The Devils (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devils (1971)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The Devils was the Ken Russell film version of the controversial play by John Whiting. The story, based on Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun, concerns controversial 17th century French priest Urbain Grandier, whose radical political and religious notions and profligate sex life earn him many enemies. When a group of nuns appears to have been "bewitched" by Grandier, his rivals feed on the resulting mass hysteria, using this incident as an excuse to have the priest arrested. Refusing to confess to being in league with Satan and to renounce his "heretical" views, Grandier undergoes appalling tortures, and is finally burned at the stake. Vanessa Redgrave co-stars as the head nun. Due to censorship issues in virtually every country in which The Devils has been released, running times vary greatly.

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Cast

Vanessa Redgrave
as Mother Joan of the Angels
Oliver Reed
as Urbain Grandier
Dudley Sutton
as the Baron
Gemma Jones
as Madeleine De Brou
Murray Melvin
as Father Mignon
Michael Gothard
as Father Pierre Barre
Georgina Hale
as Philippe Trincant
Christopher Logue
as Cardinal Richelieu
Graham Armitage
as Louis XIII
John Woodvine
as Louis Trincant
Judith Paris
as Sister Judith
Catherine Willmer
as Sister Catherine
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News & Interviews for The Devils

Critic Reviews for The Devils

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5)

All the events and persons depicted in The Devils are intended to be confused with actual events and persons. How do I know? Ken Russell tells me so.

April 29, 2018 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…

Reed carries the film with an admirably restrained portrayal of the doomed priest. Redgrave, on screen only sporadically, is stunning as the salacious sister.

August 14, 2008 | Full Review…

No matter how thickly Russell piles on the masturbating nuns, tortured priests and dissolute dauphins, there's no getting round the fact that it's all more redolent of a camp revue than a cathartic vision.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's a see-through movie composed of a lot of clanking, silly, melodramatic effects that, like rib-tickling, exhaust you without providing particular pleasure, to say nothing of enlightenment.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

It's like a David Lean remake of Pink Flamingos.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Bruegel couldn't have captured the insanity better.

March 12, 2015 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Devils

Ken Russell's work here is deliberately thought-provoking as a priest (Reed) living on the edge of popular thought, and stubbornly argumentative with the powers-that-be, is therefore expeditiously accused of worshipping Satan. Hysteria follows. The finger pointed at modern society is strong with this one. Don't say I didn't warn you. Parental guidance suggested. For your parents, too.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

For a while, the impression one gets is that Russell is not interested in discussing insanity (or its nature) but just to show it - bare naked - in a purely exploitative, surrealistic way; which is true, until everything moves so confidently towards an apotheotic display of mad depravity.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

One of my all time favorite movies, sadly missing a proper DVD release with the full uncut version to this day. Seems the movie keeps hitting nerves after 40 years. Oliver Reed gives the performance of a lifetime.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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