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Lake Placid (film)

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Lake Placid
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve Miner
Written byDavid E. Kelley
Produced by
CinematographyDaryn Okada
Edited by
Music byJohn Ottman
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 16, 1999 (1999-07-16)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$27–35 million[2][3]
Box office$56.9 million[3]

Lake Placid is a 1999 American comedy horror film[4] directed by Steve Miner and written by David E. Kelley. It is the first installment in the Lake Placid film series and stars Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Platt, Betty White, Meredith Salenger, and Mariska Hargitay. In the film, a giant crocodile terrorizes the fictional location of Black Lake, Maine, while a dysfunctional group of police and scientists attempt to capture or kill the beast.

Lake Placid was produced by Fox 2000 Pictures and Stan Winston Studios (which did the special effects for the creatures) and principal photography was shot in British Columbia, Canada. The film was distributed by 20th Century Fox and released in theatres in the United States on July 16, 1999,[2] and in the United Kingdom on March 31, 2000.[5] It grossed $56.9 million worldwide and was followed by five low-budget made-for-television sequels, starting with Lake Placid 2 in 2007.



In Aroostook County, Maine, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife officer Walt Lawson is scuba diving with Sheriff Hank Keough in Black Lake when he is suddenly bitten in half by an unknown creature.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service officer Jack Wells, American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Kelly Scott, and Hank investigate the incident. They are joined by Hector Cyr, a wealthy mythology professor and crocodile enthusiast, who suspects the culprit is a crocodile much to the disbelief of the group. After Kelly and Hank's canoe is flipped over, they discover a severed human toe and a moose head. Hank's deputy, Burke, has his head bitten off; confirming Hector's suspicions but Hank remains skeptical. That evening, the group makes camp and prepares a plan to capture the creature.

The following day, as Hank and Hector argue, a large grizzly bear attacks them, but a gigantic 32 ft (9.8 m) long saltwater crocodile emerges from the lake and drags the bear into the water. The group discovers that local resident Delores Bickerman, an elderly widow living near the lake, is feeding the crocodile after they observe her leading a blindfolded dairy cow to the water. She reveals that she has been feeding it for years after the crocodile ate her husband.

Hector and Deputy Sharon Gare take his helicopter onto the lake and unexpectedly land in the crocodile's territory. While he is scuba diving, Hector is confronted by the crocodile, but he and Gare escape after distracting it with an inflatable raft. Hank and Jack call in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for help with killing the crocodile, but Hector suggests that he should lure it out of the water and tranquilize it instead. Jack reluctantly accepts the proposal and they use one of Bickerman's cattle, dangled from the helicopter, as bait.

After a few hours, the crocodile appears. Hector pulls up as the crocodile lunges, and Jack fires a tranquilizer dart into its neck. Hector loses control of the helicopter and crashes into the lake. The crocodile comes on land and pursues the group. Kelly is knocked into the lake by the crocodile's tail. As Kelly enters the downed helicopter, the crocodile attacks but becomes trapped. As the tranquilizer kicks in and the crocodile appears to be pacified, Jack, Hector, and Hank argue about whether or not to kill it. Jack eventually grabs Hank's gun and shoots it, but the firearm turns out to be another tranquilizer. As Hector comes out of the water, another crocodile attacks and bites him, but Hank blows it up with a grenade launcher. Soon after, Florida wildlife officers arrive, they load the neutralized crocodile onto a truck and take it to Portland, Maine as they determine what to do next.

One week later, Bickerman feeds bread crumbs to many baby crocodiles, revealing the two adults were actually a mating pair. The surviving adult crocodile is seen tied to the back of a flatbed trailer travelling down the highway.





Lake Placid was produced by Fox 2000 Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, and Rocking Chair Productions.[6] The 32-foot (9.8 m) long crocodile was created by Stan Winston Studios.

Some of the film's scenes were shot in Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia. Three different lakes in British Columbia stood in for the fictional "Black Lake": Shawnigan Lake, Buntzen Lake and Hayward Lake.[7]


Lake Placid
Film score by
ReleasedJuly 27, 1999
Film scores
LabelVarèse Sarabande

The soundtrack for the film was composed and conducted by John Ottman, and released by Varèse Sarabande.[8]

Track listing
  1. Main Title (2:25)
  2. Hector's Here (1:11)
  3. Close Call (3:59)
  4. Udder Preparations (4:02)
  5. Love Games (2:25)
  6. Reluctant Passengers (1:46)
  7. Morgue / Scary Beaver (4:11)
  8. Scouting (2:22)
  9. Here He Comes! (4:57)
  10. Making a Move /Jack (2:11)
  11. Swimming With Croc (3:36)
  12. Hector's Mind (2:48)
  13. Weird Things / Dinner Time (2:51)
  14. Ground Rules (1:43)
  15. Trapping Croc / Resolution (5:30)
  16. The Lake / Hitching a Ride (1:03)



On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 47% based on 95 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Betty White's delightful supporting turn may be worth the price of admission alone, but Lake Placid is swamped by a smarmy script and inability to deliver on the creature feature mayhem".[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 34 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one out of four stars, describing it as "completely wrong-headed from beginning to end". He put it on his list of the 10 Worst Films of the Year.[12] Andrew Collins of Empire gave the film four out of five stars, writing that "you can enjoy Placid as a straightforward camping-holiday nightmare, or as a sly, ironic take on the same. It works deliciously as both".[13]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d "Lake Placid (1999)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Lake Placid (1999)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Lake Placid (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Lake Placid (1999)". AllMovie. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  5. ^ "Lake Placid". Radio Times. Archived from the original on June 18, 2021. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Lake Placid (1999) – Production Credits". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2015.[dead link]
  7. ^ Willistein, Paul (July 16, 1999). "Bridget Fonda Identifies with Hard-to-like 'Lake Placid' Film Character". The Morning Call. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "Lake Placid - John Ottman". AllMusic. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Lake Placid". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Lake Placid Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Lake Placid". CinemaScore.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 16, 1999). "Lake Placid movie review & film summary (1999)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  13. ^ Collins, Andrew (January 1, 2000). "Lake Placid Review". Empire Online. Retrieved July 7, 2020.