Up 2,065 this week

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)
"Häxan" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Horror  |  27 May 1929 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,210 users  
Reviews: 66 user | 80 critic

Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.

0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 24 Feb 2014
a list of 21 titles
created 02 Mar 2014
a list of 43 titles
created 07 Aug 2014
a list of 33 titles
created 9 months ago
a list of 38 titles
created 2 weeks ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages.

User Polls



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg
Vampyr (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A traveler obsessed with the supernatural visits an old inn and finds evidence of vampires.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel
Foolish Wives (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Dr. Caligari's somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuit living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Spottiswoode Aitken
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd


Cast overview, first billed only:
Maren Pedersen ...
Heksen / The Witch
Clara Pontoppidan ...
Nonne / Nun
Elith Pio ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge (The Young Monk)
Oscar Stribolt ...
Graabroder / Doctor (The Fat Monk)
Tora Teje ...
En hysterisk kvinde / Modern Hysteric (The Kelptomaniac)
John Andersen ...
Chief Inquisitor (as Johs Andersen)
Benjamin Christensen ...
Djævlen / The Devil
Poul Reumert ...
Juveler / Jeweler
Karen Winther ...
Kate Fabian ...
Gammel jomfru / Old Maid
Else Vermehren ...
Nonne / Nun
Astrid Holm ...
Johannes Andersen ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge
Gerda Madsen ...
Nonne / Nun
Aage Hertel ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge


A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan cultures in the Middle Ages regarding their vision of demons and witches. Then there is a dramatization of the situation of the witches in the Middle Ages, witchcraft and witch-hunts. Finally the film compares the behavior of hysteria of contemporary (1921) women with the behavior of the witches in the Middle Ages, concluding that they are very similar. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Benjamin Christensens stora film.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 May 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1968 re-release) | (DVD) | (original)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In addition to playing the devil, director Benjamin Christensen also has a brief appearance as Christ. He also appears as himself in the very first shot of the film. See more »


The same witches fly past the screen several times. At certain points, the same witch appears on screen twice at the same time. See more »


Title Card: Poor little hysterical witch! In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church. Now it is with the law.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Benjamin Christensen personally thanks his cinematographer and art director through the opening titles. See more »


Referenced in The Blair Witch Project (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I have just finished watching the new Criterion dvd of Haxan...
20 October 2001 | by (Big D, Cattle Country, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

And I couldn't be more pleased! I have never seen this film, but thought I would try it out, as I have always had a fascination with the grotesque, mysticism, and the occult. Haxan delivers in spades.

This 1922 Danish silent film about black magic, witches, satanism, and the persecution of said subjects during the middle-ages, which attempts to make a connection between the ancient phenomena and the modern study of hysteria (modern in 1922), has been wonderfully presented by The Criterion Collection in their new dvd. This new Criterion dvd has the original 104 min. version with a newly recorded 5.0 soundtrack orchestrated from archival documentation, and the 76 min. version released in 1967, which has narration by legendary counter-culture icon William S. Burroughs.

Watching the original version, I found it full of great imagery and fine silent acting. Emotions and actions are superbly conveyed by the actors, and the sets, costumes, lighting, and effects are all wonderfully done. I especially like the interrogation chamber and the Sabbath scenes, which display lots of good props and much deviltry with rather convincing special effects and make-up. The movie is structured in seven chapters, the first giving a historical account of witchcraft's origins in literature and illustrations. We then are presented with drama plays, having to do with the practice of witches, and the persecution, trying, and torturing of said witches. We are also presented with several instances of the devil manifesting and making demands on his minions. In the end, Christensen attempts to make a correlation between the acts, mannerisms, and various disfigurements anciently attributed to witches and their craft, and the modern affects of hysteria. This is apparently the most criticized part of the film, as mentioned in the commentary, and while it certainly is not as strong as the period dramas, I think it does a good job of raising valid questions, and does work with the film quite well.

As for the quality of the transfer... with the exception of element specs throughout, and just a few scenes marred by scrapes, the print is very clean and clear. I thought it looked great. True, the print could have been cleaned up a bit more as far as the specs go, but not every film Criterion does will get the star treatment given Akira Kuroswa's "Seven Samurai". So long as contrast is good, and edges are well defined, I'm usually a happy camper, and this transfer delivers.

The new score was arranged by film music specialist Gillian Anderson who attempted to recreate the music presented at the film's Danish premiere as best as possible by referencing the list of musical cues printed in the theater's weekly program notes. It includes works from Franz Schubert, Richard Wagner, Max Bruch, W.A. Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Christoph Gluck, and Ludwig Van Beethovan, as well as others. Anderson conducted the Czech Film Orchestra in June 2001. The score does an incredible job of accompanying the film, sounds wonderful, and is is presented in 5.0 Dolby Digital.

There is a knock-out commentary here. Narrated by Danish silent film scholar Caspar Tybjerg, the commentary centers on the director Benjamin Christensen's life in film, the Danish silent film industry, origin of the documentary film genre, technical aspects of Haxan, the cast of Haxan, historical aspects of the study of hysteria in psychology circles, the origins of the devil as a character in media, and of course, the phenomena of witchcraft and witch hunting. References are made to Nosferatu, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the German Expressionist movement, The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Seventh Seal, Sigmund Freud... the list goes on and on. While there is an incredible amount of information presented here, with bibliographic references even, Tybjerg does an excellent job of tying it all together and presenting the relevance of the material to the film. This was a very engaging look at Christensen, his film, and the sociological atmosphere both during the middle-ages, and during the time of Haxan's production.

As for the 1967 version narrated by William S. Burroughs, "Witchcraft Through The Ages"... I must say that I have not sat through the whole thing. In fact, I just watched the first two segments before finally succumbing to sleep (I have, gladly, spent a LOT of time with this dvd, but have to sleep sometime). My first impression is, while Burroughs is always so interestingly droning yet intense in the same breath, the jazz score was just plain ridiculous, in the presentation of Haxan anyway. The producer composed a jazz score for the film, which by itself, is some very hip music indeed, but it was just terribly out of place in the film. I'm sure the production was aiming to enhance drug trips rather than present the film itself. With Burroughs involvement, I don't think I'm too far of base in this. I'll have to give it another go when I've had some sleep, so I can watch the whole thing, but I doubt I'll be changing my mind. The jazz score is just too out of place, and as Christensen has often said, dialogue would ruin Haxan, as well as several silent films. After witnessing this 1967 version, I must agree with the director.

For avid students of special effects, I would make an evening of it with Haxan, as well as Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast", and "Der Golum", found on Elite's "Masterworks of the German Horror Cinema" dvd set. Much mysticism, magic and enchantment abound in these films, and state-of-the-art at-the-time special effects to boot.

I am extremely happy with this dvd, and highly recommend it to anyone who is into the study of classic film or anyone who is interested in the occult, whether solely for entertainment or as a study of sociological phenomena.

42 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where can i get this PAL? mowgli_07
Burroughs commented version samuelsebastian
Soundtrack? brightboy88
Online? bencoomes-1
Kiss the devil's ass kevayreski
Country? Ikkunaprinssi

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: