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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:

LEAVE THE CHILDREN HOME! ...and if YOU are SQUEAMISH STAY HOME WITH THEM!!!!!!! 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

The real Matthew Hopkins was only in his mid 20s in 1645 and died before he was 30. Vincent Price's character is middle-aged, like the actor himself. Hopkins and Stearne executed more than 300 people, mainly women, during their two or three years of '"witch hunting". Considering that 500 people in total were executed for witchcraft in England between the late 15th and late 18th centuries, it means that Hopkins was responsible for two-thirds of these executions during a period of three years. See more »

Goofs

There are several references to the value of payments in 'guineas'. However, the gold coin of that name was not minted until 1663, eighteen years after the film was set. 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

The American version, retitled The Conqueror Worm, features opening and closing narration from Edgar Allen Poe's poem of the same name. See more »

Connections

Featured in Saxon: Witchfinder General (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
witch hunts
25 October 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

Like "The Devils", "Witchfinder General" (also called "The Conqueror Worm") is likely to disturb a lot of people through it's portrayals of witch hunts. This one portrays England during its civil war in the 1640s. With the people paranoid enough to accept anyone, puritan Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) goes around coercing witchcraft confessions out of women, and summarily executing them in the most vicious ways possible.

Things get ugly when Hopkins targets priest John Lowes (Rupert Davies). You see, Lowes' niece Sarah (Hilary Dwyer) is engaged to Cromwell soldier Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy). And Marshall may have a heart of gold, but he will go to any length to protect his beloved. And I mean ANY LENGTH.

Vincent Price was always a trustworthy horror star, and this movie doesn't disappoint. It's certainly worth seeing, but you might want to avoid it if you have a weak stomach.


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