Food Fight! 40th Anniversary of ‘Animal House’ Togas into NJPAC

Actor John Belushi as Bluto begins the infamous food fight scene in 'Animal House.' (Screenshot via YouTube)

“Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!” – John “Bluto” Blutarsky from ‘Animal House’

Prepare yourself for an evening of toga parties, food fights, double-secret probation and other moments of questionable decorum.

You’ll experience that a lot more bawdiness when you head to NJPAC for the “Animal House” 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, February 16.

In addition to the screening of the 1978 ribald comedy set on the fictional campus of Farber College, actor Tim Matheson — who played the smooth-talking Eric “Otter” Stratton — will appear on stage after the viewing.

Written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller, and directed by John Landis, the film influenced comedic directors, actors and screenwriters for years to come. While it’s best not to take “Animal House” too seriously, the film referenced serious issues such as the Vietnam War, the shootings at Kent State and the civil rights movement.

In addition to Matheson, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Peter Riegert and Stephen Furst, the cast featured John Belushi as John “Bluto” Blutarsky. Belushi was already immensely popular from his work on “Saturday Night Live.” A few years later, he and Dan Aykroyd would star in “The Blues Brothers,” with “Animal House” John Landis at the directing helm.

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress selected the film to be preserved in the National Film Registry.

“It’s anarchic, messy, and filled with energy. It assaults us,” wrote film critic Roger Ebert. “Part of the movie’s impact comes from its sheer level of manic energy. But the movie’s better made (and better acted) than we might at first realize. It takes skill to create this sort of comic pitch, and the movie’s filled with characters that are sketched a little more absorbingly than they had to be, and acted with perception.”

The “Animal House” 40th Anniversary Celebration takes place on Friday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. Visit the NJPAC website for tickets and information.