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In Search of the Great Beast 666: Aleister Crowley

3.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Jul 28, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"In Search of the Great Beast 666" documents the chilling life, impulses and journey of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), one of the most controversial and mysterious characters of the 20th Century; infamously known as "The Wickedest Man in the World."

Voiced by acting legend Joss Ackland (Watership Down, Lethal Weapon 2, White Mischief & The Hunt For Red October), this vivid portrayal unearths the barely believable and shocking facts surrounding this infamous Occultist, Spy, Poet, Dark Magician, Hedonist, Writer and accomplished Mountaineer. Was he related to US President George Bush? How was he connected to Scientology, Jack the Ripper, Winston Churchill, Hitler and Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond)? How did this man come to know so many remarkable people and why did he become the subject of fascination for generations of world-class musical icons?

Under various guises and camouflaged by pseudonyms, Crowley traveled the world in his quest for supreme knowledge and ultimate power through the Occult. He reveled in what some describe as acts of sexual decadence yet recognized by others as extreme depravity. His influence on modern culture is evident yet his reputation remains shrouded in a veil of infamy.

Through dramatically reconstructed period scenes, this biographical film explores the boundaries of the self appointed "Beast 666," a man who is not only said to have inspired the free-love movement, but also through his literature is notorious for replacing the Ten Commandments with just one: "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."


To summarize, then, this is a fact-packed documentary that I would not hesitate from recommending to newcomers to the subject. Sure, it's tone is generally - but not disturbingly - "anti-Crowley", whose name doesn't seem to be used without the usual "Satanic", "evil" or "notorious" prefixes. But it's nothing like as inaccurate as much that you will already have read or seen, it stays essentially on-track without needless distractions, it's very watchable and, thank goodness, it doesn't repeat the usual "sh*t-eating goat-shagging" stories.

I enjoyed it and recommend it.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Joss Ackland, Thomas Bewley, Sean Brosnan, Brian Jackson, Paul Bellamy
  • Directors: Robert Garofalo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: The Disinformation Company
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00265T7VK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,985 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

In fairness I am never a fan of documentaries that feature actors playing the documentary subjects. That being said the actor portraying Crowley creates a version of the man that is very charming, probably best described as impish. I would not go SO far to say that this is a completely even handed documentary but it's by far the least clouded with all the "satanic" nonsense surrounding the man. I am desperately waiting for a PBS/BBC style documentary where those who are contemporary experts in the GD or AA (such as DuQuette, Regardie, etc) are either interviewed or excerpted to give a much rounder view of this almost impossibly complicated man. My biggest criticism of the film is that any and all archival images are inexplicably superimposed with an other image of crackled earth, making many images difficult to make out; sometimes obscuring them all together. As the title of the review says, if you are just taking your first steps to understanding the man, then I don't hesitate to recommend this. If you've read any biographies, Lon Milo DuQuette's outstanding works on Crowley and Thelema The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema for example, or any of the writings of the great beast himself, you could probably skip this and not miss too much.
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A rather poor production.The actors playing the parts are not really credible and by the time one gets to the actor playing Victor Neuburg I was about to laugh at the pathetic little man on the screen who looked like a cross between Senator Harry Reid and Pee Wee Herman.In addition the accounted narration and use of voice seems to go from trying to creep one out to cause one to laugh.The narrator never seems to figure out that Crowley's rather odd life and story does not require campfire ghostly embelishments to tell a interesting story but rather ironically,these additions make the whole narrative comical and unbelievable.The actor playing Crowley seems to do just as poor a job portraying Crowley as a man in a knee slaping mode laughing at his antics in regards to his immoral egotist adventures to getting one up on the Gods.Even more strangely this incredible telling of events seems to totally ignore any notion of verification or analysis of any of magickal accounts given by Crowley or to even try to explain the methods Crowley was employing for half a century-this is just passed over.Perhaps Crowley is a rather hard character to portray but I could see the likes of George C.Scott or many other actors up to the task....anyway,the use of photographs readily avaliable from the time are scantly used which is a big disappointment and those that are used and framed to looked cracked and aged where they are almost unviewable.The overall feel is the narration reads something like a book report written by a high school student reading Crowley's confessions for the first time.Eventually,a good movie will be made on Crowley,Yeats,Mathers,and The Golden Dawn Magicians but this is not it.This is a story that needs to be told but not in this way-my advice,try again.
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I really enjoyed this movie. It was shot on location in wonderful Shepperton, England, and the voice narration by Joss Ackland is excellent. There are many actors and actresses in this film who do a good job dramatizing some of the real life characters who played a major role in shaping Aleister Crowley's life. Some of these characters include; Allan Bennett, Samuel Mathers, Rose Kelly, Victor Neuberg, Oscar Eckenstein, Leah Hirsig, Lord Beaverbrook, Betty May, and Israel Regardie.

Aleister Crowley, himself, is well dramatized by Actor, Thomas Bewley. It should be noted this is not a movie about Crowley's Magickal Theory and Practice. Instead, this is a movie about what may have influenced Crowley to pursue Magick in the first place. The film attempts to give the viewer a summary of all the most important events which shaped Aleister Crowley,s life and work. What you get is a great overview of Crowley,s Occult accomplishments, warts and all. Crowley,s love of poetry and mountain climbing is mentioned right alongside his love of prostitutes, sodomy with men and women, adulterous affairs, failed marriages, drug addiction/experimentation, health problems, Yoga practice, the demise of the Golden Dawn, the revival of the OTO under Aleister Crowley,s leadership, the founding of the A.A., and the creation of Crowley,s Masterwork: The Book of the Law.

Buy this film today my fellow seekers and let us all revel in the Night of Pan!
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In Search of the Great Beast 666 - the movie (about Aleister Crowley):

I bought this movie last year, in 2008, as a Region 0, PAL - DVD, of course I couldn't watch it on my regular USA type NTSC type DVD player and TV. Anyway, I watched it on my PC which was able to play it. I was hoping for more and better as a movie about Aleister Crowley. I still am. This one was okay, but, really, not much. What does it really convey if you are really interested and want to learn? Very little. In fact if you have already been interested and into Aleister Crowley and already have done any significant learning beyond the limited initial steps, and stages, from the many available sources, you will probably find this pretty void of any material of any significant value to you, as you may already know this much, and more contained herein. All it is about is giving you just a little bit of the story of Aleister Crowley, and having an actor to portray him as a character. It gives you some audio and visual, instead of just reading words. Don't expect much. Expect a tabloid level of superficiality in the portrayal of a person, that is merely extended into the audio and visual, rather than limited to words, only. Because that is what you get with this. Continue learning about Aleister Crowley in other ways, such as reading. You might enjoy it a bit as entertainment, of course. But somewhat limited, even at that. I don't give it a bad rating, it's just not that good. I was a little disappointed, is all. I was hoping it would be better, more involved, more interesting, more informative. Just more. It wasn't. I still await a better movie about Aleister Crowley.

Lawrence Connor

Lawrence A. Connor

Lawrence Albert Connor
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