The Witches

Synopsis: A young boy, recently orphaned, is taken to England by his grandmother. At a hotel in which they are staying, a group of witches have gathered to prepare a plot to rid England of all children.
Director(s): Nicolas Roeg
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min

When your father

was a boy like you... with me here in Norway...

...I told him about witches, too... that he would always be aware.

The most important thing

youshould know about...

...real witches is this.

Listen very carefully.

Real witches dress

in ordinary clothes...

...and look very much like

ordinary women.

They live in ordinary houses...

...and they work in ordinary jobs.

Every country in the world has witches.

And there is a leader...

...a high witch of each country.

And the ruler...

...of all the witches... the most evil woman

in creation.

The Grand High Witch herself.

Witches spend their time

plotting to kill children.

Stalking the wretched child

like a hunter...

...stalks a bird in the forest.

Did they hunt you?

You said it was an accident.

A very unpleasant accident.

When I was younger...

...I traveled the world

in search for the Grand High Witch...

...but I never found her.

I don't really believe

that anyone has ever found her.

If no one's seen

the Grand High Witch... are you sure she exists?

Nobody's ever seen the devil,

but we know he exists, don't we?

For all you know, a witch might be

living next door to you.

When I was little...

...I lived beside

a girl called Erica...

...who was taken by a witch.

Erica had very strict parents.

But even that didn't save poor Erica...

...because when a witch chooses a victim...

...there is only one hope of escape:

Knowing everything about them

that I am telling you.

I'm warning you!

Erica, come in.

What makes her dangerous is the fact

that she doesn't look dangerous.

You can never be sure

if it's a witch you're looking at...

...or a kind lady.


How do you like my new painting?

It's magnifique, Papa.

Go to Larsen's...

...and buy a liter of milk.

Yes, Papa.

Come straight home.

Real witches hate children.

Real witches are quite bald.

Although, of course,

they wear wigs...

...that itch...

...and cause them scalp rash.

Do you know

what scalp rash is?


Itching under the wig.

Must drive them crazy.

They look quite hideous

behind their human facemasks.

They can only be distinguished

from ordinary women...

...if you are sharp enough

to spot the purple tinge to their eyes.

Real witches have no toes.

Their feet have square ends...

...revolting stumps

where their toes should be.

So they never wear pointed

or pretty shoes.

Just plain, sensible shoes.

Remember these things.

Perhaps if Erica had known them...

My poor Erica.

For weeks they searched.

But witches don't murder children

with knives or guns.

That's for people

who get caught.

And witches never get caught.

They searched for miles around.

Everyone in the town searched...

...but she had completely disappeared.

I was there in Erica's house

six weeks later.

Good day, Frau Larsen.

Come in, Helga.

Have some cake.

I was her best friend

when it happened.

Then, that day...

...while Erica's mother

was pouring the coffee...

...her father came walking towards us.

It was as though

he had seen a ghost.

His face was all twisted up... he walked towards

the painting behind me.

There, as if it always

had been there...

...was Erica...

...locked in the painting...

...gazing at us.


I don't believe it.

You saw her in the painting, Grandma?

Many times.

But the peculiar thing

was that little Erica...

...kept changing her position

in the picture.

One day she'd be feeding the ducks.

The next day,

she'd be inside the farmhouse...

...looking out of a window.

Did you see her moving

in the picture?

Nobody did.

She was always just a figure...

...motionless in the painting.

As the years went by,

Erica grew older, too.

And only five or six years ago...

...the old woman that Erica had become...

...bent and frail in the painting...

...began to disappear.

Until... morning,

she was gone.

She died?

Who knows?

Mysterious things go on

in the world of witches.

It's almost 9:

Grandma's been telling me

about witches, Mom.

And frightening you

before you go to sleep.

Good night, darling.

Everything all right?

Very all right.

Go on. Enjoy yourselves.

Good-bye, Mom.

Here you go.

- Good night, son.

- Good night, Dad.

No more stories, okay?

Oh, no.

Come on, just one more story.

All right, one more.

But very short.


...are very cruel.

They have a highly developed

sense of smell.

A real witch could smell you

across the street...

...on a pitch-black night.

Not me.

I just had a shower.

Yes, she could.

The cleaner you are,

the more a witch can smell you.

That doesn't make sense.

Yes, it does.

A dirty child,

it's the dirt she smells.

A clean child,

it is the child.

I'll never have a shower again,

and I'll have you for an excuse.

Well, just not too often.

Only once a month

is probably safe.

So a witch could smell me right now?

To me, you smell of

raspberries and cream...

...but to a witch, you would smell

absolutely disgusting.

What kind of disgusting?

Like dog's droppings.

I don't believe it.

You don't believe it?

What's more, to a witch,

you'd smell of fresh dog's droppings.

That's not true.

There's no point in arguing.

It's a fact of life.

So, if you see a woman holding her nose

as she passes you...

...she could easily be a witch.

And now it is definitely bedtime.

Good night, Grandma.

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Allan Scott

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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