense as Lon Chaney Jr.'s father. "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright." This quote is repeated way too much. "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night...", is a load of crap. Lawrence Talbot is a creepy voyeuristic stalker. The movie is inconsistent when Larry Talbot kills Bela as a werewolf, since the creature just appears to be a plain ordinary wolf. You could assume that as someone remains under the curse of Lycanthropy longer they lose their human physical attributes, which of course has been borrowed for other werewolf movies. In fact Curt Siodmak freely created this story without much being borrowed from any earlier legend, so the silver bullet, silver knife, or stick with silver handle, everything is new. It is being created as they go and not consistently. The metamorphosis is not very impressive here and the movie relies on melodrama in the extreme.

- hypathio7, Tuesday, March 30, 2010

4 stars

Universal's second stab at the legend of werewolves is a brisk but brilliant little horror film. It knows when to have fun and when to focus on the horror. The characters all interact well and manage to build well defined relationships in the hour and 10 minutes of film. It's very doubtful that this will be scaring any newcomers,but the atmosphere and pacing make it a delightfully exhilarating watch. My only complaint is that the end comes all too sudden. A bit anticlimactic under the circumstances.

- kiriyamakazou, Saturday, January 23, 2010

4 stars

It's definitely not my favorite Universal Monster movie, but it's definitely a fun and interesting movie. The sense of style and kooky storytelling actually fits very well. It has a lot of great elements, especially Lon Chaney's transformation. It still looks great for its time.

- ythelastman89, Sunday, December 13, 2009