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Possession (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Possession -- Open-ended Trailer from Anchor Bay Entertainment


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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Andrzej Zulawski (original screenplay)
Andrzej Zulawski (adaptation) ...
View company contact information for Possession on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 October 1983 (USA) See more »
She created a monster as her secret lover! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 4 nominations See more »
(119 articles)
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User Reviews:
Compelling and Complex See more (124 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Isabelle Adjani ... Anna / Helen

Sam Neill ... Mark

Margit Carstensen ... Margit Gluckmeister

Heinz Bennent ... Heinrich
Johanna Hofer ... Heinrich's Mother
Carl Duering ... Detective
Shaun Lawton ... Zimmermann
Michael Hogben ... Bob
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
Herbert Chwoika
Barbara Stanek
Ilse Trautschold
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Riebauer ... Man at the Conference (uncredited)
Dragomir Stanojevic ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)

Directed by
Andrzej Zulawski 
Writing credits
Andrzej Zulawski (original screenplay)

Andrzej Zulawski (adaptation and dialogue) &
Frederic Tuten (adaptation and dialogue)

Produced by
Marie-Laure Reyre .... producer
Original Music by
Andrzej Korzynski 
Cinematography by
Bruno Nuytten 
Film Editing by
Marie-Sophie Dubus 
Suzanne Lang-Willar 
Art Direction by
Holger Gross 
Costume Design by
Ingrid Zoré  (as Ingrid Zore)
Makeup Department
Ronaldo Abreu .... makeup artist
Laurence Azouvy .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
Harald Muchametow .... unit manager
Jean-José Richer .... production manager (as Jean-Jose Richer)
Heinz-Jürgen Schmidt .... unit manager
Knut Winkler .... unit manager
Art Department
Peter Alteneder .... props
Wolfgang Kallnischkies .... props
Barbara Kloth .... assistant art director
Mario Stock .... props
Sound Department
Norman Engel .... sound
Karl-Heinz Laabs .... sound
Jacques Maumont .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Charles-Henri Assola .... special effects
Daniel Braunschweig .... special effects
Carlo Rambaldi .... special effects: the creature
Willi Neuner .... stunts
Miomir Radevic-Pigi .... stunts (as Radevic Miorier)
Dragomir Stanojevic .... stunts
Herbert Wiczorek .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Dieter Ahlich .... electrician
Manfred Bogdahn .... electrician
Ulrich Clauss .... still photographer (as Ullrich Clauss)
Dieter Dentzer .... electrician
Andrzej Jaroszewicz .... camera operator
Peter Kalisch .... assistant camera (as Peter Kalisch)
Idislawe Kielar .... assistant camera
Pascal Marti .... assistant camera
Pat Miller .... electrician
Ernst Simoneit .... grip
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Barbara Lutz .... wardrobe
Helmut Preuss .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Jutta Omura .... assistant editor
Sabine Prenczina .... assistant editor (as Sabine Marang)
Other crew
Henry Dutrannoy .... accountant (as Henri Dutrannoy)
Christiane Helle .... continuity
Jürgen Holzheider .... accountant
Ernestine Kahn .... dialogue coach
Eva-Maria Schönecker .... assistant to the director

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Andrzej Zulawski's Possession" - International (English title) (poster title)
"The Night the Screaming Stops" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
124 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Actor Mike Hogben acts out his exclusive role once a year, on the anniversary of its release.See more »
Mark:If I lay at your feet and yelped like a dog would you still step over me?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) (V)See more »


What did I just see?
See more »
38 out of 47 people found the following review useful.
Compelling and Complex, 24 July 2001
Author: marquis de cinema from Boston, MA

Possession(1981) shows the viewer a relationship deep in dementia and repressed emotions. Mark and Anna stay together until the Death do us part moment. The family of Anna and Mark is probably the most disfunctional family ever portrayed on scree. The marriage of Anna and Mark is unstable to the point of total meltdown. The marriage is driven by harsh love, secretcy, and oppressed feelings of desire.

Isabelle Adjani gives a fantastic performance in the duel role of Anna and Helen. Anna and Helen are the polar opposites in their manners and personalities. One thing they have in common is their current life is shrouded in mystery. Helen in my opinion is Mark's fantasy of Anna as someone who is normal and stable. I find it interesting that Anna & Helen never meet or are seen together during the entire length of Possession(1981).

The East Germany locations are part of what makes Possession(1981) a special piece of film. The marriage of Anna and Mark is symbolic of the wall that divided Germany for many years. In Possession(1981), East Germany is a Kafkaesque place of fear, oppression, paranoia, and repression. With the bright lit lighting and colors East Germany gains the appearence of something futuristic. Gives East Germany a cold and indifferent feeling that inhibits every resident.

1981 was a year which gave us two extrodanory performances from actresses Isabelle Adjani and Zoe Tamerlis. Both put forth an emotional complex and disturbing performance in Possession(1981) and Ms. 45(1981). These two features show women with seas of emotions trapped within them until their frightening descent into madness. Both films seem to have been influenced by Repulsion(1964). Ms. 45 and Possession were two of the most underrated films of 1981.

Possession(1981) is steeped in complex and confound religious symbolics. The landscape of the motion picture is a place that has lost touch with its own spiritualty. The film needs to be watched more than three times in order to get a close clear understanding of the symbolic meanings. The main characters in the film(except Heinrich) no longer have any faith in religion. The final scene seems to symbolize the apocalyptic end of the world that is an element of Christianity.

The best way to see or try to understand Possession(1981) is in its full 127 minute version. The 81 minute version is one of the worst editing jobs ever done to an import film for American release. For example the opening and closing scenes were totally botched in the film's American release in 1981. Thus the movie was misintrpeted by many film goers and critics. Thankfully, Possession has been restored on Video in its uncut form.

The cinematography is one of the key aspects in Possession(1981). It moves among the characters of the film with sinister steps. Bruno Nuytten uses some excellent techniques to describe to events of the film. The DP and Director work together to create an intense and terrific type of genre film making. The role of DP was Bruno Nuytten's early step towards becoming a film director.

Possession(1981) is a mixture of a few different genres in cinema. The genre that the film belongs to in large parts is the horror genre. Inspired story by both director, Andrzej Zulawski and writer, Frederic Tuten. There is a wonderful plot twist near the end that is one of Possession's best moments. Its the kind of film I would expect from someone like David Cronenberg.

For her brave and courageous performance in Possession(1981), Isabelle Adjani won a Best Actress award at Cannes. She has been playing brave and difficult roles since The Story of Adele H(1975). She would play a similar character like this in One Deadly Summer(1986). Possession(1981) is a personal favorite of Dario Argento. Done by Andrzej Zulawski because of his frustrations to see an earlier film in Poland by him censored by that country's government.

An early film appearence by Sam Neil that may just be his top performance as an actor. The creature is a top of the line creation by Special Effects artist, Carlo Rambaldi. Shares some similarities with David Cronenberg's The Brood(1979), and Mario Bava's Shock(1977). A daring motion picture that should be watched by mature and open minded people. Possession(1981) blew my emotions away with its tense opening scene to its spine tingling and chaotic final moment.

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