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The Scarlet Letter (1995)

An affair between a young woman and a pastor has disastrous consequences.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Hester Prynne
... Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale
... Roger Chillingworth
Lisa Andoh ... Mituba (as Lisa Joliffe-Andoh)
... Gov. John Bellingham
... Horace Stonehall
... Rev. Thomas Cheever
... Harriet Hibbons
... Maj. Dunsmuir
James Bearden ... Goodman Mortimer (as Jim Bearden)
... Goody Mortimer
... Goody Gotwick
... Johnny Sassamon
... Brewster Stonehall
... Elizabeth Cheever
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Storyline

In 1666 in the Massachusetts Bay colony, Puritans and Algonquian have an uneasy truce. Hester arrives from England, seeking independence. Awaiting her husband, she establishes independence, fixing up a house, befriending Quakers and other outsiders. Passion draws her to a young pastor. He feels the same; when they learn her husband has probably died at the hands of Indians, they consummate their love. A child is born, and on the day Hester is publicly humiliated and made to wear a scarlet letter, her husband appears after a year with Indians. Calling himself Chillingworth, he seeks revenge, searching out Hester's lover and stirring fears of witchcraft. Will his murderous plot succeed? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When intimacy is forbidden and passion is a sin, love is the most defiant crime of all.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 October 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La letra escarlata  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While viewing a scene during production, Demi Moore so disliked the way her hair looked, that she insisted the scene be re-shot, at her own expense. See more »

Goofs

When Hester starts to follow the red bird into the forest, once she's gotten deeper in the woods, you can see to the left of the screen three deliberate puffs of white smoke coming from a fog machine. See more »

Quotes

Hester Prynne: [in labor] Are you sure God's not punishing me?
Harriet Hibbons: To be sure he's punishing you, woman. He be giving you a child.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Commuter (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Agnus Dei
(Based on Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings")
Performed by Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
(Adm. by G. Schirmen Inc. (ASCAP))
Courtesy of Telarc International Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Who is to say what is a sin in God's eyes?"
10 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

For my point of view "The Scarlet Letter" is a good film with great performances… All the actors do a superb job… I was worried that Demi Moore might not have the range to handle the role of Mistress Prynne, but she is excellent... She is strong, passionate, intelligent and damaged… In another place and time she might have been a leader; in this movie she is quite believable as the woman who defends her love at all costs… Gary Oldman looks perfect as Reverend Dimmesdale… He projects force and sexual magnetism along with the guilt for his sin…

The film opens in 1666 when Hester Prynne (Demi Moore) arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony filled with hope that here, at last, in this new World, would come the freedom to worship without fear or persecution… She didn't suspect that beyond the trees there is a savage land of savage passions dark and untamed, and that soon she will face a scornful community in which she will forever be shamed by the scarlet letter…

Mistress Prynne rejected the idea of staying in the congregation until her husband's arrival and looked for a house of her own… She finds a beautiful and frightening place, just as 'Eden must have been so untouched…'

On one Sabbath morning, Hester met Reverend Dimmesdale (Gary Oldman) who helps her when her cart got stuck in the woods… She truly enjoyed, few minutes later, his sermon … It was rare, for her, to find a man so young and fiery who could speak with such force of passion… She was moved by his passion…

Dimmesdale thought that comprehending God was going to be his greatest challenge, but—after he met Hester—he was not the man he seems to be… He lost his power before this seductress beautiful woman… He lived in this township his whole life and his purpose was clear… But now he would risk everything—his life, his ministry, his soul—just to spend a few moments alone with her… After he asked her why that morning in the forest, she didn't say that she is married, he wondered how she were able to see so deeply into his nature…

From that moment, two hearts were there struggling against a love that grew stronger with each passing day…

Hester was courteous enough but her tongue knew no rules… She earned more than a few reprimands in her life for speaking too bluntly… With a frightening strength, she challenged her persecutors and stood up to their hypocrisy, refusing to reveal her lover's identity…

"The Scarlet Letter" compels us to recognize the shadow side of our lives, including this passion that pushes us beyond our limits... The climax also compels us to contemplate about whether there is anything that we would be willing to die for…


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