Animal House

Animal House Study Guide

Animal House is a comedic film from 1978, written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller, and directed by John Landis. It was produced by Matty Simmons of National Lampoon, a humor magazine that ran from 1970 to 1998, and based on stories written by Chris Miller for the magazine. Additionally, the material took inspiration from the writers' various experiences as members of fraternities.

The film was the first to get produced by National Lampoon, but the writers and creators had a difficult time pitching to studios, many of which thought the screenplay was crass and vulgar. The writers were determined to get their film made with all the gross-out bits intact, however, and eventually got Universal to go ahead and greenlight the project. Director Landis has been quoted as saying, "When I was given the script, it was the funniest thing I had ever read up to that time. But it was really offensive. There was a great deal of projectile vomiting and rape and all these things." Various actors were courted for the project, including Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Jack Webb, and Kim Novak.

Despite many viewers' and producers' resistance to the film, Animal House became a smash success and a cult classic almost instantly. While critics gave mixed reviews, the film scored big at the box office, and it became a rallying movie for college campuses across the country.