The Devils (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devils (1971)




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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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 (17) | Top Critics (4)

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…

Whatever the moral perspective, it keeps you gripped right to the end.

February 9, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Devils


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


Here's a film that deserves a far more detailed write-up than I am going to give it. Easily the best film I saw last year. Stellar performances keep your eyes positively glued to the screen. Wild, fiery subject matter for those willing to open themselves up to it. Well worth seeking out the original cut of the film, with the "Rape of Christ" sequence in it. This almost got an official DVD release a while back but someone applied the brakes. Lets hope cooler heads prevail and let this amazing film be seen by a greater audience.

Steve K
Steve K

Super Reviewer


There have been quite a few movies on false accusations of witchcraft, but the highly extra-ordinary execution of the subject matter herein makes this one, one devil of a film.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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