The Witches

August 24th, 1990


The Witches

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A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 6.7/10 (11,245 voted)

Director: Nicolas Roeg

Stars: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher

A young boy, recently orphaned, is taken to England by his grandmother. At a hotel in which they are staying, a group of witches have gathered to prepare a plot to rid the world of all children.

Writers: Roald Dahl, Allan Scott

Anjelica Huston - Miss Eva Ernst / Grand High Witch
Mai Zetterling - Helga Eveshim
Jasen Fisher - Luke Eveshim
Rowan Atkinson - Mr. Stringer
Bill Paterson - Mr. Jenkins
Brenda Blethyn - Mrs. Jenkins
Charlie Potter - Bruno Jenkins
Jane Horrocks - Miss Irvine
Anne Lambton - Woman in Black
Sukie Smith - Marlene
Rose English - Dora
Jenny Runacre - Elsie
Annabel Brooks - Nicola
Emma Relph - Millie
Nora Connolly - Beatrice

Taglines: Saving the world from witches is a tall order for a boy they've turned into a mouse!

Release Date: 24 August 1990

Filming Locations: Bergen, Hordaland, Norway

Gross: $10,360,553 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Cher was considered for the role of the Grand High Witch before Anjelica Huston was cast.

Continuity: When the Grand High Witch gets out of the taxi, she is wearing white shoes and blue pants. When she enters the hotel, she is wearing a black and green dress.

[first lines]
Helga: When your father was a boy like you, and living with me here in Norway, I told him about witches too, so that he would always be aware. Now, the most important thing you should know about real witches is this - now listen very carefully! Real witches dress in ordinary clothes, and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses, and they work in ordinary jobs.

User Review

Satisfying and mischievous adaptation of Roald Dahl's childrens' classic..


The Witches is the rarest thing you'll ever see: a black comedy for children. Adults just assume that kids don't have the level of wit and sophistication to appreciate sly and sarcastic humour, but here that theory is challenged with a vengeance and this film proves itself to be a wickedly entertaining, knowingly cruel pantomime.

The story finds a young boy named Luke moving in with his Grandma following the death of his parents. She lives in Norway and is something of a witch expert. Pretty soon, she has filled his mind with tales of witchery and caution. Grandma falls seriously ill and is advised to go to the English seaside to recover, accompanied by Luke. Whilst there, Luke uncovers the fact that the RSPCC meeting in the hotel is actually a front for a society of witches. He is captured by them and metamorphosised into a mouse, but still comes up with a plot to wipe them out.

This film is enormous fun, punctuated by offbeat performances (Huston as the Grand High Witch of All the World is terrifying and funny in equal measure) and splendid puppet work. The story uses the moral that children should "never talk to strangers", but enhances it with the ingenious and disturbing premise of witches being responsible for evil acts towards children. The story has real pace and purpose, and constantly turns up another surprise or twist just when you think you've figured out what's coming next. The supporting performances are very nicely judged (Atkinson as the snooty hotel manager, Zetterlig as the wise grandmother, etc.). All in all, this is a must-see kids' flick for kids and adults of all ages.


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