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

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History, Horror  |  May 1968 (UK)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,972 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 115 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: The Conqueror Worm (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
Edit

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

Taglines:

The Year's Most Violent Film! [UK Theatrical] 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:

The Conqueror Worm  »

Box Office

Budget:

$175,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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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 film, set in 1645, talks of "Cromwell's Roundheads" and depicts Cromwell as commander-in-chief and leading the Army at the Battle of Naseby. In fact, Oliver Cromwell was not a founder member of the Parliamentarian ('Roundhead') movement. He was still only second-in-command at the time of Naseby (under Sir Thomas Fairfax), and would not become commander-in-chief until 1650, and even then was still subject to the will of Parliament. 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 Movie Macabre: The Conqueror Worm (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Simply a great film
25 April 2003 | by (Western Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Most folks have already enthusiastically praised "Witchfinder General" as a masterpiece, so I have little to add in agreement. It truly is a great film because it is about important ideas--a deep, dark, existential look into the worst of the human condition. John Coquillon's cinematography is about as good as it gets, and Michael Reeves's direction is superb. But what really sets this apart is Vincent Price's performance. It is easy to overplay villainy, lapsing into parody, but Price is so calm and unaffected here that he is the very essence of pure evil incarnate, an evil corruptly justified by misguided ideals. This is a powerful film, not only relevant as a historical depiction, but also as a morality play for events in the world today. It may be cliche to say, but you'll think about "Witchfinder General" for as long as you think about movies.


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