5.2/10
13,591
95 user 37 critic

The Scarlet Letter (1995)

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

Director:

Roland Joffé

Writers:

Nathaniel Hawthorne (novel), Douglas Day Stewart (screenplay)
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ON DISC
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Rose
Stars: Gary Oldman, Jeroen Krabbé, Isabella Rossellini
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Demi Moore ... Hester Prynne
Gary Oldman ... Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale
Robert Duvall ... Roger Chillingworth
Lisa Andoh Lisa Andoh ... Mituba (as Lisa Joliffe-Andoh)
Edward Hardwicke ... Gov. John Bellingham
Robert Prosky ... Horace Stonehall
Roy Dotrice ... Rev. Thomas Cheever
Joan Plowright ... Harriet Hibbons
Malcolm Storry ... Maj. Dunsmuir
James Bearden James Bearden ... Goodman Mortimer (as Jim Bearden)
Larissa Laskin ... Goody Mortimer
Amy Wright ... Goody Gotwick
George Aguilar ... Johnny Sassamon
Tim Woodward ... Brewster Stonehall
Joan Gregson ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La letra escarlata See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Demi Moore reportedly said she was fine with changing the ending, because not many people have read the book. 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

Pearl: My father died before I reached my teens. Some say that was a punishment. My mother never remarried or loved another. Some say THAT was a punishment.
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

You Will See So Many Shades of Red Watching This.
3 November 2003 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

Ridiculous take on the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel as those who worked on this behave like they never even read the book. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony of 1666 a young woman (Demi Moore) fears that her husband (the much older Robert Duvall) is dead after a year of absence. She befriends pastor Gary Oldman (laughable that he could ever be a religious man in a film to start with) and soon romance blossoms. The romance turns physical, a child is born (no one knows who the father is), Moore is forced to wear the titled item, Duvall returns and plots revenge on the man who impregnated his wife while he was captured by wild Indians and Oldman secretly punishes himself as Moore keeps their affair a secret from the townspeople. Where will all this lead? "The Scarlett Letter" is a really disappointing film considering that Roland Joffe' (a once great director in the 1980s who made modern masterpieces like "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission") acts like he is just not comfortable with the material and does not know how to execute the excruciating novel into a cohesive cinematic product. Oldman and Duvall, usually very dependable players, cannot cope here and Moore just continued to under-achieve in front of the camera. Void of intelligence, dim-witted and poorly paced, "The Scarlett Letter" is one of those films that has absolutely no tone and thus becomes a hard experience to get through. Turkey (0 stars out of 5).


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