User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 103 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 94 out of 103
  2. Negative: 4 out of 103

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  1. Jul 20, 2013
    10
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is really creepy and masterful with inventive and original ideas. The visual effects are amazing, first rate intense ideas. The plot is horrifying and scary as hell, with twists and thrills that you will stay with you for a long time. The acting is above mediocre but not perfect. Overall, it is funny, scary and great.
  2. Sep 24, 2011
    8
    The horror may be to shallow for those who expect more, but "A Nightmare on Elm Street" has everything it needs for a movie; horror, creativity, and brutality.
  3. Aug 24, 2010
    10
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is pure psychological beauty that can't be topped by any other horror film. The artistic and mesmerizing storyline will leave you pondering the movie's premise for years to come. This film has aged like a fine wine and can remind you that horror films were once a very good source of entertainment. Bravo.
  4. Jul 21, 2011
    10
    I love this movie, bought the Blu-Ray and it's still amazing. The story's really good, I think. A girl is haunted by nightmares and after a short while she gets killed in a really gruesome way, well, gruesome for the 80's, but still sick. Then the next girl, Nancy, is haunted, like all of her friends, which one by one get killed. Freddy Krueger might just be one of the creepiest guys you'll ever see in a movie. He also has the most awesome weapon, I mean, c'mon, who can beat a glove with knifes as fingers? I am still really impressed with the facial effects of Freddy. That mask put on Robert Englund's face really makes Krueger a believable, as far as a nightmare murderer can be believable.
    So, if you're looking for an awesome horror movie, even if it's old, this one's for you.
    Little advise: Don't watch this before you go to sleep. This movie still freaks me out, even if I watched it like 8 times.

    I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy!
    -Freddy Krueger
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  5. Aug 11, 2010
    5
    Wes Craven is know all around as the master of horror for decades he has been delivering original and horrifying films that have left a lasting impression on cinema. His first film "The Last House on the Left"(1972) help jump-start the slasher genre with John Carpenter's "Halloween" following right behind. Craven use to be known for his originality for his films and his originality and flare for theatrics help shoot him into super-stardom in the early 1980's with his flimsy "masterpiece" "A Nightmare on Elm Street" widely touted as a horror classic. But in reality "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is nothing more than an exploitative , excessively gory, dull horror downer that offers more laughs than chills and takes you on a ride that you thought would be fun but then just turns out to be a boring time at the movies offering up today what filmgoers would call, "Cliché thrills". I had always heard stories about this film; I heard stories of how terrifying it was. How it left viewers with nightmares for dayâ Collapse
  6. Oct 22, 2010
    9
    I'm going to go ahead and say that A Nightmare on Elmstreet puts most modern horror movies to shame. A lack of original ideas had destroyed the horror genre but this, in its day, was an extremely original concept in itself - A dead man killing teenagers in theire dreams and if this franchise hadn't been over used it would still be a great concept.
  7. May 2, 2011
    8
    This 1984 horror classic was and still is a milestone in the history of horror cinema and is the best film of Wes Craven's career, in my opinion. The plot concerns a group of teenagers who are having terrifying nightmares about a strange man who wears a fedora hat, striped sweater and has a knifed glove on his hand. When they ask their parents, they get no response and instead an alarmed look. The main character is Nancy Thompson, who after the death of her best friend Tina pieces together the puzzle and finds out that the "strange man" in her dreams is a child killer named Freddy Krueger, who was burned alive at the hands of grieving parents who took the law into their own hands after he was set free from prison on a technicality. As all of her friends are slashed to death one by one, Nancy must find a way to stop Krueger once and for all. It may sound like the stuff of schlock, but it tells it to you in a way that makes you believe the idea is credible. All the actors are good, but Freddy steals the show. His evil laughter, famous one-liners and his sick sense of humor have all become the stuff of legend. Another notable mention is that a certain Johnny Depp had his first screen role thanks to this film. As you would expect from a 1980s horror movie made on a low budget, the effects look dodgy today but that cannot be helped. Add into the mix an atmospheric musical score and some great direction and you have a recipe for one of the most intelligent and terrifying horror films of the 1980s. Expand
  8. May 3, 2011
    10
    A great horror film the best one ever better than the remake but not by much great i loved this movie the acting was great and introducing Johnny Depp wow great movie and i cant tell you how much better this is than friday the 13th
  9. Jul 22, 2011
    10
    I love every bit of this picture. This is not only a masterpiece of horror cinema, but a masterpiece of indie cinema. Whether you're a budding filmmaker, a horror-freak, or both (I happen to be both), this film is a must-see.
  10. Oct 2, 2013
    7
    Very original and a cult classic without a doubt. Freddy is a great horror icon. Do you really need to say anything else about it? Yes it could have been better but even after all these years, It's still enjoyable to watch.
  11. Jul 2, 2012
    10
    Freddy Krueger... Brilliant and unique to the world of horror. My favourite horror character of all time; with his corny lines, freakish background before he becomes the monster we love and he is just fabulous (as well as the brilliant actors that played him).
  12. Dec 13, 2011
    8
    I Nightmare on Elm Street is a great horror film. It's clever, original, and most importantly, it's actually scary. It's a highlight of maestro of horror Wes Craven's career, and introduced one of the most terrifying and iconic movie monsters of all, Freddy Krueger (chillingly portrayed by Robert Englund). It's Craven's ability to derive scares from our natural fear of the unknown that makes the film work on so many levels. We know so little about dreams, and the idea that they can cross over into the real world is a disturbing concept indeed. You can't underestimate the influence of Nightmare on films either, as without it, you probably wouldn't have Craven's self-deprecating Scream franchise, or such intellectual blockbusters addressing similar material as Christopher Nolan's Inception. Despite its numerous scares and philosophical themes standing up even today, some aspects of A Nightmare on Elm Street haven't quite stood the test of time. The sequence where Freddy walks out of the mist with pantomime-prop-quality extended arms and the infamous rubber legs being dragged through the tiny window border on laughable when watched today. That said, these minor gripes do little to ruin your enjoyment of a seminal horror film. It's not just a slasher flick, there's actually some intelligence behind it, which makes a nice change to the dumb modern Hollywood horror. Expand
  13. Jul 20, 2011
    5
    I watched this movie expecting too be scared witless. I was unfortunately not. Sure, the concept is fantastic and original. The villain in the first 3/4 of the movie is quite malevolent, when he isn't using cheesy one-liners. The music builds great suspense, and the movie as a whole does build suspense. But, those are the good things. The acting is sub-par, especially on the part of Heather Langenkamp. I am pretty sure that the death scene with Johnny Depp had more blood then what is in 3 humans. I'll admit that from the start until the deaths of the first two characters, I enjoyed the movie. But, then it got bogged down with campiness. The whole fighting Freddy scene with the elaborate traps was a little far-fetched. I mean she shouldn't know how to do any of those things, but then she suddenly does. But, my main problem with the movie is how Freddy is vanquished. "I give you no energy", seriously? That is the campiest and cheesiest thing I have ever heard in a "horror" movie. It is the worst possible way I can think of to have killed him. Overall, it is a horror classic. However, it should not be a classic. It is not that good of a movie, and I unfortunately do not recommend seeing it. Expand
  14. Aug 19, 2011
    9
    A Nightmre On Elm Street Takes you into a new Relam of Horror with The Iconic Freddy Kruger and This movie truly Represents a Living Nightmare. Freddy Kills Each of his victums in a painful way and They cant do anything about it because its in thier dreams. After Seeing this Movie you may never Want to go Back To Sleep
  15. Oct 29, 2013
    9
    The natural function of sleeping and dreaming happens to be reserved for this chilling rather than outright terrifying classic. Being 1984, I could expect that the sound quality and the special effects were to be cheap and crackly. However, it was less of my concern that this lack of gloss only helped to provide an authentic, unsettling atmosphere. What my main concern was was the mismatch of music when it played during the chase scenes, which only served to sadly detract from what it was trying to achieve.
    Freddy Krueger's appearance and personality personifies the imagination and fear of the unknown in which elements of suspense become just as important as its part in the slasher genre. His scarred face, fedora, striped red and green jumper and all too well known gloves with knives serve to bring to life a standout, recognisable performance whereby he represents a villain that borders on dreams and reality with a maybe awkward inability by the film's main protagonists to distinguish the bridge when it comes to survival.
    By using a vital part of everyday life, Freddy's actions have just as much effect on reality as they do in the dreamworld. Safety is immediately compromised when we are at our most vulnerable, so it isn't enough to claim that 'this is a dream, it isn't real', of which it brings a whole new meaning to.
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  16. Apr 5, 2012
    10
    A classic...it will never age! A milestone in the horror genre, that is for sure! There is much to love and nothing to hate about this film (well, we hate Freddy, but we love the idea that he is there, otherwise we wouldn't have had this movie!!! ;) ). Nowadays, there are not many horror movies that can compare to this one...very, very few!
  17. Apr 10, 2013
    10
    This is my favorite film. There are all i need...
    This is most horrible film ever. I always loved this one. Characters have very emotional role. Plot is very original. Horror may be just call horror, but A Nightmare on Elm Street is realy scary.
  18. Dec 11, 2012
    8
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is a cult classic filled with interesting kills and a story that would make one's hair stand on end with great direction by Wes Craven.
  19. Mar 29, 2013
    6
    Wes Craven is a great director, don't get me wrong. But this movie was kind of disappointing. Before I watched it I had heard that it was horrifying but it in the end it really wasn't. All in all it was ok though and at moments it was scary. I'll give it that.
  20. Jul 26, 2013
    9
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the greatest horror films ever made, and to this day its title character, Freddy, is one of the most commercialized figures in all of film. Is it one of the scariest movies ever made, absolutely not, but for 1984 it was truly groundbreaking. A Nightmare on Elm Street helped put the slasher genre on the forefront, and after its release the world never quite looked at scary movies the same. This film proved that Wes Craven was a master of horror, launched Johnny Depp's career, and established Englund's career making role. For those interested in the horror genre A Nightmare on Elm street is a must see. Expand
  21. Dec 30, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The third of the big three slasher franchises came latest, well into the ‘80s, and has ended up being my favourite. Like Halloween it’s suburban, taking place in and around a few houses on the titular Elm Street as teenagers are picked off by a sadistic killer (with a relatively low, early instalment body count).

    What sets A Nightmare on Elm Street apart from its rivals is Freddy Krueger, who again became a horror icon. With his trademark hat and clawed glove (long razor blades attached to each finger), he has a striking silhouette, which is played with during the first act of the film until his face is later revealed and a grotesque, burned visage it is.

    Writer and director Wes Craven creates an altogether different villain. He does not stalk the woods with a machete, but is wholly supernatural, and inhabits the world of nightmares, playing off a typical childhood fear that things in your nightmares could become real.

    This film is largely rooted in these childhood concerns; Freddy’s arrival is heralded by skipping children who sing an ethereal, unsettling rhyme, and another major theme is that of disconnection between children and parents.

    Typically, the adults are worse than useless, dismissing the concerns of heroine Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) as mere dreams, even when her friends start dying in their sleep, and she pulls Freddy’s hat back into the real world with her.

    But there’s more to this than meets the eye; hints are dropped throughout that Nancy’s mother knows more than she’s letting on, and it is later revealed that the erstwhile Freddy, a child murderer, was burned alive by the parents of Elm Street. Freddy’s plan is one of pure revenge.

    As a character, Freddy is certainly unhinged and despicable, but is prone to more gags and wisecracking. In the dream world, he’s the boss, ands he likes to play around. He is not merely a lumbering stunt man in a mask, but is played by an actual actor, Robert England, who is now an established horror veteran as a result of his work on the series (he has played Freddy in nine Elm Street films between 1984 and 2003).

    Unbound by the limitations of physical reality, he scares his victims with acts of self mutilation, which are not just body horror but also sight gags, another element of the series’ more tongue in cheek take on the horror genre.

    He toys with his victims, slicing his gut to reveal maggots and green goo at one point, a victim grabs his face, and the flesh simply comes away. Freddy lets this happen, to display his control and the hopelessness of the situation.

    All of this provides the opportunity for some great practical special effects to showcase Freddy’s dream manipulation, which may well be lost in a modern production (I’ve yet to see the 2010 remake, so the validity of this remains to be seen).

    Freddy stretches his face through the wall above Nancy’s bed, and makes the staircase melt into quicksand. A scene where Freddy’s glove attacks Nancy in the bath (part of a limited scattering of sexual imagery) was achieved by building the bathroom set above a larger tank of water. Other gravity defying effects were shot on upside-down sets.

    One of Freddy’s victims is a young Johnny Depp in his very first cinematic role, and his death scene reputedly holds some kind of record for the sheer volume of fake blood used in a single movie (500 gallons, according to IMDB).

    If Freddy is a unique villain, Nancy Thompson is a refreshingly different final girl. She does not spend the entire film fleeing in terror, or cowering in cupboards like some of her predecessors, but is altogether more pragmatic and determined. She sets out to defeat Freddy, and constructs a gauntlet of Home Alone-style traps throughout her house before pulling Freddy into reality for the final showdown.

    The nightmares themselves are a high point. If Halloween was set in suburbia, and Friday the 13th in the woods, A Nightmare on Elm Street really takes place in the mind. Wes Craven blurs the line between dreams and reality; although the nightmares have a darker atmosphere in terms of lighting and colour palette, the transition is almost unnoticeable until Freddy appears. Dreamlike location switches are also used Nancy leaves a boiler room, and appears on her front lawn.

    The ending is strangely ambiguous, although slasher films frequently end with a final confusing shock or sequel hook. With this final scene, it is not clear how much of what we have witnessed was real, and what was just a dream, so while it’s a head scratcher, that’s really the point.
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  22. Jan 11, 2014
    8
    Wes Craven proves why he is the master of horror in this 1984 classic. What could be scarier than a killer who attacks in your dreams? Unfortunately this film spawned several terrible sequels.
  23. Apr 11, 2014
    10
    as i was watching i was completely bored well some parts i got bored . but i got really entertained when things got juicy . " Nightmare of elm street rocks . Robert Enguland is a kick ass nightmare killer . Grade A+
    P.s i cant wait to watch nightmare of elm street 2
  24. Jun 26, 2014
    10
    Nightmare is one of the smartest, spookiest horror movies ever made, When Wes Craven made this in 1984, the budget was less than 5 million dollars. However the movie looks like it was made for 25-30 million. The special effects look costly but they were inexpensive. This movie set the bar for horror chills in 84 and few movies have been able to touch it since. Some movies on the same level as nightmare are Saw, Scream 1, 2 and 3, Stir Of Echoes, Orphan, American Psycho, Shallow Grave, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, Child's Play, 976-Evil and Drag Me To Hell, nightmare is a timeless classic. Expand
  25. Jul 1, 2014
    10
    This film is the ultimate horror experience for me. The settings are memorable and Robert Englund's performance as Freddy Krueger is legendary. The pacing is relentless in its intensity, it never lets go and still keeps lingering for a long time after you've watched the movie.

    Strong lead characters, Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp were a good pairing, and the supporting characters
    weren't just bland figures in the background. You actually felt the loss of the characters. They certainly have more depth to them than the stereotypical horror film teenagers.

    The premise of this story holds together well, and the apparent symbolism isn't completely hidden from you.

    Freddy Krueger's character was ill-defined, but intentionally. You can feel Englund's presence as he chases the kids through terrifyingly imaginative dream sequances. Wes Craven truly is one talented director, although he does have the occasional brain fart (The Hills Have Eyes, part 2).

    This film spawned my love for cinema. I definitely recommend it.
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  26. Jul 14, 2014
    10
    Nightmare on elm street has everything a horror fan could want. The actors are good, the plot is unique
    and the movie is intensely scary. Freddy Kruger is one of the most iconic horror movie villains. He is
    as recognizable as Michael Meyers, Chucky, The Exorcist, Nicholson from The Shining and Pinhead
    from Hellraiser. Nightmare is a horror classic that set the bar for genuine terror.
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Reviewed by: Gavin Bainbridge
    80
    Turning slumberland into a twisted murderer's den is a masterstroke by Craven, who has brought new blood to a genre that seemed as if it might choke on it's own excesses.
  2. Reviewed by: (Staff Not Cretdited)
    80
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is a highly imaginative horror film that provides the requisite shocks to keep fans of the genre happy.
  3. 88
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is tailor made for those who like their gore leavened with thought-provoking ideas - something that is a rarity in this genre.