Release “The Devils!” Here’s The Shocking 1971 Ken Russell Masterpiece Uncut!



What happens when you take one of England’s most controversial Directors, one of their country’s heaviest drinkers, and add that to a volatile mix of possessed Nuns?

nunsploitation films

Behold The Controversial and Brilliant Film “The Devils!” 

If you haven’t seen this wildly creative and controversial movie, you have missed a forgotten masterpiece! “The Devils” was directed by one of England’s wildest Directors, Ken Russell – and was released by Warner Brothers in 1971.

controversial cinema the devils

Talk about controversial! Movie fans around the world are demanding that this little-seen masterpiece finally gets released on DVD or blu-ray in its uncut glory!

That means with all of the Nun orgy scenes intact!

First, watch the provocative trailer:


Here is the plot: Cardinal Richelieu and his power-hungry entourage seek to take control of seventeenth-century France, but need to destroy Father Grandier – the priest who runs the fortified town that prevents them from exerting total control.

The Devils

Oliver Reed stars as Father Grandier – Reed was known as a legendary drinker…and a madman on the set…but with this controversial subject matter, Reed was just what visionary Director Ken Russell needed for this masterpiece…


As Cardinal Richelieu’s thugs take control of the town, Reed is set up as a warlock in control of a devil-possessed nunnery – and let the craziness begin!

Vanessa Redgrave starred as the sex-crazed Nun – who charged Reed with witchcraft…setting in motion a series of controversial scenes that garnered the film an “X” rating when it was released!

The Devils censored


This film was banned from Italy and its stars Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed were threatened with three years’ jail time if they set foot in that country. Reed described this film as his best performance ever…

I own this on a DVD I got from a third-party source, and I’m not sure if its uncut or not – but it’s a wild wild film to be sure!

devils movie blu-ray

A major sequence in which the nuns tear down and ravish a life-sized icon of Christ in an orgiastic frenzy was cut from the film and subsequently vanished. Film critic Mark Kermode discovered the footage many years later.

X-rated The Devils

One reason movie buffs are clamoring for a new blu-ray release is that Director Russell was keen to reinstate the scene but found that Warner Brothers were not interested in doing a director’s cut. The footage can be seen in a documentary Kermode made about Russell.


Here’s more great trivia from that documentary: while preparing for the climactic demolition of the city walls, a technician mistook a signal from Ken Russell and detonated the explosives before the cameras were rolling. A large chunk of the set had to be rebuilt.

Free The Devils movie

However, a documentary on the second disk of the 2012 DVD release of the film contradicts this story. In this documentary, Russell states that it was himself that pressed the button which detonated the explosives without communicating this to the camera team. It is also stated that the scene had to be re-shot a month later as a consequence the cameras missing the destruction of the walls.


Several online efforts have been tried in the past to get the film released in an uncut form, but as of now that still hasn’t happened…

Free The Devils

Of course, you can see much more of Ken Russell’s work as well, including his brilliant take on The Who’s “Tommy!”

ann margreet baked beans

“Tommy” contained another provocative scene from the Director: he has Actress Ann-Margret “swim” in baked beans! See the whole story of her provocative career here:

And lets not forget this other wild Russell film:

Kathleen Turner and Anthony Perkins starred in this 80’s erotic thriller “Crimes Of Passion” – see much more of the film here:

And of course, read more about legendary Actor Oliver Reed as well!


Oliver Reed was one of film’s most notorious “Hellraisers” – read all about him and the other by clicking here, part of my obituary of Peter O’ Toole, who was also profiled in the book:


If you like these stories, please leave a comment and let me know…and you can sign up to get notifications on all new posts, including my very popular “2021 Sex Kitten Countdown”:

I’m profiling some of the world’s greatest Cult Movie Queens in all their glory, like the legendary Debora Caprioglio:

You can see all about her provocative career by clicking on my story here:

Let me know if you’ve seen “The Devils!”

Categories: 70's Films, Artsploitation, Classic Horror, Cult Classics, Euro-Sleaze, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, Talent / Celebrites

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2 replies

  1. I saw the X-rated version at a huge cinema in London’s West End on its release here. That was a very wild ride back then! I would definitely buy an uncut version on DVD, if only to see what they cut out.

    What fascinated me even more was that it was all based on real historical events!

    ‘Based on the true story of the trial of Urbain Grandier, a Catholic priest who was executed in 1634 on charges of witchcraft, Russell adapted “The Devils” from John Whiting’s 1960 play and Aldous Huxley’s 1952 novel, The Devils of Loudun.’

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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