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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.



2,170 ( 413)
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?


Although Rowan was played by Gerry Cowper it is her twin sister Jackie Cowper whose photograph is handed around by Howie, and in fact during the chase through the caves Jackie appeared in a couple of shots instead of Gerry. See more »


In the scene where Sgt Howie is in the classroom, he places the blackboard duster at an angle on the desk lid where Miss Rose sits, later when he goes to open the desk lid the blackboard duster is now level at the top the desk. 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 »


Referenced in 18 to Life: No Strings Attached (2010) See more »


Opening Music
Performed by Magnet
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Poorly paced but worthy seeing for the ending
14 November 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Drawn to a small Scottish Island by a letter pleading for help in finding a kidnapped girl, Sergeant Neil Howie realises that things are very different from life on the mainland. He begins to suspect that Rowan's disappearance may be part of a ritual to appease the nature gods worshipped on the island.

Well known now as one of the best British horror cult movies (one critic called it `the Citizen Kane of British horror') this film still stands today as new generations discover it's ending and fall in love with that. Sadly, most people know the ending before they have actually seen the film, which, in my mind, greatly takes away from the film's impact. For that reason I will make no mention of the ending's detail suffice to say that it works very well and actually raises the rest of the film.

The main body of the film sees Howie hunting for the missing girl and finding that things are not as simply as he originally thinks. The film comes across as a sort of spiritual musical for the most part and doesn't really bring out the tension or suspicions until near the end. The downside of this is that parts of the film appear slightly dull or meandering. I did get a little tired with the overuse of naturalist religious images but I accept that they were necessary for the story to be built.

The cast are very good. Lee was happy to do a film that brought him away from the camp Hammer horror mould into which he had been set. His Lord Summerisle is an image of cold, religious zealotry – terrifying in his portrayal of evil as part of `the right thing'. Woodward is also cast against type as he was a harder man in much of his work rather than a pure upright type. Ekland is good but is dubbed the whole way through the film to give her a Scottish accent in place of her own distinctive Swedish one. Of the cast it is Lee and Woodard who carry the film – their scenes together work well and they also carry the opposing moral weights of the story.

Overall this is a film that has had a reputation built on it's ending, and for that it is well deserved. However for the majority of the film the pacing is a little off and I felt that the songs slowed the film down too much. Overall the film works due to it's set-up and payoff, however it's delivery as a total film is not as good as it's reputation would have you believe.

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