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The Witches [VHS]

Anjelica Huston , Mai Zetterling , Nicolas Roeg    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
Price: 10.80
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Frequently Bought Together

The Witches [VHS] + Matilda [DVD] [1996]
Price For Both: 17.61

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  • Matilda [DVD] [1996] 6.81

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Product details

  • Actors: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson
  • Directors: Nicolas Roeg
  • Writers: Allan Scott, Roald Dahl
  • Producers: Dusty Symonds, Jim Henson, Mark Shivas
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 10 Oct 1994
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CKOO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,170 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description


This splendid adventure-fantasy from 1990 was adapted from Roald Dahl's book, The Witches, and directed by maverick British filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, who turned out to be a perfect (if seemingly unlikely) interpreter of Dahl's fiendishly clever tale of witchcraft in contemporary England. Scary, funny, and wildly entertaining, it's all about a young boy named Luke (Jasen Fisher) whose parents have died in a tragic accident, and whose grandmother (Mai Zetterling) takes him to a posh hotel in England, where a secret coven of witches is holding its annual convention. The Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston, in a scene-stealing performance) has decreed that all children in England be turned into mice, and Luke and his pal Bruno (Charles Potter) are the first victims on the list. That's when the movie magicians from Jim Henson's creature shop have their work cut out for them, turning Luke and Bruno into clever little rodents and The Witches into a dazzling display of imaginative special effects, using a seamless combination of real mice and superb animatronic puppets. Director Roeg doesn't compromise the sinister edge of Dahl's story, but comedy gets equal time from the brilliant cast including Brenda Blethyn (from Secrets and Lies and Little Voice), Rowan Atkinson (of Black Adder and Mr. Bean fame), and Jane Horrocks (Little Voice) as the Grand High Witch's beleaguered assistant. Although it was largely neglected during its brief theatrical release, this wonderful movie has since enjoyed a thriving appreciation on video--see it and you'll understand why. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Luke and his wise Aunt Hegla arrive at an English seaside hotel where the Royal Commission for Prevention of Cruelty to Children is holding a convention. Luke discovers that its members are not charity workers but wicked witches who plan to turn all children into mice - starting with him. The mouse-Luke must alert his aunt and stop their dastardly plan.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but the audiobook is better 3 Jan 2006
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Witches is an enjoyable but scary story about, well, Witches, and one boy's adventures in getting rid of them all. It is normal Dahl stuff - slightly dark, with lots of frighteningly real characters, a great plot and more than a little humour.
However, for those familar with the book or Simon Callow's excellent audiobook, you quickly realise something is slightly amiss with the potion used to create the DVD - and this starts when Luke opens his mouth.
On the whole it sticks faithfully to the book but misses out some important and interesting details (an example being the ancient ones - probably too politically unacceptable for Warner Bros). The biggest departure from the book comes at the end, where more than a drop of "happily ever after" potion was added to the brew.
The Grand High Witch is indeed horrible and her consort of English witches a jolly mixture of revolting, incredible and ridiculous. True Dahl characters. Luke and his Grandmother are believable and Rowan Atkinson is enjoyable as the Fawlty-esque hotel owner.
Overall, very enjoyable and certainly frightening enough for our five year old, who still brings up witches every night before bed, three days after watching it. If you enjoy Roald Dahl, you will enjoy this - but sit close to your little ones when the witches remove their human faces.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mice to see you, to see you... 30 Jun 2006
Recently at the school I work at they had this as their home-time story, which led me - a life-long Dahl fan - to re-read both The Witches and Matilda, my favourite Dahl books (as well as Danny the Champion of the World), and rent the movies.

It's said that Roald Dahl, by then close to the end of his life, cried when he saw this film of one of his best books (god knows what he might have thought of "Matilda"!). However for once I couldn't disagree with his assessment more - the film is richly comic, frighteningly fantastic and despite the fact that Luke has become an American kid (while all the rest of the characters are Norwegian or British - it would have been more believeable had Luke been English too as he was in the book), Jim Henson's puppetry adds the icing on the cake, the mice looking like proper mice as far as possible rather than too cartoonish, and the hideous vision of the Grand High Witch without her mask is enough to give every sensitive child nightmares. It appears that a lot of the film was shot on location, even the indoor scenes, lending it a fresh, exciting air.

Anjelica Huston, despite her tacky Eastern-European-cum-German accent which is never quite believeable, and Jane Horrocks (playing Jane Horrocks as always :-) although the wig is actually scarier than when she takes it off!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Witches Work Only With Magic" 17 Feb 2009
Adapted from the book "The Witches" by Roald Dahl, comes this delightfully wicked but entertaining and enjoyable fantasy adventure film.

Roald Dahl gave us so many brilliant books, many have given rise to film adaption's such as Matilda, and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. All of his books have his own unique style and magic, and The Witches has always been one of my favourite Dahl stories. I'm glad to say that despite been somewhat different to his book at times, this film adaptation is nothing less than brilliant.

A young boy called Luke (played by Jasen Fisher) is taken by his Grandmother to England after his parents are in a car crash. His Grandmother starts to tell him stories of Witches, their powers, how they find or rather smell children, and more importantly how he can spot them. She also tells him the story of her childhood friend Erica, who fell victim to a Witch. Soon after this, while playing in his tree house he is approached by a woman, thanks to his Grandmother he quickly recognises the trademark purple eyes of a witch and escapes. On his birthday Luke's Grandmother falls ill, and her doctor recommends a holiday to recover. Soon they both arrive at a seaside hotel where he and another boy called Bruno discover somewhat to their own misfortune that the hotel is not only crawling with Witches, but that Grand High Witch herself is there. She has an evil plan involving "Formula 86" to turn all of the children in the world in to mice. It's all up to Luke, his Grandmother, and Bruno to stop them.

The film has a great plot, that's naturally backed up by a wonderful script and brilliant characters. Rowan Atkinson plays a convincing if somewhat different role than what we would normally associate with him, as the hotel manager.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best film ever!!! 18 Dec 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I am a big Anjelica Huston fan anyway-but this is my favourite film ever. Anjelica (grand high witch) is absolutely brilliant as well as the rest of the cast.It is a great film for all the family, but possibly not very young children. If you're like me and an Anjelica Huston fan or you're a fan of rold dahl's books- you'll definately enjoy this film.
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