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on 13 June 2001
especially, when you are Mildred Hubble at Cackles Academy for witches! This film is simply the best and the acting is superb!! I remember seeing this many moons ago in 1986 and finally got it from Amazon after years of searching for it! As I work in a junior school, I decided to take it into the class that I am with, bearing in mind that none of the children were even born when this come out, and, needless to say, everyone of them enjoyed it! Amazing!!
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This is the first TV film adaptation of Jill Murphy's book 'The worst witch', made around 1986. The original book was published ten years earlier (1975), and there are now another four books in the series. All the books are an easy read for preteens (8+ or less if being read to). These Worst Witch stories are based around Mildred Hubble, a young witch starting at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches (a secondary boarding school for witches). Despite good intentions Mildred is always getting into trouble and it seems that she can't do anything right. Plus there are plenty of snooty enemies in her class who are more than happy to make her look bad. This film follows the preparation of the school for The Halloween Festival and the unwelcome appearance of Headmistress Agatha Cackle's evil twin sister. There are also a few decent musical numbers as well (e.g. `Growing up isn't easy' and `Halloween is my favourite time of the year'). The Worst Witch is often cited as an inspiration for Harry Potter, but it lacks those book's home life and complete world view, and is generally as humorous but far less dark. Plus Mildred's charm, like eternal preteen schoolboy 'Just' William, is that she never grows up. In fact HP and Worst Witch follow on from the British boarding school literary tradition of classic books like Stalky & Co, Malory Towers, Jennings, St. Clare's, Billy Bunter, How to be topp, and St. Trinians (hi-jinks away from parental control).

This film has an all star cast including Brits Diana Rigg (good as the strict Miss Hardbroom) and a flamboyant Tim Curry (The Grand Wizard), plus Americans Charlotte Rae (Miss Cackle and her evil twin) and Fairuza Balk (Mildred Hubble, the worst witch - Fairuza had starred as Dorothy in the film 'Return to Oz' a year earlier). The mix of accents, cheesy production, `adaquate' picture quality and the relatively poor special effects in this film are the main negatives, and it now compares a little unfavourably with ITV's later classy effort in 1998 (essential viewing for girls over six). However this film has its devoted followers, largely those who first saw it as a child. This is a TV movie aimed squarely at youngsters, and it still seems to hit the spot. I got this DVD recently for my daughter (when 9) and she has happily watched it many times, despite having and loving all three seasons of the later ITV Worst Witch. So in spite of it's age this film can still attract a young, probably all girl, audience. That said my son [8] has watched the movie a few times with his sister and quite enjoyed it. So definitely try this film if your child likes the later ITV Worst Witch (1998) and New Worst Witch (2005) TV series, as it's different enough to be seen as a prequel. Plus it is now going very cheaply on Amazon for 70 minutes entertainment - and you can actually buy it in the UK, unlike much of ITV's Worst Witch and New Worst Witch series. So 5* from the young ladies.

This Worst Witch DVD comes with a few extras: Elements of witch potions and spells [an all text PowerPoint type presentation of the best herbs, oils and stones for say 'Health and happiness' or 'Good luck' spells], plus there's Cast Trivia and Cast Profiles - all text again but not uninteresting [e.g. In 1985 when she was 12, Fairuza moved to the UK and spent a while here honing her acting and ballet skills. In 1995, she bought the oldest occult shop in the US and is still a co-owner]. The DVD has no subtitles and audio language is English only.
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on 15 November 2000
Wow! I can't believe this video is still around! It is the epitome of my childhood. I recently had a discussion with several friends regarding it and discovered that EVERYONE was as obsessed with it as me! Several copies went astray because it's loved so much! Thank goodness for Amazon!
Well, to the video... A wonderful film which captures everyone's hearts and is sure to inspire numerous plays, spells, potions and other witchy behaviour! Great acting all round, but (contrary to another reviewer's opinion) skip Tim Curry's 80's pop-video in the middle. Special effects very dated but adds to the fun of it... Watch out for Fairuza Balk who later acts (another witchy role) in "The craft" and how could we forget the wonderful theme music! A classic, which along with "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" and "Anne on Green Gables" is timeless.
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on 15 February 2006
This 80s made for TV movie is one of the lucky few that fall into the "so bad its actually good" category. Having read the books as a child, and being a fan of Tim Curry I eagerly watched this film when given the opportunity recently. Strangely, I was not disappointed. This film is the funniest thing I've seen in a very long time. Sure, the plot makes little sense, over-acting is rife throughout and the seriously low budget special effects are unintentionally hilarious, while Tim Curry's confusingly lecherous portrayal of the Grand Wizard is surely not suitable for a childrens film. But none of this matters. Tim Curry's infamous "Anything Can Happen on Halloween (including, apparently, a seemingly endless bombardment of shockingly bad and completely irrelevant special effects)" music video alone is surely reason enough to purchase this film. If you need anymore persuading then perhaps this film isn't for you, but I do strongly recommend that you first read's truely excellent review of this product (I discovered it after seeing "the Worst Witch" and found it, if possible, even funnier than the film itself.) BUY IT, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!
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This 1987 made for Tv film centres around accident prone and incompetent first year witch, Mildred Hubble. But when Miss Cackle's notorious twin evil sister, Agatha, plots to take over the Witches Academy can Mildred establishherself as the hero for the academy?
The film follows the plot of the 1974 book, the first in the ‘Worst Witch’ series. Harry Potter this isn’t, but it was obviously a catalyst for that series as many characters, sets and even plotlines can be seen in this –although much underdeveloped. Time Curry has a great minor appearance –even performing one of the films songs. Diana Rigg is superb as Snape -I mean Miss Hardbroom aka HB. It’s message is a simple one as we watch Mildred cope with the scorn and derision of all around her, and the hypocrisy of those same people when things get turned around at the end.
The single disc offers basic facilities just, play, scene selection and subtitles on/off. Rated Universal this has nothing offensive, other than dodgy special effects, but youngsters will see past all that and with some great one-liners, this is entertaining in a simplistic Tv manner and has an old style 'St Trinians' feel to it all. Will appeal to those who watched this as a youngster and youngsters themselves.
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on 21 May 2004
I was delighted when I discovered this movie was available on VHS as I remembered seeing it once during my childhood in the 1980's and totally loved it. Also being a big fan of 'The Worst Witch' series I couldn't give it a miss.
This movie doesn't compare with the recently produced 'Worst Witch' TV series as it stands out in its own right. Watching now it appears dated and tacky with the poor special effects but it is such a wonderful film you forget all about that. Fairuza Balk (now known for her roles in movie's like The Craft and Almost Famous) gives a wonderful performance as central character Mildred along with excellent performances from supporting characters Maude and Ethel. Diana Rigg is great as the strict Miss Hardbroom. The only fault is possibly Tim Curry is a little too cheesy as the Grand High Wizard, but the cheese factor is what makes this film great.
I've had my copy a few months now and I've watched it over and over again and each time wish as did as a child that I too went to Cackle's Academy.
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on 11 December 2002
Thank you Amazon. This has been my best friend in the whole wide world's favourite film and since he lost his old copy way back in the 80's we haven't been able to find one since, until now!
Anyway. Any girl,(or boy), will remember wanting to attend this school and perhaps be Mildred herself, especially with Tim Curry doing that funky and somewhat colourful assembly on the field. Although the once great effects are now slightly laughable, the stereotypical 80's songs give you a great sense of warmth, taking you back to the good old days. The broomstick class is no Harry Potter sequence to say the least, but its worth a giggle whilst you wear your leg warmers and get out those dusty Jason Donovan vinyls.
God Bless Amazon for stocking this rare piece of nostalgia!
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on 30 September 2005
Everybody born in the 80's as a child will remember the Diana Rigg movie the Worst Witch! Me and my sisters absolutely loved this movie and next to Labyrinth, called it our childhood movie! Now in our 20's we still love it and are thrilled its on video after playing to bits our worn out recorded copy from TV.
I don't think you were cool if you didn't like this movie! It's something everybody who remembers and loved this movie should own and i swear JK Rowling must have got some ideas from this as it was long existing before Harry Potter!
It just goes to show that due to the high popularity of the Worst Witch and Harry Potter, magic is surely something that captivates everyone!
Go buy this movie now and relive that Old Skool brilliance of the Worst Witch!
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on 6 October 2008
My nan bought this film on video when i was a little nipper and i would put it on whenever i went to visit her. Me and my cousins would sit and sing along with the songs and knew the whole script! The video is still going strong and my cousins 3 and 8 year old daughters sit and sing along to it too. Was very happy to find it now comes on DVD. An absolute classic!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 November 2014
My hubby bought this for our daughters Halloween as he remembered it from our childhood, unfortunately a great piece of nostalgia is ruined by poor quality transfer, even when watched on an expensive dvd up-scaling bluray player.

I can accept standard definition but this was grainy and felt like I was watching a poorly pirated fragmenting copy as it was literally like watching through fizzing fog on the screen, the sound jumped and there were fizzy bits in the corner of the screen occasionally. Obviously the production company had a worn out master version to transfer from as it seems a straight copy and print from fuzzy VHS.

It was a shame as my eyes couldn't handle it and set off a migraine, for risk of upsetting my daughter we had to switch it off.
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