The Wicker Man (1973 film)

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The Wicker Man is a 1973 film about a British police sergeant who is called to an island village in search of a missing girl whom the locals claim never existed. Stranger still, however, are the rituals that take place there.

Directed by Robin Hardy. Written by Anthony Shaffer, inspired by the novel Ritual by David Pinner.
Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting!taglines

Lord Summerisle[edit]

  • I think I could turn and live with animals. They are so placid and self-contained. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one of them kneels to another or to his own kind that lived thousands of years ago. Not one of them is respectable or unhappy, all over the earth. (quoting section 32 of Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself")
  • Do sit down, Sergeant. Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent.
  • Animals are fine, but their acceptability is limited. A small child is even better, but not nearly as effective as the right kind of adult.

Sergeant Neil Howie[edit]

  • Don't you see that killing me is not going to bring back your apples?
  • [singing] The Lord's my shepherd; I'll not want. He makes me down to lie in pastures... Oh, God.
  • [while being burned alive in a Wicker Man] Oh, God... I humbly entreat you for the soul of this, thy servant, Neil Howie... who will today depart from this world. Do not deliver me into the enemy's hands... or... put me out of mind forever. Let me not undergo the real pains of Hell, dear God, because I die unshriven... and establish me... in that bliss... which knows no ending... through Christ... our Lord. [screaming] JESUS!! JESUS!!!


  • Harbour Master: Much has been said of the strumpets of yore
    Of wenches and bawdyhouse queens by the score
    But I sing of a baggage that we all adore
    The landlord's daughter.
  • Willow: Some things in their natural state have the most vivid colours.
  • Miss Rose: The building attached to the ground in which the body lies is no longer used for Christian worship, so whether it is still a Churchyard is debatable.
  • May Morrison: You'll simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice.


May Morrison: Can I do anything for you, Sergeant?
Sergeant Neil Howie: No, I doubt it, seeing you're all raving mad!

[outside, several young girls are dancing naked over a fire]
Lord Summerisle: Afternoon Sergeant Howie. I trust the sight of the young people refreshes you.
Sergeant Neil Howie: No sir, it does not refresh me.

Sergeant Neil Howie: Your lordship seems strangely... unconcerned.
Lord Summerisle: I am confident your suspicions are wrong, Sergeant. We do not commit murder here. We are a deeply religious people.
Sergeant Neil Howie: Religious? With ruined churches, no ministers, no priests... and children dancing naked!
Lord Summerisle: They do love their divinity lessons.
Sergeant Neil Howie: But they are... a-are naked!
Lord Summerisle: Well, naturally. It's much too dangerous to jump through fire with your clothes on.
Sergeant Neil Howie: What religion can they possibly be learning jumping over bonfires?
Lord Summerisle: Parthenogenesis.
Sergeant Neil Howie: What?
Lord Summerisle: Literally, as Miss Rose would doubtless say in her assiduous way, reproduction without sexual union.
Sergeant Neil Howie: Oh, what is all this? I mean, you've got fake biology, fake religion... Sir, have these children never heard of Jesus?
Lord Summerisle: Himself the son of a virgin, impregnated, I believe, by a ghost.

Sergeant Neil Howie: But what of the true God, to whose Glory, churches and monasteries have been built on these islands for generations past? Now sir, what of Him?
Lord Summerisle: He's dead. He can't complain. He had His chance and in modern parlance, "blew it."

Sergeant Neil Howie: He brought you up to be a pagan!
Lord Summerisle: A heathen, conceivably, but not, I hope, an unenlightened one.

Willow MacGreagor: A man who would come here of his own free will.
Librarian: A man who has come here with the power of a king by representing the law.
Willow MacGreagor: A man who would come here as a virgin...
Librarian: A man who has come here as a fool!

[after being anointed]
Sergeant Neil Howie: No matter what you do, you can't change the fact that I believe in the life eternal, as promised to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. [shouted] I believe in the life eternal, as promised to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Lord Summerisle: That is good, for believing what you do, we confer upon you a rare gift, these days - a martyr's death. You will not only have life eternal, but you will sit with the saints among the elect. Come. It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.


  • Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting!
  • The residents of Summerisle invited Sergeant Howie to their traditional May Day festival. He didn't expect to meet...The Wicker Man.


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