The Crucible 1996

Critics score:
67 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Nothing in the movie is quite up to Scofield's Danforth. But what a mighty performance that is! Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Despite these involving moments, The Crucible finally seems too schematic, more useful as an allegory than as drama, and possibly owing that undoubted popularity to its simplistic qualities as much as its insights into group psychology. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: What happened in long-ago Salem does still seem to matter. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: I very much admire how Hytner... keeps the pace swift and doesn't fetishize the 17th-century decors and clothes. But I can't help feeling that in more ways than one, The Crucible is a period piece. Read more

Misha Berson, Seattle Times: Too bad, though, that The Crucible fails to probe deeper into the sexual, religious, and political conditions that can give false accusations so much power -- even today. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Then there's always Mr. Scofield, bringing an almost unbearable, yet entirely believable, lightness of spirit to his loathsome character. It's a bold stroke by a great actor, making zealotry and evil seem positively beneficent. Read more

Stephen Thompson, AV Club: Arthur Miller's screenplay keeps everything nice and faithful to the period, and the actors have the dirt on their hands to prove it. The movie lacks polish as well, and that's to everyone's benefit. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Though Hytner remains essentially a stage director, he makes fine use of Massachusetts locations and period interiors; some of the visual details recall Dreyer's Day of Wrath, a film that likely had an influence on Miller's play Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Ryder, usually a soft, placid actress, unleashes a bold new anger here. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This version illuminates the story's numerous strengths, resulting in a motion picture of surprising emotional and intellectual impact. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The first scene in "The Crucible'' strikes the first wrong note. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: This stirring film lets you feel the heat of Miller's argument and the urgent power of his kick. Read more

Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle: There's an awful, piercing truth in the performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Joan Allen and Paul Scofield as members of a community destroyed by guilt, paranoia and betrayal. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Day-Lewis, Ryder and Scofield will be odds-on favorites for Oscar nominations, as will the movie itself. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: I recommend Hytner's movie highly, but a part of me resists a work that makes the audience feel as noble in our moral certainty as the characters it invites us to deplore. Some part of its power seems borrowed from the thing it hates. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Her cheeks flush, her winsome beauty seared with erotic rage, Ryder exposes the real roots of the piece. Forget McCarthyism; The Crucible is a colonial Fatal Attraction. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Hytner holds the action together with solid, unflashy, well-paced direction, ensuring that this is no mere period piece but a compelling, pertinent account of human fear, frailty and cold ambition. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Neither the establishing dramatic linchpin nor the final conversion of conscience is terribly convincing, leaving this pared-down rendition of the original work diminished in power and meaning as well. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: Handsome and well-acted, the film's ultimate success depends on the heat between Ryder and Day-Lewis, and it simply isn't there. The attraction is fatal alright, but it certainly doesn't seem mutual. Read more

Lloyd Rose, Washington Post: None of these performers is bad, but what they're doing is shallow and ultimately uninteresting. Read more