7.8/10
12,676
111 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
4,946 ( 222)
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
Learn more

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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 Niz

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

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

Goofs

(around 1h18:30) A few scenes after Grandier has been tortured by having a spike pierced through his tongue, he is shown praying despairingly, with the camera focused on his face as shot through the mask-contraption he had worn during this ordeal. The centre of focus is his mouth and tongue. As he speaks, it can be seen that there's no wound on his tongue. See more »

Quotes

Baron De Laubardemont: Good morning! Did you sleep well?
Grandier: With all this noise?
Baron De Laubardemont: There are thousands of them out there. Where do you expect them to get all the beds from? Besides, they're all too excited.
Grandier: About what?
Baron De Laubardemont: Oh...
[pretends to have forgotten for a moment]
Baron De Laubardemont: Your execution.
Grandier: I have not been tried yet.
Baron De Laubardemont: All right, have it your own way. Your trial then.
[immediately after, a soldier smashes a statue]
See more »

Alternate Versions

A restored version of The Devils was screened at The National Film Theatre in London on 23/11/04. Two scenes had been reinstated - the Rape of Christ which brought the orgy to a climax, and a scene near the end of the film when Jeanne masturbates with the bone that Laubardemont has given her as a souvenir. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Best of the Worst: Ninja Movies (2014) 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

 
Genius; The greatest film of church corruption ever conceived.
22 May 2004 | by degelbSee all my reviews

Cited by director Alex Cox and critic Mark Kermode as one of the ten greatest achievements in cinema of all time, The Devils is based on a true story set in France in 1634 about the evils of the union of church and state controlled by power hungry, perverse men who prey on faith and fear, and one priest, Father Grandier, who tries to protect the liberties and walls of his city, Loudun.

This film was met with great controversy and opposition due to its contents and depictions of blasphemy. Hardly available today, the current VHS release suffers from trigger happy censors with no desire to leave the plot intact. The video translation is appalling, with only a fraction of the resolution and quality of film, and the fullscreen framing mauls at least 60% of the compositions. If you can attain this on widescreen on DVD, you are a lucky person. Unfortunately, as is reflected by another comment on this board, most people see the crappy version and judge the film based on that.


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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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