The Changeling (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Changeling Videos

The Changeling Photos

Movie Info

Peter Medak's The Changeling is among a handful of films, including The Haunting (1963), Ghost Story (1981), and Lady in White (1988), that have successfully recreated the intimate, drawing-room atmosphere of supernatural horror fiction. After his wife and daughter are killed in a snowbound car accident, classical composer John Russell (George C. Scott) relocates from New York to Seattle to teach at his alma mater. Looking for a quiet place to rest and continue writing music, he is referred Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere) at the Seattle Historical Preservation Society. Claire shows John a large, sparsely furnished estate in the outlying countryside. He takes the house, appreciating its remoteness and the solitude it might afford, and diverts himself by renovating and settling in. He even starts to compose, putting aside his older work in favor of a new, sentimental piece for the piano. It is not long, however, before he begins having nightmares about the accident that killed his wife and daughter. Possibly because of this trauma, he is open to communications from the house's ghostly occupants. Pursuing a loud, repetitive pounding noise in an upper room, he stumbles on the apparition of a young boy drowning in a tub. Working together with Claire, John discovers frightening parallels between this vision and buried events from the house's past. Horror writer M.R. James once said that his goal as a writer was to make the reader feel "pleasantly uncomfortable." Those looking for a similar experience in movies will appreciate The Changeling as a gem in the horror genre.
Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Vestron Video


George C. Scott
as John Russell
Trish Van Devere
as Claire Norman
Melvyn Douglas
as Sen. Joe Carmichael
John Colicos
as DeWitt
Jean Marsh
as Joanna Russell
Barry Morse
as Dr. Pemberton
James Douglas
as Eugene Carmichael
J.B. Douglas
as Eugene Carmichael
Madeleine Sherwood
as Mrs. Norman
Roberta Maxwell
as Eva Lingstrom
Bernard Behrens
as Prof. Robert Lingstrom
Frances Hyland
as Elizabeth Grey
Ruth Springford
as Minnie Huxley
Helen Burns
as Leah Harmon
Eric Christmas
as Albert Harmon
Chris Gampel
as Tuttle
J. Kenneth Campbell
as Security Guard
Janne Mortil
as Linda Grey
Terence Kelly
as Sergeant Durton
Anna Hagan
as Secretary
Antonia Rey
as Estancia
Sammy Smith
as Doorman
Paul Rothery
as Terry Grey
Hagan Beggs
as Coroner
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Changeling

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (3)

The Changeling is a superior haunted house thriller.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

The leaps made by Scott's agile mind in identifying both victim and usurper leave logic and credence on the starting block.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

If it only took craftsmanship to make a haunted house movie, The Changeling would be a great one.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Copiado à exaustão nas duas últimas décadas, encontra-se datado, mas a ótima atuação de Scott, o roteiro bem amarrado e a direção de Medak merecem aplausos.

September 7, 2005
Cinema em Cena

corny but creepy

September 18, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

For the most part it's imaginative, understated and effectively creepy.

Full Review… | August 12, 2003

Audience Reviews for The Changeling

The actual haunting of the house, where John Russell (Scott) resides, is handled with craftsmanship and delicacy by director Peter Medak. The tell-tale gothic mansion, the deep bass thuds in the house's walls like a giant's knocks, and the quiet whispering of a child's voice, make this a very ably made haunted house story. While the story behind the haunting, and the search for the truth behind it, make for a really interesting mystery, it's such a strange assemblage of scenes. In the first part of the film we see Russell widowed and he begins teaching composition at a university. When he begins to be haunted, he realizes it almost immediately, goes searching for the truth, and finds it. Russell is never frightened by the ghost, only inquisitive about its origins. He doesn't mind picking up human bones, threatening people, and talking to the ghost in question. Even big old George C. Scott must get scared sometimes, but in this film he's fully self-possessed and seems unable to approach fear. The connection between him and his dead daughter is severed once we indulge in finding out the truth about the ghost, which makes me wonder why he's widowed at all. While the film itself was intricate and complex in the best of ways, there really wasn't anything frightening about it, which is a shame when watching a film about a ghost story.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

three stars!!!

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The Changeling Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Changeling on our Movie forum!

News & Features