The Innocents (1961)

Approved  |   |  Horror  |  19 February 1962 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 18,223 users  
Reviews: 195 user | 146 critic

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.



(novel), (additional scenes & dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Megs Jenkins ...
Martin Stephens ...
Clytie Jessop ...
Isla Cameron ...


In Victorian England, the uncle of orphaned niece Flora and nephew Miles hires Miss Giddens as governess to raise the children at his estate with total independence and authority. Soon after her arrival, Miss Giddens comes to believe that the spirits of the former governess Miss Jessel and valet Peter Quint are possessing the children. Miss Giddens decides to help the children to face and exorcise the spirits. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A strange new experience in shock. See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 February 1962 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Turn of the Screw  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The cinematography is so admired, aspects of it were imitated decades later in Nine Inch Nails' video for The Perfect Drug, most notably the man on the tower scene. See more »


Miss Giddens is wearing one dress when Flora bursts in to tell them to come see Miles riding the horse. When they run outside, Miss Giddens is wearing a different dress. See more »


Miss Giddens: But above anything else, I love the children.
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Crazy Credits

The film begins with a totally black screen and the sound of Flora singing for several seconds; then the 20th Century Fox logo fades in and out. The singing continues for a few seconds before the opening credits begin. As the credits display, we see an anguished Miss Giddens praying on the left side of the screen. Her actions are not explained until the film's climax. See more »


Version of Nightmare Classics: The Turn of the Screw (1989) See more »


O Willow Waly
Music by Georges Auric
Lyrics by Paul Dehn
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Horror that is the cinematic equivalent of rising damp
31 October 2005 | by (Mountains of Madness) – See all my reviews

Director Jack Clayton's masterpiece is a study of deepest dread. Its horror is the cinematic equivalent of rising damp.

Deborah Kerr accepts a job as the governess of two strange children (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin) and becomes convinced that they occupy a world haunted by repressed memories and the restless dead.

Martin Stephens' performance as the unfathomable Miles is extraordinary. The child projects a physical authority rare for his years. His dialog exchanges with Kerr run the gamut from highly amusing to deeply disturbing.

Clayton's greatest achievement is the way he subverts common household settings to the point where they become arenas of fear.

The sound design is chilling, conjuring sudden terror and thrusting us into the complex mechanics of the Kerr character's growing paranoia.

Strikingly shot and lit, the film is a textbook example of grave cinematic suggestion.

52 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Hmmm, maybe the kids are more evil than you thought xstrguy
How does she know? tpupkin
This is one of those movies... geekeh
On Second viewing not a ghost story at all... nutritionist
Others like this? writejulia
Three interpretations... Lu_tz
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