The Crucible

( 19 )

Overview

When Arthur Miller's play The Crucible was first staged in 1953, it was widely acclaimed as a metaphor for the recklessness of Joseph McCarthy and his spurious crusade against communism. In its 1996 screen adaptation scripted by Miller, the tone has been adjusted somewhat and plays as a warning against the dangers of political and religious extremism of all kinds. After a group of young women is accused of witchcraft in the Puritan community of Salem, Mass. in 1692, Abigail Williams Winona Ryder is held in ...
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Overview

When Arthur Miller's play The Crucible was first staged in 1953, it was widely acclaimed as a metaphor for the recklessness of Joseph McCarthy and his spurious crusade against communism. In its 1996 screen adaptation scripted by Miller, the tone has been adjusted somewhat and plays as a warning against the dangers of political and religious extremism of all kinds. After a group of young women is accused of witchcraft in the Puritan community of Salem, Mass. in 1692, Abigail Williams Winona Ryder is held in suspicion of practicing magic. Abigail in turn levels charges against John Proctor Daniel Day-Lewis and his wife Elizabeth Joan Allen. Abigail has a private grudge against the Proctors; while working as their servant, she had an affair with John, and when John ended the relationship and returned to his wife, Abigail was fired. Now the Reverend Parris Bruce Davison is hearing accusations and counter-accusations of misdeeds from all sides of the community in the wake of Abigail's charges, so he brings in Judge Danforth Paul Scofield to determine who is guilty or innocent. However, given the moral climate of the time, it seems someone has to be found guilty of witchcraft, even though firm evidence of wrongdoing is becoming hard to come by. This was the second screen version of The Crucible, though it was the first one in English; the previous version, filmed in France in 1956, starred Simone Signoret and Yves Montand.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Aided by Arthur Miller's script, an adaptation of his own play, Nicholas Hytner's The Crucible captures a palpable sense of the hysteria and circular logic that damned 19 residents of Salem who refused to confess to witchcraft. The film sustains its tension for upwards of two hours, with top-notch acting by such heavy hitters as Daniel Day-Lewis, Joan Allen, and Paul Scofield. But it's Miller's dialogue, memorable for its lyrical precision, that perfectly distills the hopelessness of evading the accusations that spread through that small Massachusetts community. While the film surely condemns the alarmist reactions of the church and courts, it nonetheless outlines the systematic process that led the leaders to their conclusions. Alarmist they may have been, but believe it they did, and they acted on what they felt was the truth, after much internal debate. The film stirs up religious conundrums that are fascinating to contemplate, even for the spiritually disinclined. Scofield is powerful as the dispassionate magistrate whose word could send an accused witch to the gallows. Allen's crumbling stoicism in the role of Elizabeth Proctor earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination, and Day-Lewis turns in his usual soulful performance, burning silently until a richly emotional denouement. Winona Ryder is a little too showy as the morally compromised Abigail Williams, but the rest of the supporting cast paints a true picture of a town torn asunder. The gorgeous cinematography supports the weighty issues at its core, making The Crucible a profound examination of one of the more disquieting and regrettable periods in American history.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/13/1998
  • UPC: 086162058196
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Day-Lewis John Proctor
Winona Ryder Abigail Williams
Paul Scofield Judge Danforth
Joan Allen Elizabeth Proctor
Bruce Davison Rev. Samuel Parris
Rob Campbell Reverend John Hale
Jeffrey Jones Thomas Putnam
Karron Graves Mary Warren
Rachael Bella Betty Parris
Anna V. Boksenbaum Sarah Pope
Robert Breuler Judge Hathorne
Dorothy Brodesser Mrs Griggs
Ken Cheeseman Goat Owner
Mara Clark Goody Barrow
Frances Conroy Ann Putnam
Sheila Ferrini Townswoman
Michael Gaston Marshal Herrick
George Gaynes Judge Samuel Sewall
Mary Pat Gleason Martha Corey
Amee Gray Lydia Sheldon
John Griesemer Ezekial Cheever
Lian-Marie Holmes Deliverance Fuller
Jessie Kilguss Deborah Flint
Elizabeth Lawrence Rebecca Nurse
June Lewin Townswoman
Will Lyman Isaiah Goodkind
Karen MacDonald Townswoman
Ruth Maleczech Goody Osborne
Peter Maloney Dr. Griggs
Simone Marean Rachel Buxton
Tom McDermott Francis Nurse
Michael McKinstry Daniel Proctor
Charlotte Melen Margaret Kenney
Carmella Mulvihill Hannah Brown
Katrina Nevin Dorcas Bellows
Steven Ochoa Putnam's servant
Dossy Peabody Goody Sibber
Ashley Peldon Ruth Putman
David V. Picker
Sheila Pinkham Goody Good
William Preston George Jacobs
Jane Pulkkinen Goody Bellows
Mary Reardon Esther Wilkens
Kali Rocha Mercy Lewis
Alexander Streit Joseph Proctor
Stanely Taylor Joanna Preston
Peter Vaughan Giles Corey
Charlaine Woodard Tituba
George Fenton Conductor
Technical Credits
Nicholas Hytner Director
Tariq Anwar Editor
Michael Barosky Sound Mixer
Dirk Wallace Craft Asst. Director
Bob Crowley Costumes/Costume Designer
Naomi Donne Makeup
Andrew Dunn Cinematographer
George Fenton Score Composer, Songwriter
Donna Isaacson Casting
William "Billie Jack" Jakielaszek Special Effects
Christian Kaplan Casting
Alan S. Kaye Set Decoration/Design
Paula Kelly Makeup
Lilly Kilvert Production Designer
Gary King Special Effects
Todd Kleitsch Makeup
Mitchell Levin Associate Producer
Bruce MacCallum Camera Operator
Michael McCue Asst. Director
Bob Miller Producer
Arthur Miller Screenwriter
Robert A. Miller Producer
Louis Montejano Set Decoration/Design
Nick Navarro Set Decoration/Design
Richard Oswald Asst. Director
David V. Picker Producer
Carolyn Pickman Casting
Diana Pokorny Co-producer
Stephen R. Ricci Special Effects
Daniel Swee Casting
Eliza Thompson Musical Direction/Supervision
Mike Topoozian Asst. Director
Bob Wagner Asst. Director
John Warnke Art Director
Carla White Makeup
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great for teaching about McCarthyism, the Salem Witch trials and American theater!

    Arthur Miller's social commentary regarding the mass hysteria that fuels "witch hunts' of all sorts has been the backbone of any course concentrating on contemporary American film or literature. While the original text escapes students without the language skills or the historical background to comprehend the importance of Miller's THE CRUCIBLE, the film makes the author's vision clear. Even the most apathetic student audience is moved to indignation by the Salem theocracy's abuse of power and its willingness to turn its back on Truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Really well done

    My english class read the book and I honestly thought it was boring but then my teacher showed us this movie and I really loved it. It is really great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing

    After my English class read The Crucible about 2 months ago, my teacher showed us this film adaptation. If you read the play and absolutely loved it (as I did), you will love the movie as well. Much of the dialogue is kept the same, and Winona Ryder does a breath-taking performance as Abigail Williams. Also, some of my friends who had trouble visualizing some of the actions in the play (being as we did not act it out), found that the film clarified what they had read for them. So if you found The Crucible confusing to read, the movie can help show you what was going on in the play. The setting is the Puritan ruled Salem Village in the 1500s. The Crucible is centered around a love triangle existing between 3 of its main characters: Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. Prior to the opening of the play/movie, John Proctor and Abigail had an affair, while she was working in his house as a servant. Throughout the play/movie, Abigail remains convinced that John Proctor still loves her, even though he is trying desperately to abolish her from his mind. However, because Abigail has formulated the idea that she and John are BOTH madly in love with each other, she begins to plot some way to wipe Elizabeth out of the picture. When she and some other girls are caught dancing in the woods at night (a practice unheard of by the Puritans), the town begins mumbling rumors of witchcraft. Rather than taking the blame, Abigail and the other girls point out others they claimed bewitched villagers, and eventually, Abigail figures, what better way to exterminate Elizabeth's existence? Find out what happens when you watch the movie!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent

    I was so moved by this movie. I have gained even more respect for Arthur Miller after viewing it. This was an excellent story that should be read and viewed by every young person. Arthur Miller, with his powerful writing, reminds us that our goodness and our humanity rest in our strength of integrity, ethics, and morals. The actors, with the strength of their abilities, remind us of sorrow that comes when we turn our backs on what is true. We become our sins when we lose the courage to look inside our hearts and souls for what is honest. I lived the movie as I watched it. I felt the loss and the shame of the people of Salem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2003

    An Amazing Film

    This is one of the best films I have ever seen. Winona Ryder, Joan Allen, and Daniel Day-Lewis make watching this movie a treat and each turn in superb performances. I highly recommend it to everyone, not only for the story and acting but for the edge-of-the-seat experience one feels while watching it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2002

    The Crucible: Movie Review

    The Movie version of The Crucible by Arthur Miller is very close to the written version. There are obviously some differences that had to be made in order that the movie flows well. For the most part the lines of the characters were the same or very close to those in the book, the actions of the movie characters were very close to what was listed in the written version, and the movie helped the reader actually see the scenes that they have read acted out. As I watched the movie there were lines that actors said that I recognized as coming directly from the book. Other lines were very similar to the book. As I watched the movie in some scenes I read along with the book and the lines were in almost the same order and said the same way. There of course were differences in their lines but that was to be expected. For the most part the lines in the written version and the movie were very close. The biggest difference that I found, even if you would count it as a difference, was that the actors actions were different in the movie than what was listed in the book. There are several reasons that could account for this difference, one was that the book was written as a play not a movie, second was that the written version was not that descriptive in the characters actual movement and what exactly they were doing. The main thing that I liked about the movie was that it allowed the reader to see the scenes acted out before them. For me at least there was one or two scenes that were a little confusing about how they played out but when I saw the movie that got cleared up. Also when Giles Corey was said to be crushed to death I kind of knew what that meant but when I saw the movie it showed what it meant to be crushed by the slabs of stone. All in all the movie was very close to the written version and it definitely helped the reader to understand what happened there and what life was like back then.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2001

    A Wonderful Drama!

    I do not usually like dramas, but I think this is one of the best movies ever made. Winona Ryder is a really great actress, and so are all the other actors who didn't get as much credit as they deserved. It is based on a very good play and the acting and the setting are terrific, so there is really nothing bad that you can say about it.

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