Wuthering Heights (1970 film)

This article is about the 1970 film. For the 1847 novel by Emily Brontë, see Wuthering Heights. For other uses, see Wuthering Heights (disambiguation).
Wuthering Heights

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Fuest
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
Written by Emily Brontë (novel)
Patrick Tilley (screenplay)
Starring Anna Calder-Marshall
Timothy Dalton
Music by Michel Legrand
Cinematography John Coquillon
Edited by Ann Chegwidden
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
9 June 1970 (UK)
18 February 1971 (USA)
Running time
104 mins.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $800,000[1]
Box office $4.5 million (est.)[1]

Wuthering Heights is a 1970 film directed by Robert Fuest. It is based on the classic Emily Brontë novel of the same name. Like the 1939 version, this film depicts only the first sixteen chapters concluding with Catherine Earnshaw Linton's death and omits the trials of her daughter, Hindley's son, and Heathcliff's son.


Hindley Earnshaw

This film version differs from the book in several ways, and most of the differences involve Hindley Earnshaw. First it takes a more sympathetic look at Hindley. Usually portrayed as being a cruel oppressor of Heathcliff, in this version he is persecuted by his father and lives in Heathcliff's shadow. Also in this version, Nelly Dean, the narrator, is shown as being in love with Hindley and unable to express her feelings due to their class difference. After his wife's death, Hindley goes through a hedonistic stage but finally pulls himself out of it.

At the end of the film, perhaps the most controversial of all the differences, Hindley succeeds in fatally shooting Heathcliff and remains the owner of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff and Cathy's ghosts are then reunited.

When first introducing Heathcliff, the film also subtly suggests that Heathcliff might be Mr Earnshaw's illegitimate son and hence Cathy's half-brother.


AIP were not traditionally associated with Gothic romance, but were inspired to make the film by the success of Romeo and Juliet (1966).[2]

The movie was shot on location in Blubberhouses, Weston Hall near Otley, and Brimham Rocks. Producer Lous Heyward said at the time:

I'm the only American here. For the first time in 30 years Hollywood said to me, 'No big names, no huge publicity, just a good film that stands on its merits'. This is very encouraging except now we stand naked in judgement. It has to be really good with two to three million dollars invested. The last version, with Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Cathy, portrayed him as a regular nice guy and her as sweetness and light. That was not the truth and Hollywood now goes in for the truth. Heathcliff was a bastard and Cathy a real bitch and that's how they'll be in this film.[3]


At the box office, it failed to attract receipts and audience.

AIP had announced a sequel Return to Wuthering Heights but it was not made.[4] Neither were other adaptations of classic novels mooted by the studio, including Camille, The House of Seven Gables, and Tale of Two Cities.[5]


Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
28th Golden Globe Awards Best Original Score Michel Legrand Nominated


  1. 1 2 American International Pictures' Profit Steady: Company Says Results for Third Fiscal Quarter Were About the Same as for Year-Ago Period Wall Street Journal (1923 - Current file) [New York, N.Y] 12 Oct 1971: 37.
  2. Hello, Young Heathcliff, by A. H. Weiler. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 June 1969: D15.
  3. Ronald Faux. "The truth about Heathcliff." Times [London, England] 8 Apr. 1970: 10. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 15 June 2014.
  4. 'Play It' Director Named Murphy, Mary. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 July 1971: f13.
  5. AIP Set to Release 26 Films in 1972 Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Oct 1971: g24.
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