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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
1,688 ( 436)
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:

From the writer of 'Frenzy & Sleuth' Anthony Shaffer's incredible occult thriller 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

Britt Ekland was dubbed by Annie Ross. Her body double for nude scenes was Lorraine Peters. See more »

Goofs

As Sergeant Howie is crossing the causeway to the sweet shop, you see a person on bike cycling towards him, but a few seconds later, the bike has vanished, there isn't enough time for the cyclist to get out of the way. 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 The Cinema Snob: The Burning Hell (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Procession
(uncredited)
Performed by Magnet
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional but NOT a horror film
28 September 2004 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

A police sergeant (Edward Woodward) goes to a remote island near Scotland hearing that a young girl is missing. When he gets there it seems no one has ever heard of her...and most say she never existed. He continues to search and the mystery gets deeper and deeper leading up to a very disturbing conclusion.

I saw this during it's theatrical reissue in 1980--it was the cut 88 minute version. I was disappointed. It was advertised as a horror film and the edited version leaves gaping plot holes. I just saw the extended version on the DVD and loved it!

For one thing, as I said, it is NOT a horror film. I went in expecting that and didn't get it. It's actually a thriller with strong religious and sexual overtures. There's WAY too much to get into about the religious views in this film, and the sexual element is STRONG! There's a whole circle of nude young women dancing around a fire, and an exceptional sequence in which a very erotic song is sung by a nude Britt Ekland. The mystery itself is fascinating but I really got caught up in the religious and social aspects presented in this film. Credit writer Anthony Shaffer for his script.

Also the acting is great on all counts. Woodward deserves credit for playing such an unlikable character--and STILL getting you to sympathize with him! Also Hammer stars Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt (whose part is brutally reduced in the short version) are just great! For one thing it's interesting to see them playing fairly "normal" people (instead of vampires) and they give out excellent performances. Lee especially is enjoying himself--he did the film for free! To this day he said it's his best movie--he's right.

An excellent, haunting thriller but it might be too much for some people. There's next to no blood or violence, but I do know some people who just found the ending a bit too much to handle. Still, it's a definite must-see.

A deserved cult classic.


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