willard ernest borgnine

“Tear him up!”

With that command, let me introduce you to “Willard”, a lonely young man who befriends a band of ravenous rats!


Here are three reasons to check out this surprise hit from 1971:

1- The Classic “No One Admitted” Poster!

“Willard” was based on the novel “The Ratman’s Notebooks”, about a shy young man who makes friends with a rat he names “Ben”.  Not only does the poster above advise you NOT to see the film alone, they went one step further and demanded you show up on time!


Yes, that classic “come on” suggesting the last 15 minutes are so terrifying that you can’t walk in during it but honestly, who shows up at the end of a film?  Here is the second reason to see “Willard”:

willard ernest borgnine

2 – Ernest Borgnine’s Million Dollar Mistake!

Yes, legendary character Actor Ernest Borgnine co-stars in “Willard”, and as you can see, it doesn’t end well for him. According to Borgnine’s autobiography, the filmmakers offered the Actor a percentage of the box office – if he’d take a lower salary. Borgnine chose to take his money right away – probably costing him plenty, because the movie was a surprise hit!

The third reason to love this movie is simple:

Ben sequel to Willard

3 – The Oscar-Nominated Sequel “Ben”!

Yes, Oscar nominated!  Because “Willard” was such a big hit, the main rat Ben was the star of a sequel the very next year  – with the theme song by a young Michael Jackson…and it was nominated for best original song of 1972!


If you need to know, “Ben” lost that Original Song Oscar to “The Morning After” from “The Poseidon Adventure”, also with Borgnine.

Here is the trailer to the classic “Willard”: