To the Devil a Daughter

To the Devil a Daughter

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Sykes
Produced by Roy Skeggs
Written by Chris Wicking
John Peacock
Gerald Vaughan-Hughes
Based on The novel by Dennis Wheatley
Starring Richard Widmark
Christopher Lee
Honor Blackman
Nastassja Kinski
Denholm Elliott
Music by Paul Glass
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by John Trumper
Hammer Film Productions Ltd. London
Terra Filmkunst GMBH Berlin
Distributed by EMI (UK), Cine Artists Pictures (USA)
Release dates
4 March 1976 (UK)
Running time
95 min.
Country United Kingdom
West Germany
Language English
Budget ₤360,000[1]

To the Devil a Daughter is a 1976 horror film, directed by Peter Sykes and produced by Hammer Film Productions and Terra-Filmkunst. It is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley, and stars Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Nastassja Kinski and Denholm Elliott. It was the final Hammer production to feature Christopher Lee until The Resident in 2011.


American expatriate occult writer John Verney (Widmark) is asked by Henry Beddows (Elliot) to pick up his daughter Catherine (Kinski) from London airport. Catherine is a nun with the Children of the Lord, a mysterious heretical order based in Bavaria and founded by the excommunicated Roman Catholic priest Michael Rayner (Lee), where Beddows is allowed to come to visit Catherine only on her birthdays. But after Catherine arrives, Beddows then insists that she stay with Verney. The order, however, under Father Michael, makes all efforts to get Catherine back and uses black magic to stop Verney as he protects her. Verney learns that the order really harbours a group of practicing Satanists, who have prepared Catherine to become an avatar of Astaroth upon her eighteenth birthday. The priest kills Verney's friends, and tries to get Verney. Verney battles the priest and his henchmen and is able to rescue Catherine.



The film was adapted by Christopher Wicking and John Peacock from the 1953 novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. It was the second of Wheatley's "black magic" novels to be filmed by Hammer, following The Devil Rides Out, released in 1968. Wheatley disliked the film because it did not follow his novel and he found it obscene. He told Hammer that they were not to make another film from his novels ever again.

This was Michael Goodliffe's last film, made shortly before he committed suicide while suffering from depression.

Christopher Lee's line "It is not heresy... and I will not recant!" was sampled by heavy metal band White Zombie for the song "Super-Charger Heaven". The movie's title was also referenced by White Zombie in the song "Black Sunshine" ("To the devil, a daughter comes...")

Kinski was fifteen years old at the time of filming her frontal nude scene.

Critical reception

To the Devil... A Daughter has been negatively received by critics, and currently holds a 38% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews.[2] Time Out called it "a good deal more interesting than the rest of the possession cycle, but still a disappointment."[3]


  1. Marcus Hearn & Alan Barnes, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films, Titan Books, 2007 p 166
  2. "To The Devil A Daughter - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  3. "To the Devil a Daughter Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Retrieved 17 August 2012.
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