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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

November 9, 1984

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, and produced by Robert Shaye. It is the first installment in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series and stars Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, and Johnny Depp in his film debut. The plot concerns four teenagers living on one street in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio, who are invaded and killed in their dreams, and thus killed in reality, by a burnt killer with a bladed leather glove.

Craven filmed A Nightmare on Elm Street on an estimated budget of $1.8 million. The film was released on November 9, 1984, and grossed $57 million worldwide. A Nightmare on Elm Street was met with rave critical reviews and is considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made, spawning a franchise consisting of six sequels, a television series, a crossover with Friday the 13th, and various other merchandise. A remake of the same name was released in 2010.

The film is credited with using many of the tropes found in the low-budget horror films of the 1970s and 1980s that originated with John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) and led this subgenre to be called the slasher film. The film includes a morality play where sexually promiscuous teenagers are killed. Critics and film historians state that the film's premise is the struggle to define the distinction between dreams and reality, manifested by the lives and dreams of the teens in the film. Critics today praise the film's ability to transgress "the boundaries between the imaginary and real", toying with audience perceptions. The film was followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985).

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