A modern-day politician is faced with an incomprehensible in this mystical-fantasy. Senator Rast is a very powerful man. But his is nothing compared to the extraordinary power of the ... See full summary »



(original screenplay), (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Patrick (1978)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A comatose hospital patient harasses and kills though his powers of telekinesis to claim his private nurse as his own.

Director: Richard Franklin
Stars: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Rod Mullinar
Thirst (1979)
Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of self-proclaimed supermen who achieve this state of superiority by drinking from the "blood cows" (read: people) kept at the "dairy farm", and they try to get her to join them.

Director: Rod Hardy
Stars: Chantal Contouri, Shirley Cameron, Max Phipps
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A scientist is experimenting with teenagers and turning them into murderers.

Director: Michael Laughlin
Stars: Michael Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Dan Shor
The Survivor (1981)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A plane crashes just after takeoff and the only survivor, the pilot walks out of the wreckage. He doesn't remember the explosion or the crash, but 300 passengers & crew are dead. As the investigation goes on people are wanting answers.

Director: David Hemmings
Stars: Robert Powell, Jenny Agutter, Joseph Cotten
Horror | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Angela is a young hairdresser thrown out of home by her puritantical mother after too many nights out. She quickly falls in with the modeling crowd and does some modeling work herself, ... See full summary »

Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Chantal Contouri, Robert Bruning, Sigrid Thornton
Road Games (1981)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A truck driver plays a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious serial killer who uses a young female hitchhiker as bait to lure victims on a desolate Australian highway.

Director: Richard Franklin
Stars: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (TV Movie 1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.

Director: John Newland
Stars: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton, Barbara Anderson
X the Unknown (1956)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A radioactive mud-like creature terrorizes a Scottish village during the 1950s.

Directors: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Stars: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Terry Camilleri, John Meillon, Kevin Miles
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young woman recovering from a nervous breakdown moves with her husband to a boys' school, and finds herself being terrorized by a mysterious one-armed man, but nobody believes her.

Director: Jimmy Sangster
Stars: Judy Geeson, Joan Collins, Ralph Bates
The Visitor (1979)
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

The soul of a young girl with telekinetic powers becomes the prize in a fight between forces of God and the Devil.

Director: Giulio Paradisi
Stars: Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen
Q (1982)
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

NYPD detectives Shepard and Powell are working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder. Meanwhile, something big is attacking people of New York and only greedy small time crook Jimmy Quinn knows where its lair is.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: David Carradine, Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark


Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Wolfe
Nick Rast
Carmen Duncan ...
Sandra Rast
Doc Wheelan
Gus Mercurio ...
Mr. Bergier
Alan Cassell ...
Mr. Porter
Mark Spain ...
Alex Rast
Alyson Best ...
Sean Myers ...
Benny Lucas
Mary Simpson ...
Zoe Cayce
Bevan Lee ...
Mr. Robinson
Neville Teede ...
Dr. Barthelemy
Mary Mackay ...
Miss Edith Twist
John Frawley ...
Dr. Lovelock
Nita Pannell ...
Mabel Wheelan


A modern-day politician is faced with an incomprehensible in this mystical-fantasy. Senator Rast is a very powerful man. But his is nothing compared to the extraordinary power of the enigmatic stranger who mysteriously comes to "visit" him. Possessing uncanny magical prowess and miraculous psychic abilities, the peculiar, but seemingly benevolent, visitor quickly gains a spell-binding hold over the senator and his family. But a power-lusting political backer is also vying for control over the up-and-coming senator. And he would kill the influential stranger, without question, for that power. But he and the senator are about to be enlightened. Written by Rone Barton Lokarr <sandbox2@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He'll take you to the brink of reality [Australia Theatrical] See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 March 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Forces  »

Box Office


AUD 850,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Powell's character, Gregory Wolfe, is actually an amalgam of two legendary characters: Rasputin, the Mad Monk and Harlequin. The latter forms the films title, the nickname of Powell's character and provides one of Wolfe's key costumes in the film whereas the former, Grigory Rasputin, forms the basis of Wolfe's first name, Gregory, and provides his character's alleged psychic and faith-healing traits. The supernatural abilities are an add-on character trait. See more »


Featured in Ozploitation Trailer Explosion (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Strange but wholly bewitching down under take on the Rasputin story
8 November 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I gotta give a big thumbs up to Rasputin. I mainly watched it because Everett De Roche did the screenplay and hes a reliable genre scribe who puts a good deal of thought and attention to characters into his work, which has included such fine outings as Lomg Weekend, Fortress, Razorback and Storm Warning. Generally I'm not such a big fan of the more fantasy oriented ambiguous genre movies, preferring a more straight ahead approach, although this may be because there seem to be a lot more satisfying straight forward schlockers out there than there are films like this. Anyhow, I watched this late on Halloween night, a wee bit soused and it kept my attention throughout like few films have been able too. The plot sees an Australian politician, whose child has leukaemia getting involved with a mysterious faith healer cum magician and general charismatic oddball. Sound familiar. Well the similarity is made clear by the names of the principal characters, which line up with the names of the main players in the Rasputin story. Senator Nick Rast is of course Tsar Nicholas, his son Alex equal Alexeis, though Alexeis in reality was a haemophiliac, wife Sandra stands for Alexandra, and Gregory Wolfe is analogous to Grigori Rasputin. The film steers clear of the more lurid aspects of the Rasputin legend though, in favor of intriguing ambiguity. Wolfe is never quite pinned down as good or evil, and his agenda is up for interpretation, as is his true nature, though the film definitely gives the impression that something out of the ordinary is going on. Behind all the weirdness of the film there seems to be an interesting look into politics. Wolfe is a kind of mirror for the political world in the film, exposing its chicanery as a sort of magic in itself, or at the very least a manipulative and somewhat warping, unnatural force. His opposite number in the film is a political king maker played by veteran Broderick Crawford, a slimy guy who objects to Wolfe having more influence than him. This conflict drives the film through to its conclusion and provides a tense backbone behind the arresting imagery and crazy tricks (with fun old school special effects). Senator Rast portrayed well by David Hemmings as a committed if slightly staid man, and Carmen Duncan is excellent, and attractive as his wife, who is somewhat enchanted by Wolfe. Mark Spain is suitably creepy as the son, but the film is pretty much owned by Robert Powell's portrayal of Wolfe, an immensely charismatic and persuasive, yet subtle and ambiguous performance that really makes us believe that Wolfe is capable of the acts he performs. As well as what goes on in the film he effectively casts a spell over the audience drawing them deep into the film. The only issue that I had with the film is that though it makes interesting comments about the nature of politics, magic and persuasion and has a number of great scenes, with all sorts of odd stuff going down and a genuinely off kilter ambiance at times that contrasts very nicely with the political setting, its lack of definitive answers or concrete villainry means that from a dramatic point of view it is more interesting than truly thrilling and it doesn't quite reach the kind of climax or revelation that would seem to be appropriate. Though its a heady experience, being taken into the weird hinterland where fantasy and reality interweave a bit of good honest catharsis would have been great, and though the ending is pretty darn cool anyway it does not fully satisfy in this respect. Nonetheless, to fans of offbeat oddball cinema I heartily recommend this lesser known gem.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Rasputin - Similarities and Disimiliarities jw_evans_wales
is he good or bad? frusnup
I loved it river_bottom_runner
How well did this do in the box office? MyNameIsSilence
Discuss Harlequin (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: