The Damned (These Are the Damned)


The Damned (These Are the Damned) (1963)



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Movie Info

Joseph Losey directed this unusual science fiction effort, which has won a small but fervent cult following. Simon Wells (MacDonald Carey) is an American visiting England, where he meets a woman named Joan (Shirley Ann Field). Simon is immediately attracted to Joan, but there's a considerable obstacle in their budding romance: Joan's brother King (Oliver Reed), the leader of a violent pack of motorcycle rockers. King has a barely concealed incestuous attachment to his sister, and he sometimes uses her to lure victims into his gang's clutches. King and his cronies attack Simon, take his money, and leave him stranded, where he's eventually found by a pair of military security men. Simon is brought to the home of Bernard (Alexander Knox), a scientist working on a secret project for the government, and his girlfriend Freya (Viveca Lindfors), a sculptor. Joan eventually tracks Simon down in hopes of winning his forgiveness, but another run-in with King causes Simon and Joan to discover a cave that holds a terrible secret: a group of strange, cold-blooded children who were the products of one of Bernard's experiments gone wrong. The children were genetically engineered to survive a nuclear war, and, as a result, they are radioactive enough to kill anyone who comes in close contact with them. Controversial in its day, The Damned was produced in England in 1961 but was not released until 1963, when Hammer Films booked it as the second-half of a double bill with Maniac. It did not reach American screens until 1965, when it was shown under the title These Are the Damned. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for The Damned (These Are the Damned)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Losey's strongest critique of the times emerges with a unique stylistic flourish in his wide-screen, black-and-white images, featuring slow glides, skewed angles, standoffish perspectives, and hectic striations.

Jun 1, 2015 | Full Review…

More than an interesting curiosity, it's one of Losey's best English efforts, and Viveca Lindfors contributes a striking part as an eccentric sculptress.

Jul 14, 2007 | Full Review…

Coincidence piles up on coincidence, and unlikely behaviour upon unlikely behaviour, until the whole thing becomes impossible to take seriously.

Jan 30, 2018 | Full Review…

.. a strange collision of exploitation elements, visual elegance and emotional coolness, a fascinating oddity with strange angles that don't all fit neatly together but add up to a brilliant structure.

Apr 11, 2010 | Full Review…

'The age of senseless violence,' by Joseph Losey

Dec 8, 2009 | Full Review…

Slow-building but creepy story of biker pug uglies, radiation poisoning, and prissy Brit schoolkids.

Jul 8, 2007

Audience Reviews for The Damned (These Are the Damned)


What a strange, strange movie. Not only because the plot takes one of the most severe right turns I've ever seen in a film, but because the ending is so casually, inescapably bleak. Personally, I found Plot #1 more compelling than Plot #2. I'd be curious to read the original story, and see how the source material balanced the strange mix of elements.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

a very odd film. i almost gave it up half hour in but i'm glad i stuck with it and i won't soon forget it, and not just the ridiculous 'black leather' song either. it's like a strange hybrid of a clockwork orange and children of the damned. intense performance by young oliver reed as leader of a gang of 'teddy boys' definitely brought to mind alex and his droogs. he even breaks into an artist's studio! but soon everyone is involved in a top secret government experiment...definitely interesting, just not very good

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


A street gang gets mixed up with spooky government experiments. A possible precursor of "A clockwork orange"

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


These Are the Damned is a mindbending bus route of madness that I wasn't even close to expecting. If you can imagine Village of the Damned, Bunny Lake is Missing and Quadrephenia doing PCP and acting out the Kama Sutra together you're kind of on the right track with this movie. The only think that can make this movie more deranged than it already is would be having David Lynch direct it. The acting's pretty negligible but Joseph Losey's direction makes this one, not the Hammer name. The photography's amazing and its so worth the time for anyone looking for a pleasant surprise despite the fact that These Are the Damned isn't the most amazing movie ever made. But fair warning, that Black Leather Rock song is one catchy sumbitch. I plan on having it stuck in my head for months...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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