MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 285 this week

The Witches (1990)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Fantasy, Horror  |  24 August 1990 (USA)
6.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 21,574 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 34 critic

A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 03 Nov 2011
 
a list of 37 titles
created 01 Oct 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 05 Apr 2013
 
a list of 39 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 35 titles
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Witches" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Witches (1990)

The Witches (1990) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Witches.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Two Deaths (1995)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A tale of power, passion and obsession set in a politically torn Eastern European country.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Sonia Braga, Patrick Malahide, Ion Caramitru
Cold Heaven (1991)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An adulterous woman's faith in God is tested when her husband dies and miraculously comes back to life.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Theresa Russell, Mark Harmon, James Russo
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Gary Busey, Tony Curtis, Theresa Russell
Walkabout (1971)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg
Track 29 (1988)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth. While eating at a roadside cafe, she encounters a ... See full summary »

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Theresa Russell, Gary Oldman, Christopher Lloyd
Castaway (1986)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Middle-aged Gerald Kingsland advertises in a London paper for a female companion to spend a year with him on a desert island. The young Lucy Irvine takes a chance on contacting him and ... See full summary »

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Oliver Reed, Amanda Donohoe, Georgina Hale
Performance (1970)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by... See full summary »

Directors: Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
Stars: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg
Eureka (1983)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Arctic prospector Jack McCann, after fifteen years of solitary searching, becomes one of the world's wealthiest men when he literally falls into a mountain of gold in 1925. Years later, in ... See full summary »

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Con artists plan to fleece the eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long lost Uncle Fester.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A married couple grieving the recent death of their little daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Powerful supernatural forces are unleashed when a young architect (Kelly Reilly) becomes pregnant after moving to an isolated and mysterious valley to build a house. And when the ... See full summary »

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Kelly Reilly, Miranda Richardson, Rita Tushingham
Witches (Video 1998)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Directors: Fred Amata, Sunny Collinsis
Stars: Liz Benson, Zack Orji, Patrick Doyle
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Charlie Potter ...
...
...
Sukie Smith ...
Rose English ...
...
Annabel Brooks ...
Emma Relph ...
Nora Connolly ...
Edit

Storyline

A young boy, recently orphaned, is taken to England by his grandmother. At a hotel in which they are staying, a group of witches have gathered to prepare a plot to rid England of all children. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy they've turned into a mouse!


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La maldición de las brujas  »

Box Office

Gross:

$10,360,553 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the witches in the meeting are men in women's clothing. See more »

Goofs

When the stroller rolls down the hill, the hood is slightly raised. In 2 shots, the hood is completely down. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Helga: When your father was a boy like you, and living with me here in Norway, I told him about witches too, so that he would always be aware. Now, the most important thing you should know about real witches is this - now listen very carefully! Real witches dress in ordinary clothes, and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses, and they work in ordinary jobs.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Master Ninja II (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
On a par with the rest of Dahl's movies (Willy Wonka , Matilda , James and the Giant Peach)
12 December 2003 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Yet another book by the famous storyteller Roald Dahl has been transferred to the silver screen. To be honest I have not read the book but I can assure you that the film consists of all the sinister irony, the creepiness and an amusing touch of morbidity which dominates all the fairy tales this fellow has printed on paper. The Witches is a rather forgotten little gem with a biting script, an engaging direction and entertaining performances from the entire cast. Roald Dahl (and consequently the writer and the director) made his own version of witchcraft. He used scary images and frightening themes not to insult the occult fans but simply to poke fun at some cliched lore and legends. As a result the film suffered from a severe identity crisis and failed to reach a target audience: a bit too dark for kids and the adults easily misjudged it as a run-of-the-mill childish corny movie. No wonder the film is to date an unknown fantasy flick. However for the lucky viewers it is a fondly remembered satire with a cult status.

Luke (Jasen Fisher) is a little boy whose parents take him on vacation to visit his grandmother Helga (Mai Zetterling). Helga has Norwegian origin and knows many things about witches, evil creatures which manage to lure small children only to kill them later. Apparently Helga has encountered a witch in her childhood. Luke seems to enjoy his grandmother's stories. When Luke's parents are killed in a car accident Helga takes the orphaned child under her custody and does her best to fill the void. When Luke is attacked by a strange woman who most probably was a witch, Helga realizes that her grandson has suffered enough already and needs a break. The two of them take a getaway trip to a luxurious British hotel by the seashore. During their residence in the hotel, a convention is being conducted by a group of women calling themselves "The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children." Their leader is Miss Ernst (Anjelica Huston), an aristocratic lady whose gothic and sharp characteristics seem to vaguely ring some bells in Helga's memory. Luke accidentally attends the convention only to find out it is actually a coven of the hideous witches his granny has described to the last detail. The witches hide their ugly real faces under masks. Miss Ernst is of course the notorious Grand High Witch, the most repelling, terrifying, powerful and infernal of them all. The Grand High Witch is fed up with her underlings and decides that enough time has been wasted: therefore she forms a master plan according to which they will eliminate easily all the children in the country. It is now up to Luke and Helga to save the United Kingdom from this massacre.

The imagery used by the director is effective and plays a crucial part for the atmosphere of the movie. Congratulations to the SFX and make up crew for their awesome depiction of the bare skulled sorcerers. Yeah, yeah it is quite scary for kids but whatever. Dahl never cared for stereotypes and neither should we. The whole concept is a multileveled parody: firstly the childish phobias of mean witches are depicted pleasantly. Secondly, the underlying metaphor the film tries to pull off at how cruel these social workers and charity people can be, instead of preventing the cruelty, is funny. There are also many other humorous scenes (obviously wanting to counter balance the scary ones) like when Bruno, an overweight spoiled rich bulimic boy who was transformed into a mouse by the witches, says compliantly to his freaked parents "Don't take it so hard mom! You did after all want me to lose weight, didn't you?" Speaking of the mouse, I would also like to make a reference to the professional puppeteering and dubbing SFX by Jim Henson which are very successful. Generally the effects for this movie are well crafted and not at all dated. The director also did a good job in setting the creepy scenes or the action sequences (like the finale).

The casting was also inspired. I liked seeing Fisher in the central role, not necessarily because he gives a standout performance but because we finally get a real character and not a piece of cardboard. Luke doesn't apply to any of the stereotypes we see in cinema generally. He is not the cute and painfully sappy sweet little boy, or the nerdy goof and he is definitely NOT the do-it-all superhero who destroys everything in his wind-blowing path (a la Dennis the Menace or Home Alone). Mai Zetterling (who is also the narrator) gives a warm performance as the wise grandmother and also the most dramatic one of the entire film. She provides therefore the human element of tragedy in the movie. Anjelica Huston arguably steals the show in a challenging role. She is exceptional being threatening and spooky (not necessarily in her real grotesque appearance but with her ice cold stare). The kid who plays Bruno adds much comic relief in an obviously preachy role about the sin of gluttony. Oh, there is also a cameo by a then obscure Rowan Atkinson who is sadly underused. For you obsessed Atkinson fans out there you may check him out in a verbal (albeit brief) character.

Enough said, I think. The Witches is a strange film which has a perfect (but misunderstood) balance between a dark fairy tale and a snicky adult satire. It is well worth watching for fantasy fans anywhere. I don't know if it is the best (or faithful) ADAPTATION of Dahl's novel, but I believe sincerely that it is the best MOVIE BASED on a Roald Dahl novel. Recommended? You betsa!!!!

THE WITCHES 8.5 / 10


39 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Remake is in the works! yaphankfd326
What do you think if Tim Burton remade this?. thomvic
My favorite LOL moments... dabukaba
Films that scared the *beep* out of you as a kid.... bluesy-blue-sea
Elsie (the hotel worker witch) blackman_806
Your dream cast if this ever gets remade carlito_is_cool
Discuss The Witches (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page