6.9/10
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Witchfinder General (1968)

A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch hunter.

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 ... Capt. Gordon
John Trenaman John Trenaman ... Harcourt (as John Treneman)
Bill Maxwell Bill Maxwell ... Gifford
Paul Ferris Paul Ferris ... Paul (as Morris Jar)
Maggie Kimberly 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 Year's Most Violent Film! [UK Theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1968 (UK) 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Director Michael Reeves wanted Donald Pleasence to play Matthew Hopkins, but American-International Pictures, the American distributor and co-financier of the film, insisted that Vincent Price play the title character, and Reeves grudgingly accepted. See more »

Goofs

When the Witchfinder's assistant meets up with him shortly after the burning, a modern plastic drainpipe can be seen on a building behind. Also during the burning, a few TV aerials can briefly be seen on some roofs. 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 USA version, titled The Conqueror Worm, as well as having the reference to the Poe poem, replaces the film's original score by with a different (although similar) score by . UK prints under the title Witchfinder General have the correct original Ferris score. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Art of Fear (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The best minor classic?
27 December 2003 | by ubercommandoSee all my reviews

A stunning low budget film that seems to transend it's limited budget. For once, Price doesn't ham it up and Ogilvy gets to go deeper with his old Etonian dashing hero persona. There is genuine horror from the first scene of a woman being burned, Hopkins' sidekick performing emergency surgery on himself and the feeling of a people opressed and cornered on all sides by war and religious panic. A special mention must go to a man who I think is the most underrated cinematographer in the movies: John Coquillon, who makes the scenery haunting yet beautiful like a Constable painting.


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