"Welcome to Salem."      


Reviewed January 12, 1997

At this point I suppose everyone's aware that The Crucible is the motion picture adaptation of Arthur Miller's 1953 stageplay of the same name.  Set in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, The Crucible tells the story of how a town gets swept up in a witch hunt frenzy spawned by a group of young girls--a witch hunt which eventually leads to the accusation and trial of scores of townspeople, and the execution of nineteen.  I won't go into detail as to how this all develops, except to say that it is feverishly driven by the relationship of Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) to John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis).  You see, Abigail Williams is the leader of the accusing group of girls, and she is desperately in love with John Proctor, who is (unfortunately for Abigail) quite married to Elizabeth Proctor (Joan Allen).  Now, if only Abigail could somehow get rid of Elizabeth...hmmm...how would she do that...hmmm...time for a witch hunt, maybe?

The Crucible is worth recommending for many reasons, but two that stand out for me are 1). the acting performances and 2). the scope of the issues this classic story raises.  As for item 1)., I have to say that the performances in this film were simply wonderful.  Winona Ryder and Daniel Day-Lewis were both magnificent in their roles, as was the rest of the cast.  Paul Scofield's performance as Judge Danforth also deserves particular mention--what a dastardly portrayal!  

Then we have item 2).  The Crucible has never been just a witch hunt story, for in telling itself it raises many weighty moral and ethical issues that have relevance in any time period (1692 or 1996).  The irony of a man who gives up his name in an attempt to save his friends, and then later gives up his life in order to save his name, is just wonderfully intriguing.  No question about it: The Crucible will make you think...

What do you do in a place where the truth doesn't count, but the truth's the only thing you've got?  Would you give up the truth to save your name, and would you give up your name to save your soul?  The Crucible won't answer these questions for you, but it will ask them, and it will ask with energy and passion and emotion.  If this interests you at all, go see this film...

Responses from cyberspace--thanks for writing!!

Omar@ici.24.co.uk gives this movie **** stars: "The crucible is a great play with plenty of dramatic scenes and suspense. There are plenty of twists and turns in this excellent play by Arthur Miller." (11/26/00)

alexie74@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars: "I really enjoyed teh movie. After seeing it done at a local High school I wanted to see the movie. I believe that it was amazing." (6/2/00)

honey@netcom.ca gives this movie **** stars: "Nicely done" (5/4/00)

Amethyst gives this movie ***** stars: "a damn good movie. I don't know how true it is, but it's really good." (2/22/00)

tandy@tinyonline.co.uk gives this movie **** stars: "genuinly good, a little old fashoined for me, but then again i had to watch it for a school project. Hop on baby!!!" (10/20/99)

Michael Hunt gives this movie ** stars: "The movie was a fine portrayal of the moral and ethical issues of witchunts, but there was no porn so it sucked" (10/20/99)

superglue_96743@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars: "This movie kicked ass. Read the play and then you'll contrast the ideas" (10/19/99)

ashaya_babiuk13@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars: "I Loved this movie! I am an actress, and I thought the acting and directing in this movie is absolutely superb!! I think it has a great plot!" (10/16/99)

Lauren gives this movie **** stars: "it was really sad but it was worth watching" (10/7/99)

renegade_virus@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars: "I'm doing The Crucible for English Literature and I think it's brilliant. I've watched the play but nothing beats the movie. Kudos to the Arthur Miller for a very well written play!" (10/7/99)

Brandi252@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars. (9/6/99)

duke_x100@hotmail.com gives this movie * star: "i didn't like the movie at all!!, The book was much better It didn't reveal the deep side of each characters... The crucible has much heavier theme." (7/24/99)

rajie_baby@hotmail.com gives this movie **** stars: "I loved it man.......if John Proctor had lived and Abigail prosecuted, the movie would have been too predictable......the right thing was done in the end.......Proctor died with dignity and pride. I would watch it thousands of times and not get bored....well, actually i will, but you know what i mean.......:)" (7/8/99)

Inthebox555@hotmail.com gives this movie ***** stars: "this is a great movie. you might think that it was a long time ago so it was ok but it still happens TODAY!!! children under the age of 8 in court what they say is the truth?" (5/2/99)

emf_124@yahoo.com gives this movie ***** stars: "Althought i had only seen the movie for the first part only...but i found it to be intriguing and gave u suspence about the movie...it is worth your precious time to see and learn abput friendship,pride,love and so on......" (2/5/99)

Juan Marquez gives this movie * star: "would like to seepictures about it." (11/16/98)

Lauren gives this movie ***** stars: "excellent!!!! rent it today" (11/7/98)

actortravis@mindspring.com gives this movie *** stars: "I thought it was good but it was over done just alittle. I tink the one thing that really saved it was the set." (10/12/98)

michkemp@hotmail.com gives this movie **** stars: "The movie was pretty historically accurate and gave a good starting point for further research, especially for those who are interested in the witch trials." (10/8/98)

a.christian@usa.net gives this movie ***** stars. (9/18/98)

R.R. Carter gives this movie **** stars: "I though the movie was good but I do not like sad endings" (9/17/98)

David Lependorf gives this movie ***** stars: "Even at age 17 I find the Crucible exciting and morally intelligent, I am currently directing a school play on the book. I think it is wonderful literature for all ages." (9/4/98)

dasimah@mbox3.singnet.com.sg gives this movie ***** stars: "I did The Crucible as my literatue text and i have also watched the movie. I simply find The Crucible...SUPERB!!!" (8/26/98)

cus55@yahoo.com gives this movie *** stars. (7/3/98)

potarte@mailexcite.com gives this movie  stars: "Good acting done by Daniel-Day Lewis and Joan Allen. Winona Ryder was a good addition but gave a weak performance. Very well done by the director but needed to be more realistic and more accurate." (12/13/97)

jilliam@capecod.net gives this movie  stars: "I wish that they (Miller) had kept closer to the book rather than making it a sensational movie. I was a little disapointed in the proformances, I must admit. The real story centered on the WITCH TRIALS not the affair (which I don't think even happened! He being 60 to her 11.), but the movie was all about the affair." (12/10/97)

Kavindra19@aol.com gives this movie  stars. (8/3/97)

anonymous entry gives this movie  stars: "This is a very good movie to watch if you have an interest in the play itself. The play itself is very hard to understand , so the movie gives you an excellent explanation of what goes on. The intensity of the characters is shown extremely well. I feel this is well worth watching for its quality and strength even if an enjoyment factor is not present." (7/15/97)

Matthew Nutter gives this movie  stars: "I'm from beverly so I live on the set, and I watched them film the movie. In spite of the fact I liked the movie (a touch over acted) a good book always makes a good movie (see "name of the rose")." (7/1/97)