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The Devils (DVD) (1971) (NTSC) (US Import)

Oliver Reed , Vanessa Redgrave , Ken Russell    DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian, Gemma Jones
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Angel Digital
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QB4FJA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,497 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of pre-renaissance France, but need to destroy Father Grandier - the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control. So they seek to destroy him by accusing him of being a warlock who is in control of a devil-possessed nunnery. A mad witch-hunter is brought in to gather evidence to use against the priest at a trial that could mean life or death by fire. This version of Ken Russell's masterpiece restores all of the cut footage that was removed when the film was released including the never before seen "Rape of Christ" sequence.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Let me first say that if you don't like Ken Russell's work, you probably won't enjoy this. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best films ever made and certainly one of the most harrowing. Released in the same year that saw Polanski's MACBETH and Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Russell's THE DEVILS, set in medieval France, explores similar themes of a desensitized, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt society in its story of Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed in an electrifying performance), a naughty Huguenot priest whose amorous misadventures raise the eyebrows of some of the more "virtuous" residents of the small but heavily fortified French town of Loudun. After the death of its beloved governor, Grandier, his best friend, was put in charge. When he impregnates the magistrate's daughter, also cousin to fellow priest Fr. Mignon, he unwittingly signs his own death warrant. At the same time, Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave, never more formidable), a hunchbacked and sexually frustrated nun, develops a huge crush on him. Unable to deal with her feelings, her lust manifests itself in disturbing visions of a blasphemous nature. Angry when her advances are rejected, she falsely accuses Fr. Grandier of bewitching her and her sisters. Meanwhile, a certain Baron de Laubardemont (a pity Dudley Sutton didn't make it big) complains to the evil Cardinal Richlieau about the fiercely protective Grandier; he and the Cardinal want Grandier out of the way so that they can form France into one giant Church-State. They despise Grandier because of his education, and his ability to see through their chicanery to the truth. When Sister Jeanne's outcries become public, mass hysteria results and Grandier is put in mortal danger. With the help of evil "exorcist" Fr. Read more ›
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
If you want to see Ken Russell's finest film, The Devils, you MUST buy the version released in the UK in the Maverick Directors series in 1997, and buy it soon, because I think it has been deleted by Warner Bros.
Every other video incarnation of The Devils is a disgrace. The picture is murky, grainy and distorted, ruining the impact of the fabulous sets and photography. And, most importantly, every other VHS uses the heavily censored American version of the film, rather than the full UK print.
Two minutes were chopped, and a further two minutes (approx) were re-edited, so that, in many scenes, the soundtracks of the US and UK versions are identical, but the visuals are completely different. EVERY SINGLE SCENE that has gross, violent or raunchy images (quite a few in this film) was toned down for the US - the orgies and the fiery finale were completely butchered. The US version, which may now be the only version available in the UK, is so heavily censored, it's almost a different film.
Whatever its faults, The Devils is an impressive, provocative film that no major studio would dare to make today, and it deserves to be seen in the best possible condition. When will we get this film, in the UK cut, on DVD? Poor old Ken Russell may not be trendy now, but don't forget that The Devils won several awards, including Best Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival, and is certainly more worthy of a DVD revival that the heaps of no-brain cr** being released every week.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RUSSELL`S BEST:DVD WITH ENGLISH CUT NEEDED.... 16 Feb 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Why 4 stars? Because this VHS contains a cut version of the original british film release. What we now deserve is a DVD with the full uncensored version of this masterpiece by Ken Russell.
Oliver Reed at his best, a powerful performance by Vanessa Readgrave, a beautiful and daunting photography surely confer classic status to this work of art, with surrealistic undertones.
Based on a historical facts, as told by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun, this is a riveting story about father Urbain Grandier's martyrdom, during the reign of Louis XIII.
After Richelieu convinces the King that self-government of small provincial towns must end, the feudal nobility lose their independence by an edict calling for the destruction of their castles and walls, whilst the Hughenots are being crushed by force. One of these towns is Loudun, where the priest (a Jesuit) is Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), an intellectual young priest, that knows the meaning and consequences of the edict calling for the destruction of the fortified walls of Loudun. Consequently, when Laubardemont, an agent of the Cardinal Richelieu arrives in the town, he is confronted and stopped by Grandier.
But Father Grandier is strikingly handsome and a sensualist. His vows of celibacy have not prevented him from fathering a bastard child with the daughter of Trincant, the town magistrate, and performing an illegal marriage with Madeleine, a young lady with whom he has fallen in love.
Meanwhile the Convent of the Ursulines in Loudun is ruled by Sister Jeanne of the Angels (Vanessa Readgrave), a young humped back nun, with a beautiful face. She develops an obsession with Grandier and has sensual visions which involve the young priest.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerhouse of a film, but read on... 1 Dec 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase

I have it on good word that this release is as good as it will ever get for The Devils. Warners US would happily destroy the negatives and consign it to memory, such is their absolute and utter loathing of this film and for its content. I also have been informed that the 2004 director's cut will NEVER be released onto DVD outside of select cinema screenings. The fact that there is no Blu Ray edition of this release (and it's the future, apparently) should be seen as 'significant' - for some reason, people want this film to vanish.

However, as other reviewers point out, let's not get down here! The theatrical UK cut is a fine version (approved by the late Ken Russell) and even though the notorious 'rape of Christ' scene has been removed - and from the 'Hell on Earth' documentary as well, though it now has extra footage to compensate - The Devils is a powerhouse of a film about corruption, cruelty and sacrifice. Russell said that it was the only truly political film he made and it is a black as midnight, fiercely raging piece of work with an eye popping visual design by Derek Jarman.

The performances are all spectacular, but the story itself is the star. I can't think of a nastier or more disturbing tale of complete religious and political corruption. The scenes of torture and the death of Grandier are a difficult watch, but Reed's flawed priest triumphs - if only spiritually - in the face of insane hypocrisy and evil.

The Devils is a masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made by a true genius of cinema. Do not hesitate in purchasing a copy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Transfer That's As Good As Many HD Releases
I'll just say a few words about this edition

The one thing that stood out (as you can tell by my title) was the transfer, for a Non-HD it's absolutely beautiful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Norbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Reed and Redgrave like never before or since!
I was aware of the Devils for many years before I took the step to purchase a copy and understand what all the fuss was about. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Movie Pro
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version I've seen so far
BFI has done a great job getting this film in as complete a form as possible, adding great extras, and just allowing one to enjoy the beauty that is The Devils. First rate!
Published 1 month ago by Kim Sims
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint hearted!
This film will most certainly not be to everyone's taste. It is an interesting depiction by Ken Russell of an historical event in the 1630's in France involving religious... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Penny
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what bloody religion is about
Still brilliant after all these years. A must if you've never seen it .OLIVER REED at his best. AND BEAUTIFUL
Published 1 month ago by Les
4.0 out of 5 stars John burns
four stars for a five star film, we never got the chance to see the film even after standing in a mile long cue and in pouring rain when we got in and sat down for over thirty... Read more
Published 1 month ago by john burns
5.0 out of 5 stars QUITE A SHAME...
Published 2 months ago by HAN XIAO
4.0 out of 5 stars Cruelty & Subversion
This is a review of the two-disc edition released by the British Film Institute. It claims to be the most complete edition available, having located and inserted scenes that were... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nicholas Casley
5.0 out of 5 stars Best available edition of Ken Russell's 'THE DEVILS'
If you have never seen this film but have heard the rumors and the word-of-mouth - it's all true! One of the greatest and best- looking historically fact-based films produced,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sonny Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars A little bit crazy (in a good way!)
I can't believe I'd not watched this before, it's an excellent, if strange film. Oliver Reed plays an eloquent and sex loving priest. Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. Brookes
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