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The Wicker Man (1973)

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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.



2,124 ( 46)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


From the writer of 'Frenzy & Sleuth' Anthony Shaffer's incredible occult thriller See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

June 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El culto siniestro  »

Box Office


£500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$60,891 (USA) (10 January 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended) | (final cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Gary Carpenter, Paul Giovanni suggested that he and his band smoke dope to try and get into the mood. They just fell about laughing and were unable to play their instruments. See more »


Most of the "naked" girls dancing in the stone circle and jumping over the fire are wearing flesh-colored body stockings (the film was shot in autumn and not in spring as it was set, and thus was very cold). See more »


[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 »


Followed by The Wicker Tree (2011) See more »


Gently Johnny
Written by Paul Giovanni
Performed by Paul Giovanni and chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Chilling insight into ancient paganistic rituals, slightly chipped
5 January 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

The bizarre and chilling tale of a fool chosen to be king for a day.

The shocking denouement of this film has stayed with me for many years, far longer than scenes or images from more famous films. A classic of its kind, it deserves the re-release it will probably never get.

Superficially a mystery thriller, this intelligent and well researched story delves into the beliefs and rituals of Ancient Britain, its folk mythologies and music, and reveals some of the un-settling fears that lie at their root. Set on a remote Scottish Island and giving the appearance of being a Whisky Galore, Local Hero type community, there is yet something off-centre about the townspeople that Edward Woodward, as Sergeant Howie, has come to investigate. The presence of Christopher Lee as the eloquent, commanding Lord of the Isle, gives the film an insidiously creepy edge suggesting a Hammer Horror lurks around the next wee wall. He is perfect in the role.

The story un-folds like a cross between Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, as the dogged Howie gets led all over town, up one blind alley and down another. Clues are dropped all the way about what is really going on, but we don't heed them. Until it's too late. Too late to walk away.

The standard video version runs for 85 minutes, cuts many important scenes and shows others out of sequence. A BBC version shown in 1998 ran around 95 minutes. The full version ran 102 minutes but I have never found it.

However, whilst uneven in parts and certainly flawed this is one of the most intelligent and interesting stories I have ever seen on film. See it yourself and you too will have many meetings with 'The Wicker Man', in your dreams, in the dark, where you cannot escape.

163 of 202 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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