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The Devils (1971)

X  |   |  Drama, History  |  16 July 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 7,681 users  
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In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.



(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dudley Sutton ...
Baron De Laubardemont
Max Adrian ...
Father Barre
Georgina Hale ...
Brian Murphy ...
Christopher Logue ...
Graham Armitage ...
Andrew Faulds ...
Kenneth Colley ...
Judith Paris ...
Sister Judith


Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier - the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by setting him up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery, the mother superior of which is sexually obsessed by him. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence against the priest, ready for the big trial. Written by Niz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hell holds no surprises for them. See more »


Drama | History


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 July 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devils of Loudun  »

Box Office


SEK 1,200,949 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (restored)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While preparing for the climactic demolition of the city walls, a technician mistook a signal from Ken Russell and detonated the explosives before the cameras were rolling. A large chunk of the set had to be rebuilt. However, a documentary on the second disk of the 2012 DVD release of the film contradicts this story. In this documentary, Russell states that it was himself that pressed the button which detonated the explosives without communicating this to the camera team. It is also stated that the scene had to be re-shot a month later as a consequence the cameras missing the destruction of the walls. See more »


Judith Paris's character is referred to as Sister Agnes in the film but listed as Sister Judith in the credits. See more »


Madeleine: St Paul says that he who marries does a good thing, but he who remains chaste does something better.
Grandier: Then I am content to do a good thing and leave the best to those that can face it.
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Featured in Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Ken Russell's little known masterpiece
1 June 2004 | by (Buffalo NY) – See all my reviews

A few movies are so controversial that the Movie industry does their best to kill them off (see Terry Gilliams' "Brazil"). Such was the case with "The Devils" First, to clear a few things up...this did NOT come from a play, nor was it a novel. It is based on Aldous Huxley's painstakingly researched religious history of the famous Loudun exorcisms during the time of Richelieu. The book may be out of print, but my wife found a copy published in 1952 by Chatto & Windus. There are some more recent publications, but this one is lovely, with an engraving of Bishop Urban Grandier(the main character) dating back to 1627. Huxley actually includes original letters, which still exist, written by the participants of this travesty. Much of the dialogue of the film is directly from Huxley. The vision however is uniquely Russell's. When this movie was originally released, it was given an X rating, not due to sex, or even violence, although there is some of each. The plain fact is that the film in its original form is simply overpowering. The Movie Review board thought so! I was fortunate enough to see the original uncut version, rated X at the local art-house upon its release. This film is a shortened version. While still worthwhile, this film absolutely SCREAMS for a Criterion Collection restoration to its original (brilliant) form.

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Roger Ebert's review sbaldwin999
I found it truly uncut on DVD with excellent pic and sound peaceriver
Uncut Restored DVD lightgiver
Being Re-Released in 2012!! godsboss10
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Devils DVD-Petition is growing! myboigie
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