# Similar Movies Like Willard
Willard 1971
About: A social misfit, Willard is made fun of by his co-workers, and squeezed out of the company started by his deceased father by his boss. His only mates are a couple of rats he raised at home, Ben and Socrates. However, when one of them is killed at work, he goes on a rampage using his rats to attack those who have been tormenting him.
Released: 30 Jul 1971 Director: Daniel Mann Writers: Gilbert Ralston (screenplay), Stephen Gilbert (novel) Actors: Bruce Davison, Sondra Locke, Elsa Lanchester, Michael Dante Genres: Horror
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Willard Reviews:

A truly memorable 1971 thriller that has became a bit of an underground classic.Handsom, shy Willard Stiles doesn't have an ideal life. He lives with his domineering widowed mother, is bullied by his boss, and doesn't have any friends. That is, until he befriends the rats in his garden and learns that he can create them do his bidding! Highlighted by a touching and sympathetic performance from Davison, Willard is a various type of "nature-strikes-back" film. It's a rare opportunity where the human characters, rather than the animals, drive the movie to its intense climax. There's plenty of twists and turns to be had, as well as a several moments of skin-crawl, especially for those who aren't fond of rodents! The film also has a bit of a darkly humorous side to it. It's a bit of a rare film to search these days, but seek it out and hope for a much-needed DVD release of this B film classic.Followed by a rather dark makeover in 2003*** 1/2 out of ****


A mousy, introverted young boy befriends and teaches rats primary commands. Later his home and life are preoccupied with this rodent infestation, coming particularly close to two rats, Ben and Socrates. Willard is played with nice skill by Bruce Davison, communicating to the audience his despondency with family life as well as with his job. He has a love-hate relationship with his dotty, doting mother, played with the usual charm only Elsa Lanchester can exude. His relationship with his mother's mates is distant, and with his employer Martin, disastrous. Martin is played with relish by Ernest Borgnine, making the audience feel tiny sympathy for his fate. Naturally, Willard trains the rats to do "bad" things and this leads to a war of wills between Willard and the main rat Ben(the lead hero in the film's sequel BEN). Overall, the movie is rather slowly paced, but well-acted and rewarding in the end.


Made the mistake of reading the ebook before seeing the movie; the movie, as a consequence, couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. Nor did it. But that's not a put-down. While there were some things that irked me (the mother rat's humble "thanks" at one point, the rubber rats all too much in evidence at the birthday party, etc.), Bruce Davidson and Ernest Borgnine deliver solid performances that support hold one focused on the twisted relationships that are the core of this film. (Elsa Lanchester as Willard's mewling mother also deserves mention.) I don't know how this one would keep up today, but, back in 1971, it was a must-see.



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