Director: John Landis
Stars: John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce
Plot: Delta Tau Chi fraternity at Faber College is the bane of Dean Vernon Wormer's existence. It's members don't attend class, are the source of endless pranks on campus and have broken every rule imaginable. As a group, they have a negligible GPA and their main reason for living is to party. When Wormer finally finds a way to expel them all, the men of Delta Tau Chi decide to give the college a homecoming parade they will never forget.
As this was Kevin Bacon's first role, when he went to the premier, he wasn't allowed to sit with the rest of the cast because the ushers didn't believe he was in it. He had to sit in the back with everyone else.
John Belushi's performance in the cafeteria scene was entirely improvised. When he began piling food on his tray, Director John Landis urged the camera operator to "stay with him." The infamous "I'm a zit" gag was also improvised, and the reaction from the cast is completely genuine.
The hole John Belushi makes in the wall with the guitar was the only physical damage incurred to the house during the entire production. Instead of repairing it, the fraternity placed a frame around the hole with an engraved brass tag to commemorate it.
Donald Sutherland was so convinced of the movie's lack of potential, that, when offered a percent of the gross or a flat fee of $75,000 for his three days' work, he took the upfront payment. Had he taken the gross percentage he would have been worth an additional $3-4 million.
To prepare for their roles - and despite being warned against mixing with the students - the cast of the Deltas (except John Belushi, who was in New York working on Saturday Night Live (1975)) accepted an invitation from some girls to a real frat party at the University of Oregon's SAE house. The real fraternity members treated them with hostility and a brawl ensued, started by James Widdoes when he threw a cup of beer at some drunk football players. Widdoes ended up losing a few teeth and Bruce McGill received a black eye. When Belushi returned to the set and learned of the fight, he had to be physically restrained from seeking revenge.
One bit that was written in the original script but never filmed included a parade bust that was destroyed at the climax of the film. The bust was of John F. Kennedy, the US President in 1962, and the gag was Kennedy's head was punctured in the same way the real Kennedy would be shot the next year. Director John Landis cut the idea because he felt the tone of the gag was wrong.
The scene in which Bluto smashes a bottle over his head to cheer Flounder up took 18 takes because Stephen Furst kept laughing.
During interviews conducted for the 30th anniversary of this film, Karen Allen revealed some interesting trivia about her nude scene. Director John Landis wanted her to bare her bottom in the film, and she was very reluctant to do so. Donald Sutherland stepped in and offered to bare his as well. Allen said, "I thought he was so sweet to do that, so I sort of let go of my objections and said, 'Okay, if Donald Sutherland is going to bare his bottom, by golly, I'll bare mine too!'"
John Belushi wanted his character to go with the others on the road trip but director John Landis refused, arguing that his character was best used sparingly.
Reputedly one of Donald Sutherland's personal favourites of all movies he has acted in. He described working in the film the funniest experience he had on a set.
The actors who played the Deltas harassed the actors who played the Omegas off-screen as well to keep up the feelings of animosity between their characters. Mark Metcalf changed his hotel room to the one above Bruce McGill's where the Delta actors partied every night so his anger at their noise would help him get into character.
Originally popular during the late Fifties and early Sixties, fraternity "toga parties" became a huge fad all over again at colleges across America following the release of this film.
A sequel was planned that would take place during the 1969 Summer of Love and involve the Deltas reuniting for Otter's wedding. But when More American Graffiti (1979) bombed at the box-office, Universal stalled the project. The project was scrapped for good when John Belushi died in 1982.
Professor Jennings bites an apple while lecturing about good and evil in John Milton's "Paradise Lost." This is a deliberate gag reference to Eve's eating of the "forbidden fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge, a key event in "Paradise Lost," but the only thing lost is this gag on Jennings' students.
The movie was set to be filmed at the University of Missouri until the president of the school read the script and refused permission. It was filmed at and around the University of Oregon in Eugene instead.
During an A&E documentary on the 30th anniversary of the movie, it was revealed that when Bluto takes Charming Guy's guitar and smashes it, the scene was completely improvised from the script. The terrified reaction from the actors is genuine.
In addition to John Belushi as Bluto, the film was originally going to star Chevy Chase as Otter, Bill Murray as Boon, Dan Aykroyd as D-Day and Brian Doyle-Murray as Hoover. None of them were available and John Landis didn't want the film to be a Saturday Night Live (1975) film.
The movie concludes by describing each character's fate. Neidermeyer was "killed in Vietnam by his own troops." In director John Landis' segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), some soldiers are overheard expressing regret for killing Lt. Neidermeyer.
The film's budget was so small that during the 32 days of shooting in Eugene, John Landis had no trailer or office and could not watch dailies for three weeks. His wife Deborah Nadoolman purchased most of the costumes at local thrift stores, and she and Judy Belushi made the party togas.