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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 who 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
3,404 ( 555)
2 wins & 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:

...A totally corrupt shocker from the author of "Sleuth" and "Frenzy"! 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

In his book, "Inside The Wicker Man", author Allan Brown tells us: "There was one curious interlude: a local man, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, was approached by crew members to appear in a scene in which, dressed in a dinner jacket and acting at his wit's end, he walked across a bridge then jumped into the river fully clothed. The scene was abandoned the next day when weather conditions turned bad, and because the river was at half-tide at the scheduled time. It is difficult to explain what this scene represented, for who on Summerisle would be wearing evening dress? Certainly there is no reference to it in the script." See more »

Goofs

On May Day, when Sgt Howie attempts to leave the island , the establishing shot of the harbor shows the plane moving across the surface of the water under the power of its propeller. It looks as if Sgt Howie is leaving or someone in another plane is landing. However, we find out in the subsequent scenes that Sgt Howie discovers that his plane is disabled and will not start, stranding him on the island. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

A 95 min version also exists that has the events in chronological order (unlike the 87 min version) but omits all footage prior to Sgt. Howie's arrival on Summerisle. See more »


Soundtracks

Chop Chop
(uncredited)
Written by Paul Giovanni
Performed by chorus
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Chilling insight into ancient paganistic rituals, slightly chipped
5 January 1999 | by xander-2See all my reviews

The bizarre and chilling tale of a fool chosen to be king for a day.

The shocking denouement of this film has stayed with me for many years, far longer than scenes or images from more famous films. A classic of its kind, it deserves the re-release it will probably never get.

Superficially a mystery thriller, this intelligent and well researched story delves into the beliefs and rituals of Ancient Britain, its folk mythologies and music, and reveals some of the un-settling fears that lie at their root. Set on a remote Scottish Island and giving the appearance of being a Whisky Galore, Local Hero type community, there is yet something off-centre about the townspeople that Edward Woodward, as Sergeant Howie, has come to investigate. The presence of Christopher Lee as the eloquent, commanding Lord of the Isle, gives the film an insidiously creepy edge suggesting a Hammer Horror lurks around the next wee wall. He is perfect in the role.

The story un-folds like a cross between Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, as the dogged Howie gets led all over town, up one blind alley and down another. Clues are dropped all the way about what is really going on, but we don't heed them. Until it's too late. Too late to walk away.

The standard video version runs for 85 minutes, cuts many important scenes and shows others out of sequence. A BBC version shown in 1998 ran around 95 minutes. The full version ran 102 minutes but I have never found it.

However, whilst uneven in parts and certainly flawed this is one of the most intelligent and interesting stories I have ever seen on film. See it yourself and you too will have many meetings with 'The Wicker Man', in your dreams, in the dark, where you cannot escape.


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