The Devils

The Devils

Ken Russell (1971)

X Certificate


Our Score
Ken Russell's adaptation of Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun is repulsive, hysterical, disturbing, overwhelming, stunning, compelling and fascinating. For once, Russell's surreal hallucinogenic style matches his frenzied material and, while condemned for being anti-religious, this is in fact a highly moral tale of absolute faith. In one of the most controversial and censored films of all time, Oliver Reed gives his best ever performance as the 17th-century French priest destroyed by political manipulators, and Vanessa Redgrave is almost as good as a vengeful humpbacked nun; Derek Jarman's sets are nearly a match for them both, however.


A sexually liberated priest in 17th-century France attracts the hatred of the King and the church with his radical views. When an obsessed nun accuses him of witchcraft, the cleric's enemies strike, using increasingly brutal tactics in their efforts to prove him a heretic. Ken Russell's historical drama, starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave.

Cast & Crew

Father Urbain Grandier Oliver Reed
Sister Jeanne Vanessa Redgrave
Baron de Laubardemont Dudley Sutton
Ibert Max Adrian
Madeleine Gemma Jones
Mignon Murray Melvin
Father Barre Michael Gothard
Philippe Georgina Hale
Adam Brian Murphy
Cardinal Richelieu Christopher Logue
Louis XIII Graham Armitage
Director Ken Russell
see more

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Russ FilmsGuidance: Contains violence, swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse and nudity. Available on: video and DVD