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Witchfinder General (1968)

 -  Drama | History | Horror  -  May 1968 (UK)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,185 users  
Reviews: 121 user | 108 critic

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

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Witchfinder General (1968)

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Cast

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

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

priest | village | witch | soldier | england | See more »

Taglines:

He'll hang, burn and mutilate you. He's the... witchfinder general See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Conqueror Worm  »

Box Office

Budget:

$175,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the first day of filming, Vincent Price fell from his horse. Director Michael Reeves refused to see him, hoping that angering Price would help the actor make his character more fierce. See more »

Goofs

The locals invariably speak with a generalized West Country accent, (for example the shepherd at c. 48 minutes) or even an Irish lilt. (for example: at c.65 minutes) There is no sign at all of the distinctive Suffolk/East Anglian accent to match the film's setting. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in TCM Underground: The Conqueror Worm (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A very interesting historical thriller with quite possibly Vincent Price's finest performance.
24 February 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I had been wanting to see 'Witchfinder General' for years, and I must say it almost lives up to its reputation. The version I watched was the restored uncut one, and while I thought the film had one or two slight flaws (mainly with the script), it is very, very good. This was the third and final movie directed by Michael Reeves, who sadly died of a drug overdose a year after it was released while still in his mid twenties. 'Witchfinder General' certainly shows a lot of promise, and is very well made on what I imagine was a fairly modest budget. Many describe it as a horror movie, but I think thriller is a more apt term. While it has some brutal and violent moments, and it does concern witches, there is no supernatural theme. It is similar in many ways to the underrated 'Mark Of The Devil' and Jess Franco's disappointing 'The Bloody Judge', two movies released after this one, and undoubtedly influenced by it. Horror legend Vincent Price clashed with Reeves on set with the latter telling him not to ham it up. Price took offence at this but obviously heeded the advice, and his performance here is arguably the best of his career. Price is brilliant throughout, and the supporting cast are all pretty good, especially Reeves regular Ian Ogilvy, and Robert Russell as Price's surly assistant, and there's a good cameo from Patrick Wymark ('Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun') as Cromwell. 'Witchfinder General' is a very good film which deserves to be seen by a wider audience, and Michael Reeves death is a tragedy for all movie lovers.


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