Piranha (1978) Movie

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(Hollywood) USA

Ratings / Votes
5.8/ 10 (9157 Votes)

MPAA Ratings

Production Company
New World Pictures [us]

Production Designer

All Producers

All Directors


Release Date
(USA) - 3 August 1978
(Colombia) - 11 October 1978
(Sweden) - 23 October 1978
(West Germany) - 26 October 1978
(Denmark) - 10 November 1978

Running Time
USA:106 (TV version)

They came downriver in their thousands. Their teeth could strip a living man to the bone in seconds. A hideous death lurked unseen in the river... Lost River Lake was a thriving resort - until they discovered... They're here...Hungry for flesh! Who can stop them? There's something in the water at Lost River Lake. Something you can't see...something you can't feel...until it's too late! Then... you were shocked by the great white shark - Now... you are at the mercy of 1000 jaws!

alcohol, animal-attack, animal-in-title, bare-breasts, bitten-by-a-fish, black-comedy, blood, cabin, canoe, creature-feature, cult-film, dam, diver, dog, escape, eugenics, experiment, female-nudity, fish, fish-in-title, full-frontal-nudity, funeral-march-by-chopin, genetic-engineering, grindhouse, horror-movie-remade,

Technical Support
LAB:MGM Laboratories Inc., USA
LAB:Metrocolor, USA
OFM:35 mm
PFM:35 mm
RAT:1.85 : 1

Related Pictures

See Piranha Pictures

Full Cast

  1. Barbour, Bruce Paul as (as Bruce Barbour) [Man in Boat] <24>
  2. Bartel, Paul (I) as [Mr. Dumont] <11>
  3. Braeden, Eric (I) as (uncredited) [Dr. Robert Hoak (swimming double)]
  4. Brown, Barry (I) as [Trooper] <10>
  5. Cardwell, Jack as [Brandy] <27>
  6. Dante, Joe (I) as (uncredited) [Scuba Diver #2]
  7. Deacon, Richard (I) as [Earl Lyon] <14>
  8. Dillman, Bradford as [Paul Grogan] <1>
  9. Farnsworth, Diamond as (as Hill Farnsworth) [Water-skier] <23>
  10. Gordon, Bruce (II) as [Colonel Waxman] <9>
  11. Henshaw, Eric (II) as [Father in Canoe] <20>
  12. Koock, Guich as [TV Pitchman] <18>
  13. La Marca, Andrew G. as (uncredited) [Scuba Diver #1]
  14. McCarthy, Kevin (I) as [Dr. Robert Hoak] <3>
  15. Miller, Dick (I) as [Buck Gardner] <5>
  16. Nelson, Shawn (I) as [Whitney] <13>
  17. Pauleson, Jack as [Boy in Canoe] <19>
  18. Richman, Roger (I) as [David] <16>
  19. Sayles, John (I) as (uncredited) [Army Sentry]
  20. Smillie, Bill as [Jailer] <17>
  21. Sullivan, Mike (IV) as [Dam Guard] <26>
  22. Tippett, Phil as (uncredited) [Scuba Diver #3 (victim)]
  23. Vinson, Robert (I) as [Soldier] <21>
  24. Wynn, Keenan as [Jack] <4>
  25. Balaski, Belinda as [Betsy] <7>
  26. Bondi, Sally as (uncredited) [Swimming Deb]
  27. Collins, Shannon (I) as [Suzie Grogan] <12>
  28. Dunnam, Virginia as [Girl] <22>
  29. Holden Jones, Amy as (uncredited) [Hertz Clerk]
  30. Menzies-Urich, Heather as (as Heather Menzies) [Maggie McKeown] <2>
  31. Ray, Robyn (II) as [Screaming Woman] <25>
  32. Scott, Melody Thomas as (as Melody Thomas) [Laura Dickinson] <8>
  33. Squire, Janie as [Barbara Randolph] <15>
  34. Steele, Barbara as [Dr. Mengers] <6>


  1. Comedy
  2. Horror
  3. Sci-Fi

Full Plot

When flesh-eating piranhas are accidently released into a summer resort's rivers, the guests become their next meal. Concorde - New Horizons (with permission). Two self-righteous idiots accidentally release a genetically-altered species of piranha into a stream. From there, both the piranha and the idiots slowly make their way downstream to various swimming holes and resorts, each in their own way wreaking havoc. Alfred Jingle A young couple stumble across an abandoned US Army test site on a mountain, in which is a huge pool. Thinking it's an ordinary swimming pool, they jump in. But this pool is home to the piranha, and the couple are eaten alive. A young woman P.I. is hired by the father of one of the missing kids to find them, and she meets up with an alcoholic outdoorsman who lives on the mountain. The two of them find the test site and drain the pool to see what's in it. As they do they are accosted by Dr. Hoak - the sole resident of the test site - who informs them that the inhabitants of the pool were the products of a gene-splicing experiment called 'Operation Razorteeth', designed to produce a mutant strain of piranha fish for deployment in the Vietnam War against the NVA. The fish could live in cold water and breed at a high rate. Realizing that a children's summer camp and the Lost River Lake Resort downriver are in the piranhas' path, they set out to try to stop it. The piranha are well ahead of them, and they kill several people on their way downstream. When they try to warn the camp director and resort owner of the danger, they are arrested. Thanks to the woman's ingenuity they escape custody and race down to the camp in a state police car to warn them. But the piranha have already struck - and there are others who want to keep the danger of the piranha a secret... Derek O'Cain Plot not found

Total Business

AD: 89,669 (Sweden) BT: USD 600,000 CP: COPYRIGHT © 1978 PIRANHA PRODUCTIONS GR: SEK 1,585,673 (Sweden) SD: 15 March 1978 - 5 April 1978

Movie Certificate

(Banned) (Finland)(1978) (uncut)
K-16 (Finland)(1984) (cut)
VM14 (Italy)
L (Iceland)
16 (Argentina)(re-rating)
X (Argentina)(original rating)
16 (Netherlands)
K-15 (Finland)(2010) (uncut)
13+ (Canada)(Quebec)
18 (UK)(video rating) (1987)
M (Australia)
-12 (France)
R13 (New Zealand)
16 (Norway)
15 (Sweden)
15 (UK)(video re-rating) (2002)
X (UK)(original rating)
16 (West Germany)

Music Composers

  1. Donaggio, Pino


  1. Anderson, Jamie (I) (director of photography)


Another World Entertainment [dk] - (2010) (Denmark) (DVD)
Audio Visual Enterprises [gr] - (1988) (Greece) (VHS)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) [us] - (2006) (USA) (DVD)
Chapel Distribution [au] - (1997) (Australia) (theatrical) (35mm print)
Fazer Musiikki Oy/Fazer Video [fi] - (1984) (Finland) (video)
Future Film [fi] - (2010) (Finland) (DVD)
National Broadcasting Company (NBC) [us] - (1980) (USA) (TV) (broadcast premiere)
New Concorde [us] - (1999) (USA) (DVD)
New Horizons [us] - (video)
New World Pictures [us] - (1978) (USA) (theatrical)
Shout! Factory [us] - (2010) (USA) (DVD) (special edition)
Shout! Factory [us] - (2010) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
Stormovie [it] - (2005) (Italy) (DVD)
Studio S [se] - (2010) (Sweden) (DVD)
United Artists [fr] - (1978) (France) (theatrical)
Warner Home Video [fi] - (????) (Finland) (video)
Warner Home Video [us] - (1983) (USA) (VHS)


  1. Arnold, Susan (I) (adr voice) (uncredited)
  2. Boni, Jim (production assistant)
  3. Brown, Robert (XIV) (production assistant)
  4. Decker, William (II) (dog wrangler)
  5. Hoffman, Jeffrey M. (production assistant) (as Jeff Hoffman)
  6. Jacoby, Nava (location auditor)
  7. Kayler, David (coordinator: Los Angeles)
  8. Martin, Michael (I) (production assistant)
  9. Reynolds, Sharron (production secretary)
  10. Rosales, Taira (script supervisor) (uncredited)
  11. Rosenberg, Jeanne (script supervisor)
  12. Smead, John (I) (scuba instructor)
  13. Stieglitz, Ashley (production secretary)
  14. Tarbutton, Ed (production assistant)
  15. Wowchuk, Harry (location manager)


Whitney: The piranhas... Buck Gardner: What about the goddamn piranhas? Whitney: They're eating the guests, sir. Dumont: People eat fish, Grogan. Fish don't eat people. Reporter: Terror, horror, death. Film at eleven. Maggie McKeown: Are there any other shacks around here? Paul Grogan: Cabins! This is a cabin! Maggie McKeown: Well, are there any more of them? Any place they might be hold up in? Paul Grogan: There's an old fella named Jack who has a place downriver, but he woundn't treat any hospitality towards them. Oh, and there was some kind of Army test site way up on top of the mountain. But that closed down five, six years ago. Maggie McKeown: C'mon, let's go. Paul Grogan: To where? Maggie McKeown: You're taking me up there. Paul Grogan: Oh NO I'm not! Maggie McKeown: Mr. Grogan, I'm looking for two teenagers that disappeared a few weeks ago. Some friends of theirs said they went camping around here. Paul Grogan: Well, I haven't seen them. You talk to the sheriff's people? Maggie McKeown: I did. They told me that it's a pretty big mountain area. Paul Grogan: It is. Maggie McKeown: So... I was wondering if there are any places around here they might be or if they may have gone for a swim. Paul Grogan: Well if they drowned, they'd be swept down to the dam. So, you're starting off at the wrong end. Maggie McKeown: Boy, you're the wrong end all right! Maggie McKeown: That guard is still out there. Paul Grogan: Fine, I need you to distract him. Maggie McKeown: What for? Paul Grogan: So I can get away. Maggie McKeown: So YOU can get away? What about me? Paul Grogan: Well suit yourself. Just come onto him, tell him what an admirer you are of Army or something like that. Maggie McKeown: What if he's gay? Paul Grogan: Then I'll go and distract him!

Other Titles

  1. Piranha (1978) (ENG)
    (Italy) (imdb display title)

  2. Piranhas (1978) (ENG)
    (West Germany)

  3. Pirana (1978) (ITA)

Shooting/Filming Locations

  1. Burbank, California, USA
  2. Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA
  3. Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. San Marcos, Texas, USA
  5. Seguin, Texas, USA
  6. Wimberley, Texas, USA


- 'Eric Braeden (I)' (qv) was originally cast as Paul Grogan, but he pulled out to pursue another project. He had already shot some underwater swimming footage which is used in the film.

- A waitress from the Holiday Inn where the director and crew were staying stood in for Heather Menzies during the topless shots because Menzies was concerned that her husband might not approve of the nude scene.

- This film was reported to have been shot in 30 days for $660,000.

- 'Bradford Dillman' (qv) was originally unhappy with his character's 2D nature, and asked writer 'John Sayles (I)' (qv) why his character was so thin. Sayles responded that 'Roger Corman' (qv) regularly did not use good actors in his film, so he deliberately didn't elaborate on characters. But since Dillman was a "real" actor, he was more than happy to enhance his character's depth.

- This movie was one of the firsts efforts for effects and makeup artists 'Rob Bottin' (qv) and 'Phil Tippett' (qv).

- Universal Studios attempted to sue New World for spoofing _Jaws (1975)_ (qv). However, 'Steven Spielberg' (qv) saw the movie in advance and loved it. After that, Universal dropped the lawsuit.

- The Aquarena