Otters playing in bathroom. (Photo by Wallace Kirkland/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images). Copyright: Time & Life Pictures
National Lampoon's Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis . The film was a direct spin-off from National Lampoon magazine . The plot is about a misfit group of fraternity members who challenge the administrators of their university.
The screenplay was adapted by Douglas Kenney , Chris Miller and Harold Ramis from stories that were written by Miller and published in National Lampoon magazine. The stories were based on Miller's experiences in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth College . Other influences on the film came from Ramis' experiences in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis , and producer Ivan Reitman 's experiences at Delta Upsilon at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario . Of the lead actors, only John Belushi was an established star, but even he had not yet appeared in a movie, having gained his notoriety mainly from his Saturday Night Live television appearances. Several cast members, including Karen Allen , Tom Hulce and Kevin Bacon , were just beginning their movie careers.
Upon its initial release, Animal House received generally mixed reviews from critics, but Time and Roger Ebert proclaimed it one of the year's best. Filmed for $2.7 million, it is one of the most profitable movies of all time. Since its initial release, Animal House has garnered an estimated return of more than $141 million in the form of videos and DVDs, not including merchandising.
The film, along with 1977's Kentucky Fried Movie , also directed by Landis, was largely responsible for defining and launching the gross-out genre of films, which became one of Hollywood's staple genres. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed Animal House "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry . This film was #1 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies. It was #36 on AFI 's 100 Years... 100 Laughs list of the 100 best American comedies. In 2008, Empire magazine selected Animal House as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time .
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