The 100 best horror films - dawn of the dead



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Number 10: Dawn of the Dead

By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |


Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Dir George A Romero (Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, David Emge)

Supermarket sweep

Now that’s he’s become a one-man zombie factory (with steeply diminishing returns), it’s hard to remember that George Romero was, at first, dubious about the idea of making a sequel to his 1969 game-changer ‘Night of the Living Dead’. But with his most personal project (and, perhaps, his masterpiece), ‘Martin’ (see No. 87), failing miserably at the box office, Romero decided to bite the bullet – and reinvigorated his career in the process. Though ‘Night’ changed the face of horror, this is the film he’ll be remembered for: the wildest, most deliriously exciting zombie flick of them all, and the movie which pretty much defines the concept of socially aware, politically astute horror cinema. Its influence has been felt in every zombie film since (and even on TV in ‘The Walking Dead’), and it remains a near-flawless piece of fist-pumping ultraviolence. TH

What the experts said

  • ‘I first saw this film at a midnight screening back in 1981 – the crowd was insane. Thirty years later I have still never seen an audience reaction like that. Still the gold standard by which all zombie films are judged. Romero is king!’

    Rob Zombie
  • ‘Romero firing on all cylinders.’

    Ben Wheatley
  • ‘For me, “Dawn” is not only the greatest American horror movie of all time, it’s one of the greatest American movies, full stop.’

    Chris Alexander

Watch a 'Dawn of the Dead'-related video clip

A bunch of fans have a blast visiting the original Monroeville shopping mall, as seen in ‘Dawn of the Dead’

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |

Users say


Doe , i don't think your a horror lover some of the best horrors came out in the 70's .... in my opinion it does matter when you watched these films ... ie: i saw the original dawn of the dead in the 80's ... people's perceptions and imaginations where different it was quiet easy to get lost within the plot and block out the bad acting and poor special effects, being carried through the film by the IDEA ... most of the best horror films are just this ..... very low budget nowadays , i too ..think like your comment .... my imagination demands to work less dawn of the dead is a classic , it was made perfectly ... the cheapness works great in my opinion


I've never really understood the adulation for the original "Dawn of the Dead". I really couldn't find much to like about it. The idea of zombies in a shopping mall was a good and funny idea. However I thought the acting by the other people was so laughably bad and over-the-top that it made it difficult to enjoy the film. The zombie makeup was pretty bad too. Pretty much most of the zombies had greenish face makeup that stopped at the neck so that any zombie with his shirt open had their regular skin color.