The Crucible (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Crucible (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

When Arthur Miller's play The Crucible was first staged in 1953, it was widely acclaimed as a metaphor for the recklessness of Joseph McCarthy and his spurious crusade against communism. In its 1996 screen adaptation (scripted by Miller), the tone has been adjusted somewhat and plays as a warning against the dangers of political and religious extremism of all kinds. After a group of young women is accused of witchcraft in the Puritan community of Salem, Mass. in 1692, Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) is held in suspicion of practicing magic. Abigail in turn levels charges against John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his wife Elizabeth (Joan Allen). Abigail has a private grudge against the Proctors; while working as their servant, she had an affair with John, and when John ended the relationship and returned to his wife, Abigail was fired. Now the Reverend Parris (Bruce Davison) is hearing accusations and counter-accusations of misdeeds from all sides of the community in the wake of Abigail's charges, so he brings in Judge Danforth (Paul Scofield) to determine who is guilty or innocent. However, given the moral climate of the time, it seems someone has to be found guilty of witchcraft, even though firm evidence of wrongdoing is becoming hard to come by. This was the second screen version of The Crucible, though it was the first one in English; the previous version, filmed in France in 1956, starred Simone Signoret and Yves Montand. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Arthur Miller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 2004


Daniel Day-Lewis
as John Proctor
Winona Ryder
as Abigail Williams
Paul Scofield
as Judge Danforth
Joan Allen
as Elizabeth Proctor
Bruce Davison
as Rev. Samuel Parris
Rob Campbell
as Rev. John Hale
Jeffrey Jones
as Thomas Putnam
Peter Vaughan
as Giles Corey
Karron Graves
as Mary Warren
Frances Conroy
as Ann Putnam
Elizabeth Lawrence
as Rebecca Nurse
George Gaynes
as Judge Sewall
Mary Pat Gleason
as Martha Corey
Robert Breuler
as Judge Hathorne
Rachael Bella
as Betty Parris
Ashley Peldon
as Ruth Putnam
Tom McDermott
as Francis Nurse
John Griesemer
as Ezekiel Cheever
Michael Gaston
as Marshal Herrick
Ruth Maleczech
as Goody Osborne
Sheila Pinkham
as Goody Good
Peter Maloney
as Dr. Griggs
Kali Rocha
as Mercy Lewis
Taylor Stanley
as Joanna Preston
Lian-Marie Holmes
as Deliverance Fuller
Charlotte Melen
as Margaret Kenney
Carmella Mulvihill
as Hannah Brown
Jessie Kilguss
as Deborah Flint
Simone Marean
as Rachel Buxton
Amee Gray
as Lydia Sheldon
Mary Reardon
as Esther Wilkens
Alexander Streit
as Joseph Proctor
Michael McKinstry
as Daniel Proctor
Dorothy Brodesser
as Mrs. Griggs
Dossy Peabody
as Goody Sibber
Mara Clark
as Goody Barrow
Jane Pulkkinen
as Goody Bellows
Katrina Nevin
as Dorcas Bellows
Will Lyman
as Isaiah Goodkind
Karen MacDonald
as Townswoman
Sheila Ferrini
as Townswoman
June Lewin
as Townswoman
Ken Cheeseman
as Goat Owner
Stanely Taylor
as Joanna Preston
Steven Ochoa
as Putnam's servant
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News & Interviews for The Crucible

Critic Reviews for The Crucible

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (23)

Then there's always Mr. Scofield, bringing an almost unbearable, yet entirely believable, lightness of spirit to his loathsome character. It's a bold stroke by a great actor, making zealotry and evil seem positively beneficent.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

I recommend Hytner's movie highly, but a part of me resists a work that makes the audience feel as noble in our moral certainty as the characters it invites us to deplore. Some part of its power seems borrowed from the thing it hates.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Top Critic

Her cheeks flush, her winsome beauty seared with erotic rage, Ryder exposes the real roots of the piece. Forget McCarthyism; The Crucible is a colonial Fatal Attraction.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Too bad, though, that The Crucible fails to probe deeper into the sexual, religious, and political conditions that can give false accusations so much power -- even today.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Arthur Miller's screenplay keeps everything nice and faithful to the period, and the actors have the dirt on their hands to prove it. The movie lacks polish as well, and that's to everyone's benefit.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

I very much admire how Hytner... keeps the pace swift and doesn't fetishize the 17th-century decors and clothes. But I can't help feeling that in more ways than one, The Crucible is a period piece.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Crucible

Just as good in 2012 as 1996. The screenplay by Arthur Miller is wonderful...the dialogue is true (I guess) to the times, at least it sounds archaic while still being witty and the beginning sequence where the girls rush out to "pray" for specific boys to love them is so right on the money I kept wondering how Miller knew this about girls, and then remembered he was married to Marilyn. The power it unleashes is right on the money as well...You can make comparisons of witchhunts to just about any mass hysteria and this movie nails it. Really wonderful performances by Winona Ryder, Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen. I thought the sets were great, too, and I usually don't pay specific attention to them.

Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

some of the worst overacting I've ever seen in a film and not in the funny and entertaining way. More like the shut the hell up way. The characters are all unlikable and I've read the play and I do enjoy it but this was just done so poorly in my opinion.

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

The Witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts, and an examination of how mighty reason and immovable logic fare against different types of hysteria (they don't). Simply an excellent work, a script with balls, with moving performances by all concerned. Joan Allen though was particularly spellbinding.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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