7.8/10
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114 user 119 critic

The Devils (1971)

In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

Ken Russell (screenplay), John Whiting (based on the play by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,710 ( 132)
4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Sister Jeanne
Oliver Reed ... Urbain Grandier
Dudley Sutton ... Baron De Laubardemont
Max Adrian ... Ibert
Gemma Jones ... Madeleine
Murray Melvin ... Mignon
Michael Gothard ... Father Barre
Georgina Hale ... Philippe
Brian Murphy ... Adam
Christopher Logue Christopher Logue ... Cardinal Richelieu
Graham Armitage ... Louis XIII
John Woodvine ... Trincant
Andrew Faulds ... Rangier
Kenneth Colley ... Legrand
Judith Paris ... Sister Judith
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Storyline

Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier - the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by setting him up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery, the mother superior of which is sexually obsessed by him. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence against the priest, ready for the big trial. Written by Films Ranked

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never had there been exorcisms like this. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Derek Jarman's sets are modeled on the sets of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927). Ken Russell wanted to avoid the clichéd look of period films and insisted on anachronistic, even futuristic, design. Russell's guidance to Jarman was that it should echo the 'rape in a public toilet' line from the Huxley novel that inspired the film. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie when Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed) is seen grooming his hair. It is a close-up of him supposedly looking at a mirror in the upper left hand corner of the screen, behind the viewer. Obviously there is no mirror as he consistently misses combing the more egregiously messed up parts of his hair and instead repeatedly combs the portions that are already groomed. In fact when he is done, his hair is still messed up. See more »

Quotes

Jeanne: Oh, Christ, let me find a way to you. Take me in your sacred arms. Let the blood flow between us uniting us. (moans) Grandier. Grandier!
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Alternate Versions

In 2012 the BFI persuaded Warners to allow them to release the film on video in the UK. Warners refused to allow the director's cut at all and would only allow the BFI to release the original 'X' certificate version on DVD. Warners refused permission to allow a hi rez release. The BFI produced a superb DVD transfer for the first time in its proper 2.35:1 ratio. The Channel 4 documentary 'Hell on Earth' was included but the 'Rape of Christ' sequence was removed. They also cut a line of dialogue when one of the actors refers to Warners as a bunch of 'c**ts'. Before this in the USA the 'unrated' version appeared as an upcoming release complete with sleeve art. 24 hours later Warners stopped the release! See more »


Soundtracks

Bourrée d'Avignon
from Secretum musarum (1615)
Music by Nicolas Vallet.
Played as the king's dance in the opening.
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Beautifully disturbing film
21 December 2000 | by bdpenningtonSee all my reviews

Ken Russell is one of those filmmakers whose work you can immediately identify. Whether your first was "Altered States" or (like me) "The Devils," you learn early on that if Mr. Russell's name is listed as director and/or writer, you can expect to be at least a little disturbed.

"The Devils" is, in my humble opinion, one of the best films ever made. I wish I hadnt been born so late because I can imagine how truly intense an experience it must've been to view "The Devils" in theater.

This film is the only film I've ever seen, regardless of genre, to take the viewer into the pit of hell and to hold her/him there unrelenting, uncompromising, and to make the viewer feel as s/he has actually experienced hell. I can only imagine how much difficulty Mr. Russell must have had when MPAA members saw this film. It's bleak, horrifying, shocking, disgusting and thoroughly delicious. Aldous Huxley (the author of the book on which this film was based) would have been proud to see that his true story of a Satanic Catholic church translated very well to film.

One last thing: I have never really been able to sit through the entire film since the first time I saw it. That is, odd as it sounds, extreme praise. What kind of hell would it be if I could sit comfortably?

Thank you, Ken Russell!


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

16 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devils See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,133,022
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Russo Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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