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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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3,166 ( 811)
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:

Hell holds no surprises for them. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken Russell has said that he had to be gentle with Max Adrian because he was rather frail at the time. See more »

Goofs

Judith Paris's character is referred to as Sister Agnes in the film but listed as Sister Judith in the credits. See more »

Quotes

Trincant: [holding up Grandier's baby as Grandier burns at the stake] Watch, bastard. See how your mother's honor was avenged.
Ibert: Lucky little bastard! It's not every day Baby sees Daddy burn to death.
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Alternate Versions

The heavily cut R-rated version runs 103 min. See more »

Connections

Featured in X-Rated (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Ken Russell's little known masterpiece
1 June 2004 | by jweigleinSee all my reviews

A few movies are so controversial that the Movie industry does their best to kill them off (see Terry Gilliams' "Brazil"). Such was the case with "The Devils" First, to clear a few things up...this did NOT come from a play, nor was it a novel. It is based on Aldous Huxley's painstakingly researched religious history of the famous Loudun exorcisms during the time of Richelieu. The book may be out of print, but my wife found a copy published in 1952 by Chatto & Windus. There are some more recent publications, but this one is lovely, with an engraving of Bishop Urban Grandier(the main character) dating back to 1627. Huxley actually includes original letters, which still exist, written by the participants of this travesty. Much of the dialogue of the film is directly from Huxley. The vision however is uniquely Russell's. When this movie was originally released, it was given an X rating, not due to sex, or even violence, although there is some of each. The plain fact is that the film in its original form is simply overpowering. The Movie Review board thought so! I was fortunate enough to see the original uncut version, rated X at the local art-house upon its release. This film is a shortened version. While still worthwhile, this film absolutely SCREAMS for a Criterion Collection restoration to its original (brilliant) form.


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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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