American Playhouse (1981– )
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Three Sovereigns for Sarah: Part I 

This is a true story based on transcripts of the Salem Witch Trials. Sarah (Vanessa Redgrave) and her two sisters are put on trial for suspicion of witchcraft. While her sisters are hanged,... See full synopsis »


Philip Leacock


Victor Pisano




Episode credited cast:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Sarah Cloyce
Kim Hunter ... Mary Easty
Will Lyman ... Rev. Parris
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Buffy Baldauf Buffy Baldauf ... Mercy Lewis
Les Barden Les Barden ... Ipswich Jailer
Hamilton Benz Hamilton Benz ... Israel Portor
Barbara Blossom Barbara Blossom ... Lydia
Judy Braha Judy Braha ... Elizabeth Parris
Stacey Caplin Stacey Caplin ... Bette Parris
Christopher Childs Christopher Childs ... Rev. Noyes
Jim Chiros Jim Chiros ... Jailer / Guard
Mara Clark Mara Clark ... 1st Matron
Bijou Clinger Bijou Clinger ... Sarah Good
Bob Colonna Bob Colonna ... Judge Corwin
Shay Duffin ... Judge Hathorne


This is a true story based on transcripts of the Salem Witch Trials. Sarah (Vanessa Redgrave) and her two sisters are put on trial for suspicion of witchcraft. While her sisters are hanged, Sarah is sentenced to a prison term to be served in a box barely large enough for her to lie down in. When she is released, her family name is cleared and all she is given for all she has suffered are three gold sovereigns- coin of the realm at the time.

Abby Williams, the preacher's niece, starts getting into fortune telling and such illegal activities, as taught to her by the slave Tituba. Other local girls get into it, and then start acting strange. Abby and the girls eventually start to name local people as 'witches' and blame their sicknesses on witchcraft. Hundreds are accused and sent to jail, though there are many who doubt the truth of the accusations. Among these are three sisters, Mary, Rebecca, and Sarah. All are kept in jail for quite some time, until Mary and Rebecca are found guilty, ...

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Did You Know?


Patrick McGoohan took over the role of the Chief Magistrate at short notice, to replace 'Mason, James' who died shortly before shooting was scheduled to begin. See more »


Featured in Divine Magic (1995) See more »

User Reviews

Not Enjoyed
1 September 2009 | by shenanigans526See all my reviews

I had to watch this movie for school, and did not enjoy it at all. The basic plot was alright, but the execution, not so much. Some of the main actors were good, but many of the smaller parts were horrible. The editing was not good at all, many scenes were random and unnecessary, and the music was unfitting. Lots of scenes were drawn out extensively, making the movie almost 3 hours long, and some details were unclear due to lack of explanations. I am in high school, and this movie bored me out of my mind. I supposed it was good historically, facts were represented well and accurately, but I would not recommend it all the same.

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Release Date:

27 May 1985 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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