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The Crucible

635 customer reviews

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(Jun 01, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

The Salem witch trials of 1692 are brought vividly to life in this compelling adaptation of Arthur Miller's play, directed by Nicholas Hytner ("The Madness of King George"). A group of teenage girls meet in the woods at midnight for a secret love-conjuring ceremony. While the other girls attempt to cast love spells, Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) wishes for the death of her former lover's (Daniel Day-Lewis) wife. When their ceremony is witnessed by the town minister, the girls suddenly find themselves accused of witchcraft. Soon the entire village is consumed by cries of witchcraft, and as the hysteria grows, blameless victims are torn from their homes, leading to a devastating climax.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison
  • Directors: Nicholas Hytner
  • Writers: Arthur Miller
  • Producers: David V. Picker, Diana Pokorny, Mitchell Levin, Robert A. Miller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (635 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00013F2S6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,742 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Crucible" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 145 people found the following review helpful By ROGER L. FOREMAN on July 19, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Since Miller helped write the screenplay and one of his sons produced or coproduced the movie, it shouldn't be a shock that the movie is so faithful to the original text where it needs to be and broadens the story where it needs to, as well. Miller knows how to write for the stage, and he apparently knows how to write for the screen, also. After seeing so many "classic" books and/or plays butchered by Hollywood, this movie is a real delight, despite its morbid and all-too-realistic story. This movie has become an essential to my Grade 11 American Literature classes, spectacularly complementing their reading of Miller's play and several pieces from the Salem Witch Trial era.
Ignoring the play's historic flaws and inaccuracies (that's another debate for another time), Miller brilliantly captured the essence of the Salem Witch Trials in his play and has conveyed them to the screen. Hatred, fear, jealousy, hypocrisy, religious mania, attention-seeking, conviction, strength, determination, repentance, and a host of other emotions and character traits are vividly brought to life by a superb cast: Daniel Day-Lewis is a great John Proctor (nobody else could have done better), Winona Ryder is very good as the conniving and bitter Abigail Williams, Joan Allen was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth Proctor, and Paul Scofield should have won an Oscar for his cold-hearted portrayal of Justice Danforth. The conflict between Proctor and Danforth is what sustains the play's momentum for the second and third acts (about the last hour and fifteen minutes of the movie), and Lewis and Scofield bring that epic conflict to life: the classic good v. evil, with the sides getting somewhat mixed up as to who is who. . . .
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By David Robson on May 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
You'd be hard pressed to find a story more compelling than the one that inspired Arthur Miller's 1953 drama The Crucible. Except the one about how it became a movie. It's taken all these years to bring a full version to the screen, and the only thing that explains it is Hollywood's perpetual cluelessness. The Salem witch trials of 1692 destroyed nineteen lives and countless reputations. Hoodwinked by a bunch of flighty teenage girls who wished to escape a whipping for their frolics in the woods, the town brought in the colony magistrates to sort out the devils from the angels.
Miller, who also wrote the screenplay, expresses his blatant contempt for hypocrisy in all forms through the character of John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis), a humble but once-adulterous farmer. Proctor's sexual escapades with the town's main accuser Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) could, through the girl's treachery, end in his wife's hanging. He can either save himself with a lie or free Elizabeth (Joan Allen) with the truth about himself and Abigail.
It's potent stuff any way you slice it, and the actors here aren't afraid to take big bites of their meaty roles. The film's pacing is fast and furious, hysterical like the history of the event it interprets. If it lacks the McCarthyist subtext it once had, so what. This here's a tragedy--a good old American one.
The movie's inevitable ending won't satisfy those who want only fluff and feathers at the cinema, but the hard lesson won by those who refuse to compromise their principles can't be denied. The Crucible is a faithful testament to their sacrifice.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By on July 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I have never seen a stage version of The Crucible (although I have read and studied the play many times), but I can safely recommend this film as the most brilliant film adaptation of a play (ranking along side 'Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?') that I've ever seen. Boasting a cast that includes Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Schofield and Joan Allen this film managed to pass unnoticed beneath the public eye. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner (of 'The Madness of King George' fame) and the screenplay was written by Miller himself, if this is not enough to make the general public haul themselves off the sofa, I don't know what is. The thing I liked most about the film was that you could finally see events that were only reported upon in the play (such as what really happened in the woods, and the trials of the lesser characters). What makes the film even more poignant is the fact that it is based on true events which took place during the Salem witch hunts. I am aware that Miller only wrote the play to comment on the McCarthy communist witch hunts (which labelled Miller himself as a left wing sympathiser), but now that the 'red threat' is over, the film becomes a saga about how our beliefs can influence our relationships with other people. Joan Allen was robbed of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar by Juliette Binoche, and she turns in a stunning performance as the truly holy Elizabeth Proctor, almost defiled by Winona Ryder's equally brilliant woman scorned. My favourite among the cast was an actress I hadn't seen before and haven't heard of since: the actress (Karon Graves?) who played Mary Warren, the girl who knows she and her friends are lying, but when she tells the truth, Abby points the finger at her. I dare you to watch this and not enjoy it.
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