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The Devils

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United Kingdom, United States · 1971
Rated R · 1h 54m
Director Ken Russell
Starring Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian
Genre Drama, History

A dramatised historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest accused of witchcraft following alleged demonic possessions of sexually repressed nuns.

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What are critics saying?


TV Guide Magazine by

The set design, by future director Derek Jarman, is probably the most successful element of the film.


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

The funniest thing about this 1971 Ken Russell camp epic is probably the juxtaposition of its first-class production values (a good cast, great set design, marvelous photography) with Russell's no-class sexual fantasies—it's like a David Lean remake of Pink Flamingos.


IndieWire by Jude Dry

The 1971 epic offers a stylish and scathing parable about the dangerous ways that the powerful can exploit religious zeal to stay that way.


The A.V. Club by Katie Rife

Russell’s penchant for aesthetic excess is thoroughly indulged, as the director stages grotesque human tableaus straight out of Hieronymus Bosch over Derek Jarman’s intricately detailed sets. The result gives the story a sort of wanton, overripe feel, with such ostensibly austere environments as a cloistered convent about to explode with repressed sensuality.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

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.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

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.

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