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

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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 ...
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


Part history lesson followed by re-enactments with actors, this film takes depicts the history of witchcraft from its earliest days through to the present day (in this case,1922 or thereabouts). The result is a documentary-like film that must be among the first to use re-enactments as a visual and narrative tool. From pagan worship to satanic rites to hysteria, the film takes you on a journey through the ages with highly effective visual sequences. Written by garykmcd

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?


To achieve the scene in which the witches are flying over the roofs of the town, Benjamin Christensen and his cameraman Johan Ankerstjerne photographed a miniature town (with each house about 2 meters in height) on an enormous turntable, which operated manually and took the strength of 20 men to operate. Then, several costumed actors were photographed on broomsticks against a black background. To make the heavy costumes ripple in the "wind" Christiansen brought in an airplane motor. A total of 75 witches were photographed, each individually, and a special optical printer was built by Ankerstjerne to put them together (only about three of four appear on the screen at one time). The construction of a model town was decided upon after test footage proved the original idea of shooting from a movie train was a bad one, as too many modern structures, not to mention telephone poles and wires, were unavoidable. The test footage survives and is superimposed with Christiansen seated in a chair, acting out the part of a witch. See more »


The kleptomaniac and the jeweler enter through a door on the right-hand side of the room. In the next shot, they are standing on the left side on the room, and the objects on the shelf behind them have changed position. The shot in which they enter is flipped (look closely at the buttons on the actors' clothes). See more »


Chief Inquisitor: Listen, Maria the Weaver, did you also see the devil put his mark on the witches' foreheads?
Marie, the Seamstress: Oh, learned men, I saw the witches kiss the evil one on his behind. And the mother of Anna, the printer's wife, wished me a scalding death - that damned woman, I saw her kissing the evil one so tenderly...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in Stoned (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

7 November 2002 | by (Newfoundland, Canada) – See all my reviews

This film gives us a thoughtful look at the horrifying potential of fear, ignorance and superstition. I have to say I admire the courage Benjamin Christensen showed in making this film which not only must have offended the sensibilities of the time for the obvious reasons but also because it dared to champion reason over superstition as a way of explaining things which we do not fully understand. This film resonates with its message that those who judged others unjust may not have been just themselves.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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