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Released Feb. 16, 1990[1]
Duration 91 minutes
Director Nicolas Roeg
Written by Allan Scott (adapted screenplay), Roald Dahl (book)
Music Stanley Myers
Studio Warner Bros.
Rated PG

The Witches is a 1990 film based on a book by Roald Dahl. The film adaptation was produced by Jim Henson Productions, with effects by the Creature Shop. Jim Henson himself received an executive producer credit.


A young orphan named Luke is staying with his grandmother in a large British hotel. While roaming the hotel, Luke discovers that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which is holding a convention in the hotel, is actually a coalition of witches. Luke overhears the Grand High Witch explaining their plan to turn the world's children into mice, but before he can make any attempt to stop them, he is caught eavesdropping and turned into a mouse himself. It is then up to Luke to survive the dangers of life as a rodent and foil the witches' scheme.

Production notes

  • At the suggestion of Bernie Brillstein, two different endings were shot: An ending more like the ending of the book, in which Luke remains a mouse, and the ending that made it to the film, in which Luke becomes human again. Both endings were screened to test audiences. As a result of the test screenings, scenes deemed too scary were shortened or removed from the final version of the film.[2]




  • Often when shown on Channel 5 in the UK, the following moments were removed:
    • The long shot of Luke returning to the hotel to escape the witches.
    • Most of the scene where Luke is searching the Grand High Witch's room, before the scene cuts back to Mr. Jenkins and the Grand High Witch.
    • The shot where the Grand High Witch leaves her room for dinner.
    • Every use of the word "bloody".

Video releases