The Crucible (1996)

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Director: Nicholas Hytner

Writer: Arthur Miller (play), Arthur Miller (screenplay)

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison, Jeffrey Jones, Rob Campbell

Reviews: MSN Movies

Synopsis: Arthur Miller's harrowing tale about the Salem witch trials of 1692. When initially written for the stage in 1953 it was meant as an attack against the excesses of Senator McCarthy's crusade against communism. The story still holds weight as a timeless warning against all excesses of political and religious extremism.

The plot of this film adaptation begins with a group of young girls discovered dancing in the forests around the puritanical town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Religious experts are called in to judge on the presence of witchcraft and events soon spiral out of control as these puritans of New England begin to level accusations of witchcraft against each other in order to further their own to selfish interests.

The prominent character of the film, John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis), is haunted by his affair with Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder), who seeks at every turn to win him as her own. His fall from grace and his eventual redemption and forgiveness by his wife are moving testiments to Arthur Miller's belief in the true power and importance of religious faith.

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