Day of Wrath

Synopsis: In a 17th-century Danish village, an old woman is accused of witchcraft. In the shadow of her flight, capture, confession, and burning at the stake, the young wife of the town's aging pastor falls in love with the pastor's son. Her confession of this illicit affair to her husband brings on her husband's death. At the funeral the pastor's mother denounces the young widow as a witch. Will the widow's lover come to her defense, or has the day of wrath returned?
Genre: Drama, History
Director(s): Carl Theodor Dreyer
Production: Janus Films
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min


Day of Wrath, dreadful night,

Heaven and earth in ashes burning,

And the sun beset by dead of night.

That Day of Wrath, that sulfurous day

When flaming heavens together roll,

And earth's beautiful castle shall pass away.

Day of Wrath, when we shall

Awake from clay to judgment

And be brought to our enchanted hour.

Day of Wrath, the mighty trumpet's tone

Calls forth the living and the dead

And shall rend each tomb's sepulchral stone.

Day of Wrath, by God unleashed,

Behold Satan's ghastly abacus

Shown before the Judge's gaze.

The Day of Wrath, that judgment day,

Then shall be heard with universal dread

The sins revealed as they are read.

Day of Wrath, O, see them stand

Before His Throne, small and grim,

Clad in shame and rancid sin.

Day of Wrath, for pity take

My sins away from Satan's grasp

And bear up my soul to Heaven at last.

And whereas the said Herlof's Marte

is denounced as a witch

by three respected and worthy citizens,

we rule that she be seized

and brought before the Court.

If only it helps!

It is sure to.

They're herbs from under the gallows!

It's strange they have so much power.

There is power in Evil!

Who are they hunting now?

She'll be put on the stake,

She'll be put on the stake

And shall burn. And burn

With smoldering flesh

She'll be put on the stake,

She'll be put on the stake

And shall burn. And burn

With smoldering flesh

Open up. Open up, Herlof's Marte

Put these away.

Absalon, Martin should be here soon.

The ship has just come in.

I'll be there right away.

Have you the key to the loft?

May I have it?

In this house

I carry the keys.

I am Absalon's wife.

But I am his mother.

It is not easy for an old dog

to learn new tricks.

Nor is it easy for a young wife

to come into an old household.

You are too hard on her.

I want her to be a good wife to you.

She is.

When your first wife was alive...

She is not alive anymore.

No, but her son is alive.

And now he's coming home...

home to a new mother

many years younger than he.

What does it matter?


I think it is... scandalous.

I'm going out to meet Martin.

Is Master Absalon at home?

No, he has gone to meet his son.

I am his son.

Are you his son?

Are you his wife?

It seems I've seen your face before.

Where would that have been?

Perhaps in my thoughts.

I have thought about you

many, many times...

wondering what you would say

to so young a mother.

I promise to be a good son to you!

Yes... you are my son now.

And you, my mother.

My grown son.

What is keeping father?

Here comes father now.

Anne, shall we surprise him?

I'll hide.

Didn't Martin come with you?

Hasn't he come yet?

He'll be here soon.

Yes, he probably will.

What's this?

It's Martin's songbook.

Here is the song of

the Maiden and the Apple Tree.

A Maiden

sat in an apple tree high.

A lad chanced to pass by.

She stretched, the bough it bent.

Within his arms she landed.

This is so nice. Don't you want

to give your mother a kiss?

Shall we go to my study?

Yes, father.

You're bleeding!

It's nothing.

You must help me, hide me!

They will burn me if they catch me!

Have they denounced you as a witch?

I helped your mother.

She too was denounced as a witch.

My mother? It's not true.

It is true! She was set free

only because you were her daughter.

You cannot send me out to my death...

Get firewood for the oven.

And Bente, clean the fish.

Where are you going?


Is that cupboard to remain open?

Grandmother. Grandmother.

Why are you so quiet, Anne?

We are looking for Herlof's Marte.


In the rectory?

Some children saw her come in here.

But that is impossible... then we must...

Have you seen Herlof's Marte?

If she is here, she must have sneaked in...

Yes, look for her.

Bloodstains... Over here.

Is there another entrance to the loft?

Yes, by the other staircase.

Tell Hans and Henrik to go up that way.

The Lord have mercy upon us!

And this should have been a day of joy!

I order that the Notary of the Chapter

the Reverend Absalon Pederssn

take the said Herlof's Marte

to confession.

He shall diligently exhort her

to confess the full truth

that she may not die without

penance, but her soul be saved.

Help me, Absalon.

Save me from the stake.

Only God can help you.

You can. If you want.

I ask only that you do for me

what you did for Anne's mother.

What do you mean?

You spared her.

Do not say more than you can answer for.

I know what I say.

You knew she was a witch,

but you kept silent...

You lie!

You kept silent for Anne's sake.

Come here.


I'm begging for my life.

You shall not beg for your life.

You should pray for your soul.

Confess the truth.

What shall I confess?

That you are a witch.

A witch? I knew of one...

She was Anne's mother,

and you set her free.

Be quiet.

I am so terribly afraid... to die.

Come with me.

Day of Wrath. Day of Mourning.

See fulfilled the prophet's warning

You're here.

I came to listen to the singing.

Day of Wrath that...

Day of Wrath...

Why are they learning that?

To sing when Herlof's Marte is burned.

I hear her screams all the time.

Come, let's go.

Oh what fear man's soul renders

When from Heaven the Judge descends.

The old one's giving in.

Will you confess?



Release her.

Thereafter she consented

to a confession.

Tell us how you entered

the service of the Evil One?

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