The Conqueror Worm (1968)
"Witchfinder General" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History, Horror  |  May 1968 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 6,166 users  
Reviews: 133 user | 116 critic

A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch hunter.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Marshall
Rupert Davies ...
John Lowes
Hilary Heath ...
Sara (as Hilary Dwyer)
Robert Russell ...
John Stearne
Nicky Henson ...
Tony Selby ...
Godfrey James ...
Michael Beint ...
Captain Gordon
John Trenaman ...
Harcourt (as John Treneman)
Bill Maxwell ...
Paul Ferris ...
Paul (as Morris Jar)
Maggie Kimberly ...
Peter Haigh ...
Lavenham Magistrate


England is torn in civil strife as the Royalists battle the Parliamentary Party for control. This conflict distracts people from rational thought and allows unscrupulous men to gain local power by exploiting village superstitions. One of these men is Matthew Hopkins, who tours the land offering his services as a persecutor of witches. Aided by his sadistic accomplice John Stearne, he travels from city to city and wrenches confessions from "witches" in order to line his pockets and gain sexual favors. When Hopkins persecutes a priest, he incurs the wrath of Richard Marshall, who is engaged to the priest's niece. Risking treason by leaving his military duties, Marshall relentlessly pursues the evil Hopkins and his minion Stearne. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

priest | niece | village | witch | soldier | See All (122) »


LEAVE THE CHILDREN AT HOME...If YOU are squeamish stay home with them! See more »


Drama | History | Horror


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Conqueror Worm  »

Box Office


$175,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vincent Price regarded his performance here as the finest of his horror movie career. See more »


When Stearne is chasing Marshall through the fields, tracks left by a 20th century mechanical tractor are clearly visible. See more »


[first lines]
[United States Conqueror Worm versions]
Matthew Hopkins: [voiceover] LO! 't is a gala night/Within the lonesome latter years./An angel throng, bewinged, bedight/In veils, and drowned in tears,/Sit in a theatre to see/A play of hopes and fears,/While the orchestra breathes fitfully/The music of the spheres."
See more »


Referenced in ParaNorman (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Genuine horror, from a film that's NOT a horror film!
24 May 2002 | by (Southport Lancashire Uk) – See all my reviews

I have a copy of Witchfinder General from many years ago. Recently, whilst re-organising my collection, I happened upon it and watched it once more. This film still manages to induce general feelings of horror on account of its violence, even though it is not really a 'horror' film as such. Watch it for its superb cinematography which lends it an appearance of freshness that belies its 35 years. It still looks as if it could have been made yesterday. Some of the more violent scenes will make you squirm. The cruelty of the period portrayed can only be imagined and the cheapness of life comes across as truly shocking. Vincent Price is excellent as Hopkins (though maybe a bit 'mature' to portray him, since he was witchfinding in his late twenties and died in his early thirties). To think that this evil man really existed and operated unchecked for several years leaves one cold. A minor masterpiece that all lovers of the macabre should enjoy.

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