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The Wicker Man (1973)

R | | Horror, Mystery | June 1975 (USA)
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A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

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1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Lindsay Kemp ...
Russell Waters ...
...
Irene Sunters ...
May Morrison (as Irene Sunter)
Walter Carr ...
Ian Campbell ...
Oak
Leslie Blackater ...
Hairdresser
Roy Boyd ...
Peter Brewis ...
Musician
Barbara Rafferty ...
Woman with Baby (as Barbara Ann Brown)
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Storyline

Sgt. Howie travels to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He discovers that the locals are weird and unhelpful, and becomes determined to get to the bottom of the disappearance. Written by Sean Taylor <st52@cornell.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

June 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El culto siniestro  »

Box Office

Budget:

£500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,493 (USA) (27 September 2013)

Gross:

$60,891 (USA) (10 January 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (final cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sharp was second choice to play the island's doctor. The role was originally intended for Patrick Newell. See more »

Goofs

While Sgt Howie is at the chemist shop he shows Lennox (who is mixing something with a mortar and pestle) a photo of the missing girl. Notice how in between shots the photo goes from Howie's hand into Lennox's hand, without having been handed over. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sergeant Howie: [yelling] Will you send a dinghy, please?
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Short Version only] A message from the producers thanks "The Lord Summerisle and the people of his island" for co-operating in the making of the film. This is despite both the lord and the island being totally fictitious. See more »


Soundtracks

Chop Chop
Written by Paul Giovanni
Performed by chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Creative, entertaining and tragic. A beautiful picture.
27 September 2003 | by (England) – See all my reviews

‘The Wicker Man' follows the story of Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) who travels to the Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. However, the entire population of the island, including the girl's own mother (Irene Summers), denies that such a girl ever existed and as the righteous Howie investigates further he learns the terrifying truth of Summerisle.

Famed for an exceptional yet short performance from the legendary Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle, ‘The Wicker Man' is a textbook example of how to create a virtually seamless horror/thriller. Director Robin Hardy at one point thought this low-budget movie would never be made as he was forced to work with a very small budget, a short shooting schedule and a studio on the verge of bankruptcy that was in fact declared bankrupt just a few short months after filming was completed. However, ‘The Wicker Man' was made and nowadays is accepted as one of the finest horror/thrillers of all-time despite not receiving the praise it so deserved back in the Seventies. ‘The Wicker Man' was brilliantly written by Anthony Shaffer who chose to add very subtle clues as to what would happen that are made more apparent on further viewings. With the added advantage of obvious research into the pagan rituals ‘The Wicker Man' sought to portray the movie is left with a chilling feel of realism.

An enchanting soundtrack is blended marvellously into ‘The Wicker Man' which seems to lull the viewer into a false sense of security. Despite the constant foreboding feeling created by the intricate plot and top notch acting, there is a certain playful feeling that is brought about by the elegant soundtrack making it difficult to actually envisage any evil events occuring. One could be forgiven for wondering on a first viewing just where this bizarre little movie is going but the story has a quality about it that can grab the viewer and keep their interest all the way to the bitter and awfully haunting ending. The final scene as the credits roll is an image that is now engrained on my mind with all its emptiness and despair. As the curtain falls on this performance (so to speak) it becomes hard not to question the events leading up to the end and the humanity of these islanders. In some ways ‘The Wicker Man' is an unsettling history lesson that makes itself seem all too real.

Edward Woodward gives a tremendous performance as the increasingly baffled Sgt. Howie. He played his character convincingly and Howie's eventual realisation of what is going on around him is portrayed so well that it adds more realism to the movie. Woodward was able to take a character that may be a figure of loathing in another type of horror movie and make the audience feel empathy towards him. The strong religious beliefs within Howie thoroughly clash with the free-loving pagan society which adds humour and distress at the same time. However, as mentioned before, Christopher Lee somehow stole the show playing the relatively small part of Lord Summerisle. His magnificent onscreen presence seems so powerful that one forgets that he is only in the movie for a short amount of time. Added to this great mix was Britt Ekland as Willow, the beautiful landlord's daughter. Her seductive, nude dance (though a double was apparently used in parts) was one of the most erotic moments in horror and helped to contribute further realism to the movie. The scenes featuring the clashing characters of Howie and Willow are both amusing and tense making for some interesting character interaction.

‘The Wicker Man' is undoubtedly a cult classic of the horror genre which I recommend to all fans of horror/thrillers. Visually pleasing with some superb acting and direction as well as a fine screenplay. My rating for ‘The Wicker Man' – 9/10.


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