Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Creature from the Black Lagoon1954

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)



Critic Consensus: A solid, atmospheric creature feature that entertains without attempting to be deeper than it needs.

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Movie Info

Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

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Richard Carlson
as David Reed
Julie Adams
as Kay Lawrence
Richard Denning
as Mark Williams
Antonio Moreno
as Carl Maia
Whit Bissell
as Edwin Thompson
Ben Chapman
as Gill-Man
Ricou Browning
as Gill-Man (in water)
Sydney Mason
as Dr. Matos
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Critic Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7)

It makes for solid horror-thrill entertainment.

November 16, 2014 | Full Review…

What distinguished Jack Arnold's pictures from mutant spinoffs/knockoffs is even more imperative to sci-fi today than it was in 1954: wonderment.

October 11, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Jack Arnold's direction has done a firstrate job developing chills and suspense, and James C. Havens rates a good credit for his direction of the underwater sequences.

July 6, 2010 | Full Review…

Jack Arnold has a flair for this sort of thing, and if there really is anything frightening about a man dressed up in a rubber suit with zippers where the gills ought to be, Arnold comes close to finding it.

September 26, 2007 | Full Review…

This adventure has no depth.

October 31, 2006 | Full Review…

The routine story is mightily improved by Arnold's sure sense of atmospheric locations and by the often sympathetic portrait of the monster.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon


The creature's makeup and design are stunning and look very realistic for the time the movie came out, while the underwater scenes are really awesome and creepy, making for a classic monster movie that aged well enough and can still be fun for modern audiences.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

great atmosphere and underwater scenes! a monster movie classic

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


The story and characters are rather simplistic but the true reason to see this film is for the legendary "Gill Man". The underwater scenes are beautifully shot, containing a surreal sequence were Gill Man swims beneath an unsuspecting female diver. That scene would later inspire the opening sequence for Steven Spielberg's "Jaws". The music was also awesome, filled to the brim with dramatic orchestral cues. A must see for any fans of the monster movie genre.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

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