7.8/10
13,299
114 user 120 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
3,800 ( 371)
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:

The Devils is not a film for everyone . . . See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Ken Russell, when the part of Sister Jeanne was offered to Glenda Jackson the script had a scene where Jeanne, after her death, has her head cut off and displayed on the convent altar: "When she saw the final script which ended with the death of the leading man, she said, 'That's not the way you told it to me,' which I had to admit was true. She'd loved the idea of her head in a casket and everyone worshiping her on their knees. And with all that gone, she'd have been just back in the madhouse again." 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

Barre: [to Sister Jeanne] My dear sister in Christ, I must question you.
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Alternate Versions

35mm prints in British distribution have been shortened by approximately 10 minutes for reissue on a double bill. The most common video release is the more heavily censored American version. 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

 
Shocking, beautifully elegant, a truly provocative masterpiece that induces raw emotions. 10/10
20 January 2003 | by vassl1See all my reviews

Shocking, beautifully elegant, a truly provocative masterpiece that induces raw emotions. 10/10

Two years before 'The Exorcist' hits the screen, Ken Russell puts the Catholic Church in the spotlight by filming one of the most disturbing films of all times. Except from being a sheer technical and aesthetic masterpiece, 'The Devils' provokes as a film with its relentless sense of anarchy. Religious hysteria and illusions, the horror of human arrogance and depravity and the love that turns to cherishing that turns to hatred. It's hard to put it in words, one must simply watch it to understand the simple splendor of this film. For open-minded viewers only...


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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
See more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »

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