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The Wicker Man (1973)

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A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

Director:

Robin Hardy

Writer:

Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,057 ( 215)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Woodward ... Sergeant Howie
Christopher Lee ... Lord Summerisle
Diane Cilento ... Miss Rose
Britt Ekland ... Willow
Ingrid Pitt ... Librarian
Lindsay Kemp ... Alder MacGreagor
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Harbour Master
Aubrey Morris ... Old Gardener / Gravedigger
Irene Sunters Irene Sunters ... May Morrison (as Irene Sunter)
Walter Carr ... School Master
Ian Campbell Ian Campbell ... Oak
Leslie Blackater Leslie Blackater ... Hairdresser
Roy Boyd Roy Boyd ... Broome
Peter Brewis Peter Brewis ... Musician
Barbara Rafferty Barbara Rafferty ... Woman with Baby (as Barbara Ann Brown)
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Storyline

On Sunday, April 29, 1973, Sergeant Neil Howie with the West Highland Constabulary flies solo to Summerisle off the coast of Scotland. He is there to follow up on a letter addressed specifically to him from an anonymous source on Summerisle reporting that a twelve year old girl who lives on the island, Rowan Morrison, the daughter of May Morrison, has long been missing. The correspondence includes a photograph of Rowan. Upon his arrival on Summerisle, Howie finds that the locals are a seemingly simple minded lot who provide little information beyond the fact that they know of no Rowan Morrison and do not know the girl in the photo. Mrs. Morrison admits to having a daughter, seven year old Myrtle, but no Rowan. As Howie speaks to more and more people, he begins to believe that Rowan does or did live on the island, but that the locals are hiding their knowledge of her. He also begins to see that the locals all have pagan beliefs, their "religion" which centers on procreation as the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El culto siniestro See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,493, 29 September 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$60,891, 10 January 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (final cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The amphibious aircraft that Sergeant Howie takes to the island was a Thurston Teal, owned and flown in the aerial sequences by Christopher Murphy. See more »

Goofs

When Lord Summerisle shows Howie the photographs, a close-up shows him starting to pick one up. It then cuts to a longer shot and Summerisle's hands are on his hips. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sergeant Howie: [yelling] Will you send a dinghy, please?
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Short Version only] A message from the producers thanks "The Lord Summerisle and the people of his island" for co-operating in the making of the film. This is despite both the lord and the island being totally fictitious. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Santa's Blotto (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Leap
(uncredited)
Written by Paul Giovanni
Performed by chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Beware Shortened Versions
26 November 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

On an island off the Scottish coast is a very strange community that Sgt Howie (Edward Woodward) ventures to in search of a missing teenaged girl. On landing he is astonished to find that the crowd of old men has never heard of the girl. His quest will be stranger yet.

The island is "ruled" by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) who is the descendant of a scientist who introduced exotic cultivars of fruits and re-introduced druidic or pagan beliefs. As the island prospered with its exported fruits the paganism became more deep rooted. The Sgt finds more and more mystery as he continues his quest for the girl.

Pitting Christianity against early pagan druidic rituals is just one of the intellectual pleasures of this cult film. As the local teacher (Diane Cilento) tells the Sgt, it's easier for a child's mind to understand reincarnation than resurrection. It gets them past all those rotting bodies.

Part mystery story, part horror, The Wicker Man blends several genres into one fascinating film. The May Day Festival is a throwback to pagan rites of a thousand years ago (a bit of which continues today in Morris dancing) and are a highlight of this film. The bizarre procession to the sea to offer sacrifices to the sea gods and sun god is historically accurate and sets up a surprise ending not to be forgotten.

Woodward is splendid as the pompous officer who clings to his religion. Lee is terrific as the eccentric lord. Cilento is a hoot as the teacher. Britt Ekland is the landlord's daughter Willow and Ingrid Pitt is the librarian. Blending folk and Enya-like music (by Paul Giovanni), director Robin Hardy creates a bawdy pagan world in the midst of the 20th century. The Celtic symbolism (Nuada the Sun God) is beautiful and helps set the tone.

A visual treat with great music, this film really gives the viewer something to think about. Highly recommended.


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