Possession (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror  |  28 October 1983 (USA)
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Reviews: 110 user | 108 critic

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.



(original screenplay), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna / Helen
Margit Carstensen ...
Margit Gluckmeister
Heinz Bennent ...
Johanna Hofer ...
Heinrich's mother
Carl Duering ...
Michael Hogben ...
Maximilian Rüthlein ...
Man with pink socks (as Maximilian Ruethlein)
Thomas Frey ...
Pink sock's acolyte
Leslie Malton ...
Sara, woman with club foot
Gerd Neubert ...
Subway drunk
Kerstin Wohlfahrt
Ilse Bahrs
Karin Mumm


During a secretive business trip away, Mark learns that his wife Anna is growing restless in what he believed was their happy marriage. Upon his return home, he learns from her that she wants a divorce. They both go through a series of different emotions related to their situation, Mark's which is generally obsessive about learning why Anna, who he still loves, wants the divorce, and Anna's which is generally increasingly histrionic in getting away from Mark. Caught in the middle is their infant son Bob, who Mark uses as a gage to Anna's mental state. Anna states that her want for the divorce is not because of another man, but Mark finds out that Anna has a lover named Heinrich. In the meantime, Mark also meets Bob's teacher Helen, who looks exactly like Anna, but is her polar opposite in temperament. Starting a relationship with Helen lessens his obsession with Anna. But as Mark and Anna's encounters together reach more emotional and violent levels, Mark, with help of a private ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She created a monster as her secret lover! See more »


Drama | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

28 October 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Night the Screaming Stops  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to the movie's Australian DVD video sleeve notes, the film was "heavily censored for its US release, and banned in the UK...". See more »


Bob: Don't open! Don't open! Don't open! Don't open! Please don't open! Don't open it! Don't open! Don't open it! Don't open!
See more »


Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

She's the maker of her own evil
3 July 2008 | by (Hamburg, Germany) – See all my reviews

Surely other Zulawski movies like "La femme publique" and "L'important c'est d'aimer" have dark, disturbing moments, too, but "Possession" must be the most terrifying of them all. It all begins perfectly normal, like something that could happen every day, anywhere in your neighborhood: Anna (Adjani) leaves Mark (Sam Neill), she confesses she found a new lover already a year ago, and then the breaking up of their marriage naturally affects their little son, too. "I'm the maker of my own evil", Anna says once, and the evil she creates is visualized literally as a slimy demon, whereas Mark "creates" a school teacher looking exactly like Anna (and also played by Adjani), a woman so pure and innocent they go to bed together without having sex, and of course the idealized woman immediately takes care of his son ... and the dish washing ;-). The torment and hysteria of destroyed love is perfectly set in a Berlin before reunification, with the wall appearing countless times in the frame: an obvious symbol that divides what used to belong together, just like the characters in the movie. The "possessed" Adjani delivers an unforgettable performance, but if you are going to watch this, be prepared for more blood and guts than in "The Exorcist".

25 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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