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Witchfinder General (1968)

Unrated | | Biography, Drama, Horror | 17 May 1968 (USA)
A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch-hunter when the latter terrorizes his fiancée and kills her uncle.

Director:

Michael Reeves

Writers:

Tom Baker (screenplay), Michael Reeves (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Price ... Matthew Hopkins
Ian Ogilvy ... Richard Marshall
Rupert Davies ... John Lowes
Hilary Heath ... Sara (as Hilary Dwyer)
Robert Russell ... John Stearne
Nicky Henson ... Swallow
Tony Selby Tony Selby ... Salter
Bernard Kay ... Fisherman
Godfrey James Godfrey James ... Webb
Michael Beint Michael Beint ... Captain Gordon
John Trenaman John Trenaman ... Harcourt (as John Treneman)
Bill Maxwell ... Gifford
Paul Ferris Paul Ferris ... Paul (as Morris Jar)
Maggie Kimberly ... Elizabeth
Peter Haigh Peter Haigh ... Lavenham Magistrate
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Storyline

England is torn in civil strife as the Royalists battle the Parliamentary Party for control. This conflict distracts people from rational thought and allows unscrupulous men to gain local power by exploiting village superstitions. One of these men is Matthew Hopkins, who tours the land offering his services as a persecutor of witches. Aided by his sadistic accomplice John Stearne, he travels from city to city and wrenches confessions from "witches" in order to line his pockets and gain sexual favors. When Hopkins persecutes a priest, he incurs the wrath of Richard Marshall, who is engaged to the priest's niece. Risking treason by leaving his military duties, Marshall relentlessly pursues the evil Hopkins and his minion Stearne. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The depraved must die... BEWARE the Witch Hunter! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Matthew Hopkins: Conqueror Worm See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$175,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Michael Reeves hadn't wanted Vincent Price for the main role of Matthew Hopkins, there was reportedly tension between the two of them while working together. See more »

Goofs

Before Richard hits the innkeeper in the stomach, the bulge of the padding under the man's shirt is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[United States Conqueror Worm versions]
Matthew Hopkins: [voiceover] LO! 't is a gala night/Within the lonesome latter years./An angel throng, bewinged, bedight/In veils, and drowned in tears,/Sit in a theatre to see/A play of hopes and fears,/While the orchestra breathes fitfully/The music of the spheres."
See more »

Alternate Versions

All British versions prior to 1996 were cut by 1 min 26 secs by the UK censor on original release. The Redemption Video release restores this material from a U.S laserdisc. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the UK's finest horror films.
26 March 2011 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

England, 1645: in the midst of civil war, opportunistic witch-finder Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his sadistic assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) travel from village to village forcing confessions from suspected witches for both profit and personal gratification. After the pair torture and execute priest John Lowes (Rupert Davies), taking advantage of his beautiful niece Sara (the lovely Hilary Dwyer) in the process, roundhead soldier Richard (Ian Ogilvy), Sara's fiancé, swears an oath of revenge.

The last film from British horror director Michael Reeves, whose promising career was sadly cut short at the age of 25 by an accidental overdose, Witchfinder General is a brilliant account of the barbarous acts perpetrated against so-called witches during the 17th century, supposedly all in the name of God. Benefitting from Reeves' unflinching direction and a faultless performance by Price as a man who must surely qualify as one of cinema's most loathsome villains, the film is not only a thoroughly effective piece of sickeningly violent horror entertainment, but is also at turns a chilling lesson on one of the darkest periods in British history, a devastating indictment of human nature, a heart-warming love story, and a satisfyingly brutal revenge drama.


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