Witchfinder General (1968)

Stills must not be reproduced, copied or downloaded in any way. Hard copies of some images can be bought via the BFI Printstore and the complete collection can be accessed for commercial reuse via BFI Stills.

Film details

Alternative titles

  • The Conqueror Worm Alternative
  • Edgar Allan Poe's Conqueror Worm Alternative
  • Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder General Alternative

Cast & Credits

Synopsis

In 1645, during the English Civil War, the Ipswich lawyer turned Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, and his servant John Stearne, tour the country instigating witch hunts, extracting confessions through torture. When conducting one of their witch hunts in the village of Brandeston, one of the many they accuse of witchcraft is the local priest. The priest's niece, Sara, offers herself to Hopkins in return for her uncle's life. Hopkins initially accepts her offer but Stearne persuades him otherwise and the witchfinder orders the execution to proceed. Richard Marshall, a soldier in Cromwell's army, returns to the village on leave to find Sara, his fiance, has been raped by Stearne and her uncle executed. Vowing revenge on Hopkins, Marshall goes in pursuit. Hearing of his pursuer, Hopkins arraigns both Marshall and Sara as witches and has them arrested. Marshall's army colleagues storm the jail where the two are being held and Marshall, having been freed from his chains, kills Hopkins with an axe.

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top