Salem Witch Trials Movies & T.V. Shows

Hollywood has tackled the subject of the Salem Witch Trials many times in numerous movies, documentaries and t.v. shows.

The first books about the Salem Witch Trial were published in October of 1692, but since multi-media wasn’t invented for another couple of centuries, the first movie about the trials wasn’t produced until 1937. It was a black and white film called Maid of Salem, produced by Paramount, that was inspired by the events of the trials. Maid of Salem was the first time a Hollywood production company took on such a controversial subject like the witch trials.

Later, television shows began to explore the Salem Witch Trials which caused a surge in public interest in the topic. The tourism industry in Salem suddenly exploded in the 1970s after the popular television series, Bewitched, aired several episodes about the trials and more and more people started seeking movies, books and whatever else they could find on the trials.

Salem Witch Trials Movies & T.V. Shows

Interest in the trials continues to grow to this day and new films and t.v. shows about the trials are announced all the time, although only some of them actually make it to the screen.

In 2015, HBO green lit a pilot for a new drama about the trials called The Devil You Know, starring Eddie Izzard as Thomas Putnam, but the project still hasn’t come to light and it isn’t clear if it ever will.

Also in 2015, STX Entertainment announced it is producing a film about the witch trials titled Salem Village.

The following is a list of movies, documentaries and t.v. shows about the Salem Witch Trials that have made it to the big and small screen as well as details on how or where you can watch them:

(Disclaimer: purchases made through the links in this article help support the History of Massachusetts Blog)

Salem Witch Trials Movies:

Maid of Salem

A 1937 film starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, directed by Frank Lloyd. The plot is about a young woman named Barbara Clarke who has an affair with an adventurer named Roger Coverman in Salem in 1692. The affair causes a scandal in the Puritanical town and the young woman is soon accused of witchcraft by the town elders. Available on Amazon.

Les Sorcières de Salem

A 1957 French film starring Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, directed by Raymond Rouleau. The film is an adaptation of the 1953 play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller and is spoken in French. Available on VHS only.

Hocus Pocus

A 1993 film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, directed by Kenny Ortega. The film is about three witch sisters who are resurrected in Salem 300 years after they were hanged for being witches.

Actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays one of the sisters in the film, later discovered while filming an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? that she is a descendant of Esther Elwell, who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Available on Amazon and Google Play.

The Crucible

A 1996 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder, directed by Nicholas Hynter. The film is an adaptation of the 1953 play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller. The play is a fictionalized version of the Salem Witch Trials and is an allegory for the McCarthy hearings held in the 1950s.

The plot is about a group of young girls in Salem in 1692 who are caught engaging in forbidden magical activities and begin to lie and accuse others of witchcraft. The film was a box office success and received four Academy Award nominations. Available on Amazon, Netflix and Google Play.

Salem Witch Trials Documentaries:

Witch Hunt

A 2004 History Channel documentary featuring the Salem Witch Trials. The documentary features historians and authors who explore possible explanations for what may have caused the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Available on Amazon.

Salem: Unmasking the Devil

A 2011 National Geographic Channel documentary about the Salem Witch Trials hosted by Katherine Howe. Howe is a novelist and a descendant of two accused witches, Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe. The documentary features interviews with many historians and authors. Not available on any format.

Salem Witch Trials T.V. Shows:

Bewitched

Six episodes of season seven, which aired in 1970, were filmed on location in Salem with a plot that involves Samantha traveling back in time to 1692.

Many historic Salem landmarks are featured in the episodes, including the Salem Witch House and the House of Seven Gables, as well as several landmarks in nearby Gloucester, Mass, such as Hammond Castle and the Fisherman’s Memorial.

The Salem episodes are episodes 3-8 and are titled: “Salem Saga,” “Sam’s Hot Bedwarmer,” “Darrin on a Pedestal,” “Paul Revere Rides Again,” “Samantha’s Bad Day in Salem,” and “Samantha’s Old Salem Trip.” Available on Amazon.

In Search Of

Hosted by Leonard Nimoy, the show investigates various mysteries, phenomena and supernatural events. Episode 109 in Season 5, which aired in 1981, is titled “Salem Witches.” Available on Amazon.

Voyagers!

Episode 4 of Season 1, which aired in 1982, is titled “Agents of Satan” and its main characters have to save the mother of Benjamin Franklin, Abiah Folger, from being burned at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials. Available on Amazon.

Three Sovereigns for Sarah

A 1985 mini-series starring Vanessa Redgrave, Will Lyman and Kim Hunter that aired on PBS. Directed by Philip Leacock, the mini-series is based on the story of Sarah Cloyce who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Cloyce was also the sister of fellow accused witches Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty. Available on Amazon and Google Play.

The Simpsons

In season 9, a segment of the 1997 Halloween special “Treehouse of Horror VIII” is based on the Salem Witch Trials. The segment, which is titled “Easy Bake Coven,” takes place in the 1600s in a Puritan town where Marge is suddenly accused of being a witch. She flees to her sister’s cave and the three women become the inventors of Halloween. Available on Amazon.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Episode 23 of Season 1, which aired in 1997, is titled “The Crucible” and features Sabrina going on a class field trip to Salem to re-enact the witch trials. The family cat on the show, Salem Saberhagen, was named after the city. Available on Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.

Histeria!

Episode 36 of this animated children’s television series, which ran from 1998-2000, is titled “When America Was Young” and features a sketch based on the Salem Witch Trials. Not available on any format.

In Search of History

A History Channel’s television series which aired an episode titled the “Salem Witch Trials” in 1998. Not available on any format.

Charmed

A WB series, which ran from 1998-2006, features three witches whose ancestor was burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials. Available on Amazon, Netflix and Google Play.

Secrets of the Dead

Episode 1 of Season 2, which aired on PBS in 2001, is titled “Witches’ Curse” and discusses several theories about what caused the Salem Witch Trials. Available on VHS only.

Salem Witch Trials

A 2002 CBS mini-series about the Salem Witch Trials starring Kirstie Alley, directed by Joseph Sargent and written by Maria Nation. Available on Amazon.

Unsolved History

Episode 23 in Season 2, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2003, is titled “Salem Witch Trials.” Available on Amazon.

Ghost Hunters

Episode 17 of Season 3, which aired in 2007, is titled “Salem Witch” and features the team investigating the Hawthorne Hotel and Lyceum Restaurant in Salem, which are said to be haunted by Bridget Bishop. Available on Amazon.

Ghost Adventures

In Episode 15 of Season 7, which aired in 2012, is titled “Killer Nightlife” and features the team investigating the Lyceum restaurant and the Witch House in Salem, the home of Salem Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin. Available on Amazon.

The Vampire Diaries

A CW series, which first aired in 2009, in which the main character is a descendant of witches who had to flee Salem during the witch trials. Available on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Google Play.

Bones

Episode 20 of Season 5, which aired in 2010, is titled “The Witch in the Wardrobe” and is based on the Salem Witch Trials. Available on Amazon and Google Play.

Salem

A WGN series, which first aired in 2014, that is set during the Salem Witch Trials and is loosely based on the events of the trials. Available on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Google Play.

Time Traveling Bong

Episode one of this Comedy Central mini-series, which aired in April of 2016, is about two cousins who travel back in time to Salem in 1692 where one of them is suddenly accused of witchcraft. Available on Amazon.

Sources:
“Salem Witch Trials (TV Movie).” IMDB, www.imdb.com/title/tt0284450/
“Movies & T.V. Shows Related to Salem Witch Trials.” Prezi, prezi.com/ujtixliqux_5/movies-tv-shows-related-to-salem-witch-trials/

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the owner and operator of this website and all the articles are written and researched by her. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

6 thoughts on “Salem Witch Trials Movies & T.V. Shows

  1. Patty Sanders

    Under the list of TV movies concerning the Salem Witch trials you missed Burned At the Stake Starring Susan Swift, Marsha Mason, Albert Salmi and Anthony Hopkins

    Reply
  2. Candace

    This is great! My 9th great grannie was Rebecca Towne Nurse so I’m soaking up all I can about these times. Hollywood spin is a bet quirky, but it’s all worthwhile.

    Reply
  3. Guada

    There is a movie of the 80s I watched on TV many years ago, it’s about 1692 Salem people that travelled forward in time to the present day. Ann Putnam contacts a girl asking for help, ahe wanted to have a tombstone with a name. For years I looked for that movie and I cannot remember its name, from that fictional movie I learnt about what had happened in 1692 and the name Ann Putnam (I write from Argentina)

    Reply
  4. Phil O.

    We just watched “Three Sovereigns for Sarah”. I can’t recommend this enough; it’s well-acted, gripping, and seems to stick closely to the historic record. (Excellent use of historic sites for on-location shooting, too).

    Reply
  5. Rachida Djebel (née Averill)

    There is also a 1942 movie entitled I Married a Witch starring Frederic March and Veronica Lake which is a romantic comedy about the mortal falling in love a 17th century Salem witch returned from the grave. I always loved this movie, never imagining that I had any tie with so-called witches of Salem. My 7th great aunt is Sarah Averill Wildes hung unjustly on 19 July 1692, along with Sarah Good, , Elizabeth Howe, {Susannah Martin} and Rebecca Nurse.

    Here is a youtube clip of the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJpxVbzzZt4&feature=youtu.be

    Reply

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