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A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, and produced by Robert Shaye. It stars Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Robert Englund and Johnny Depp in his film debut. The plot focuses on four teenagers who are invaded and killed in their dreams, thus killed in reality, by a burnt killer with a bladed glove. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago.
Craven filmed A Nightmare on Elm Street on an estimated budget of $1.8 million, a sum the film earned back during its first week. The film was released on November 9, 1984 where it went on to gross over $25 million at the United States box office. 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 a line of sequels, a television series, a crossover with Friday the 13th, beyond various other works of imitation; a remake of the same name was released in 2010.The film is credited with carrying on many tropes found in low-budget horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, originating in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), including the morality play that revolves around sexual promiscuity in teenagers resulting in their eventual death, leading to the term "slasher film". 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.