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The Scarlet Letter (1995)

An affair between a young woman and a pastor has disastrous consequences.

Director:

Roland Joffé

Writers:

Nathaniel Hawthorne (novel), Douglas Day Stewart (screenplay)
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1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Demi Moore ... Hester Prynne
Gary Oldman ... Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale
Robert Duvall ... Roger Chillingworth
Lisa Andoh Lisa Andoh ... Mituba (as Lisa Joliffe-Andoh)
Edward Hardwicke ... Gov. John Bellingham
Robert Prosky ... Horace Stonehall
Roy Dotrice ... Rev. Thomas Cheever
Joan Plowright ... Harriet Hibbons
Malcolm Storry ... Maj. Dunsmuir
James Bearden James Bearden ... Goodman Mortimer (as Jim Bearden)
Larissa Laskin ... Goody Mortimer
Amy Wright ... Goody Gotwick
George Aguilar ... Johnny Sassamon
Tim Woodward ... Brewster Stonehall
Joan Gregson Joan Gregson ... Elizabeth Cheever
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Storyline

In 1666 in the Massachusetts Bay colony, Puritans and the Algonquian have an uneasy truce. Hester Prynne (Demi Moore) arrives from England, seeking independence. Awaiting her husband, she establishes independence, fixing up a house, befriending Quakers and other outsiders. Passion draws her to the young pastor, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale (Gary Oldman). He feels the same; when they learn her husband has probably died at the hands of Indians, they consummate their love. A child is born, and on the day Hester is publicly humiliated and made to wear a scarlet letter, her husband appears after a year with Indians. Calling himself Chillingworth (Robert Duvall), he seeks revenge, searching out Hester's lover and stirring fears of witchcraft. Will his murderous plot succeed? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When intimacy is forbidden and passion is a sin, love is the most defiant crime of all.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Scarlet Letter See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$46,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,119,086, 15 October 1995

Gross USA:

$10,382,407

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,382,407
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Demi Moore had known she was going to do this movie since the start of 1994, when she was pregnant with Tallulah Willis, and reportedly offered to give birth on-camera for inclusion in this movie. See more »

Goofs

When Hester starts to follow the red bird into the forest, once she's gotten deeper in the woods, you can see to the left of the screen three deliberate puffs of white smoke coming from a fog machine. See more »

Quotes

Hester Prynne: I wonder if existance as a woman is worthwhile at all.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Robot Chicken: Sweet J Presents (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Agnus Dei
(Based on Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings")
Performed by Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
(Adm. by G. Schirmen Inc. (ASCAP))
Courtesy of Telarc International Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Its a good film, many reviews are ridiculously pretentious
21 November 2016 | by SnikicSee all my reviews

If this is your first studio film, you may be shocked by the fact that this adaptation is not the same as the source material. This is not Hawthorne's insightful, profound, crushingly depressing novel. As with most studio adaptations, it's been made more tantalizing and easily digestible with a sort of happy ending. In order to enjoy this film, you have to let go of the fact that it only borrows from the characters and theme of the novel and let it stand on its own. You also must accept that it is more entertaining and emotional and less thought provoking. Its also helpful to keep in mind that this is a very 90's studio film.

This is a solid romance movie. Gary Oldman brings painfully beautiful depth to a character that, although well written, could have easily been made off-puttingly weak and vanilla, had it been played by one of the typical leading men of the time. The movie is worth watching for his performance alone, despite being made at the eroding peak of his alcoholism. I think this was Demi Moore's finest performance. I would have never thought of casting her for this role but she delivered a believable woman of great strength and character. She could have easily been annoyingly selfish and obstinate but instead, measured with subtlety and calculation, she is both relatable and inspiring and manages to hold her own among her accomplished male counterparts. Robert Duvall gives a solid, yet uncomfortable performance. He felt a bit alien from the rest of the cast but, in a way, it suits the character. The entire supporting cast is absolutely fantastic. The score is one of the best elements of the entire film. Direction is good, there are some awkward aspects but the overall production is beautiful and well conceived.

If you take the movie for what it is and just relax, it is quite enjoyable. If you are a romantic and a fan of any of the actors, you will love it.


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