6.5/10
8,690
127 user 71 critic

When a Stranger Calls (1979)

A psychopathic killer terrorizes a babysitter, then returns seven years later to menace her again.

Director:

Fred Walton
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carol Kane ... Jill Johnson
Rutanya Alda ... Mrs. Mandrakis
Carmen Argenziano ... Dr. Mandrakis
Kirsten Larkin Kirsten Larkin ... Nancy
William Boyett ... Sgt. Sacker (as Bill Boyett)
Charles Durning ... John Clifford
Ron O'Neal ... Lt. Charlie Garber
Heetu Heetu ... Houseboy
Rachel Roberts ... Dr. Monk
Tony Beckley ... Curt Duncan
Colleen Dewhurst ... Tracy
Michael Champion ... Bill
Joseph Reale Joseph Reale ... Bartender (as Joe Reale)
Ed Wright ... Retired Man
Louise Wright Louise Wright ... Retired Woman
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Storyline

High school student Jill Johnson is traumatized over an evening of babysitting by a caller who repeatedly asks, "Have you checked the children lately?" After notifying the police, Jill is told that the calls are coming from inside the house... Written by Betsy Bloomley <betsybloom@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A terrifying classic! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando llama un extraño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,411,158

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,411,158
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film would land Fred Walton the directors chair for the similarly-themed TV thriller 'I Saw What You Did' (1988). Both films are about young women menaced by a killer on the phone. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene, Jill goes to her bedroom closet to see if Curt Duncan is in there. She is about to open the door with her left hand. In the next shot, she opens it with her right hand. See more »

Quotes

John Clifford: [Inside Dr. Monk's office] Duncan was Catholic?
Dr. Monk: Yeah.
[beat]
Dr. Monk: So am I.
John Clifford: [mildly surprised] That makes three of us.
Dr. Monk: Is that right? So we all share the same guilt?
[Clifford smiles]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Joy Ride (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Huelga En General
Performed by El Teatro Campesino
Courtesy of Menyah Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Have you checked the children?"
8 November 2001 | by Backlash007See all my reviews

When a Stranger Calls boasts the scariest opening in film history. Wes Craven completely ripped this intro off in Scream. It's that good. Too bad the rest of the film isn't. It goes completely downhill after the beginning. It's so scary and has such a tense start that you can hardly watch it without holding your breathe. My girlfriend couldn't watch it period. She had to turn her head and keep asking me when it was over. It's very subtle, slow, and deliberate, and very frightening. The rest of the film can't live up to the energy generated by the beginning. But still, I recommend this because the beginning alone is better than most fright flicks in their entirety.


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