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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look: 6.25%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap: 6.25%

1 review, 10 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Jaws" with claws, paws, and a whole lotta flaws."
3 stars

William Girdler's "Grizzly" is a blatant, obvious, and transparent rip-off of Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" -- and everybody knows it. From the fans and the non-fans to the surviving cast and crew members, they all plainly acknowledge "Grizzly" for what it is: An extra-speedy coattail-rider that yielded big profits by hopping on the mid-'70s Killer Animal resurgence that began with one ravenous shark.

I'll spare you the list of Jaws copycats that oozed out of the B-movie machine following the killer shark's killer debut, but Grizzly was one of the first, the silliest, and the most popular. Starring a gang of familiar old faces (Christopher George, Andrew Prine, Richard Jaeckel) and featuring a "15-foot" grizzly bear who loves to snack on campers, Grizzly is a low-budget knock-off turkey ... that's still pretty entertaining today.

All you need to know is that a rogue grizzly is eating a bunch of people inside of a state park. After a few gruesome chompings occur, a park ranger (George), a goofy helicopter pilot (Prine), and an even-goofier naturalist (Jaeckel) do all they can to track and destroy the ravenous ursine. Unfortunately, the trio is fairly inept, which gives the big bear ample time to play "all you can eat" with the local backpacking brigade. (And for a movie that's rated PG, Grizzly sure packs a half-decent amount of carnage into its 90-some minutes.)

True, the thing looks like it was made on the mega-cheap (because it was), and some of the acting performances are hilariously overripe, but if low-end B-movie fun is what you're after, I say Grizzly delivers the goods. You'll laugh at the movie more often than you'll appreciate its legitimate assets, but there's actually some solid craftsmanship to be found in this goofy little piece of cinematic plagiarism. Girdler's widescreen depictions of a Georgia state park are quite lovely, and he's smart enough to keep the expositional stuff to a minimum while allowing his four-legged star to snack as often as possible.

(OK, one subplot really needs to go: It involves Ranger George and his ninny girlfriend. It's a plot divergence that goes nowhere, and it really jams a few roadblocks in front of one's enjoyment of the hungry bear antics.)

While it's a cheap and chintzy little flick in many respects (and it really is a downright rip-off), Grizzly turned out to be one of 1976's surprise hits, clocking in as the most successful indie of the year. Decades of airplay on The Late Late Show has afforded the grisly flick a "cult movie" cachet that, I must admit, is pretty well-deserved. As a drive-in-level guilty pleasure of the most obvious and brainless variety, Grizzly is quite a bit of good, campy fun. It scared me as a kid, it amused me as an adult, and now it's entertaining me as a 2-disc Special Edition. Gotta love digital nostalgia.

( Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit and get friendly with the search bar.)

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originally posted: 05/12/06 06:53:22
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User Comments

4/30/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Kinda decent 3 stars
4/24/07 David Pollastrini I preferred Day of The Animals 3 stars
2/06/07 action movie fan atrocious jaws imitation> poor acting,special effects dull and lame-dont, bother 1 stars
5/18/06 Alfred Guy Such nostalgia and cheese! I loved it - again! 5 stars
2/10/06 R.W.Welch To bears, nuts are just an entree -- the perils of disconnecting from reality. 4 stars
4/23/05 John so bad it's great...the number of direct Jaws rip offs must be seen to be belived 5 stars
9/08/03 Kyle Yeah, some horrific gore! But, very low budget and it shows. Actors suck- especially George 3 stars
12/20/02 Matthew Hill Hey, me again. This film is REALLY worth a look! The gore is done greatly! SCARY! 5 stars
6/17/02 Matthew Hill Pretty good film about Christopher George vs. an 18 foot bear that's hungry, FOR FLESH!!!! 5 stars
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  02-Feb-1976 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Apr-2006



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