The Scarlet Letter (1995) Script


Metacomet, sir, without your father's friendship, none of us could have survived even our first winter.

My father should have let you... die.

You are... the only one... who comes to us... with an open heart.

But your people... have murdered... my father... with their lies.

My name is Pearl.

This is the story of my mother, Hester Prynne.

It was the year of our Lord 1666... when she arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony... filled with hope that here, at last, in this New World, would come the freedom to worship without fear or persecution.

Ah, Stonehall.

My esteemed colleague.

Thy years of toil become thee.

Thy fame precedes thee, sir. Ohh.

Governor Bellingham, may I present the Reverend Thomas Cheever.

Welcome, sir. 'Tis a long voyage.

Three months at sea... will either take away thy faith or harden it to iron.

Governor Bellingham, allow me to introduce a young woman who's been traveling with us.

Mistress Hester Prynne.

Oh. I apologize for the coarseness of my hands, mistress.

But here in the colonies, everyone must work.

I look forward to the hard work, Governor.

As we read in Psalms 92, "I will triumph in the works of Thy hands."

Ah, thou canst quote the Scriptures.

Aye, Reverend, both testaments.

My husband taught me.

You must rest, Reverend Cheever, and after, I look forward to showing you what has been accomplished. Thank you.

Then 'tis "Goodwife Prynne." Yes, yes.

But I prefer to be called "Hester". Welcome, Hester.

I wish I could have seen it when the first ones came, when it was wild and untouched.

Madam, you would do well here... to use less lace in your dressmaking.

Indeed, Reverend.

Master of us all, we give thanks for another bountiful meal... and for the newly arrived disciples who- who share it with us this night.

Amen. Amen.

So, Governor, I, for one, am impatient to know... how your mission to Metacomet fared.

Well, Metacomet is not Massasoit, Major Dunsmuir.

I believe that if we respect the agreements we made with his father, we have nothing to fear.

Lest we should grow complacent, our wise God sends us a sign.

Governor, when we sailed, your letters assured us we were at peace with the savage.

Well, I feel the days of the so-called peace... with the Wampanoags are at an end.

Major, please, we're...

We are frightening our new arrival.

We, uh-we hear much talk at home... about your success with the Praying Indians.

I must say, I'm very eager to meet your Reverend Dimmesdale and his converts.

The runts of the litter.

Dimmesdale's little treasures.

Some of us have other opinions.

Mistress Prynne, I hope you will be staying with us here... until your husband's arrival.

You're most kind, Mistress Stonehall, but I intend to find a house of my own as soon as possible.

On thine own? Why, yes.

'Tis not considered fitting for a young woman to live alone here.

But my husband has sent me on ahead to prepare a place for his arrival, so that is what I intend to do.

Mistress Prynne, the rules we live by might seem arbitrary... to a newcomer, but we have learnt the hard way that without absolute order in all matters, we cannot hope to survive here.

Rules, Mistress Prynne.

Order. Survival.

Would you have me disobey my husband?

I wou- Reverend Cheever, you might enjoy the company of my son, Brewster.

He studied divinity at college.

Harvard wasn't good enough for him, so he came back home to make his fortune-

A flock of ministers' sons all moaning the Lord's P-Prayer in their sleep.

Everybody must find his own niche.

Morning, Mistress Prynne. Good morrow.

So you've come among us intent on scandalizing the town, do you?



I confess, I'm tired of being alone... in a sea of yea-sayers.

Ha! Where shall we begin our search?

On the cliffs by the sea.

No. It's out of the question.

Why? No one's lived by the sea... since the Indians wiped out Ballinger's Point.

I say we start there first.

Well, if you've a mind to, Mistress Prynne.

Oh, Brewster, is that it?

Oh, it's beautiful!

I struggle to imagine what her life was... before she came to the New World.

Why did her husband send her on ahead... alone?

Was it a test of her loyalty or her spirit?

Or was it an aspect of his nature to set traps for people... in the hope that they would fall into them?

It's perfect!

With a cart and a good musket, I could have a home here.

Cart, horse, pitchfork, plow.

I could think of so many better things to do with these pretty hands... than grow calluses on them.

I'll need indentured labor; At least two men.

The land will need draining- You are headstrong, Mistress Prynne.

Perhaps it runs in the blood.

I'm told your father was of the same temperament.

Is it true... he was in debt t-to your husband and you were made the p-payment?

Ah, I've said something to disturb you.

I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry.

God, thou art wondrous fair.

That hurt!

Good. It will remind you not to do that again.

Faith! Prudence!

Did you hear? That Mistress Prynne has a bathing tub.

What is she, French?

Two. Will you bid two shillings?

Will you bid two? Two-and-a-half.

Come on, gentlemen. Will you bid two-and-a-half shillings?

Going up to three shillings. Do I have a bid for three shillings?

Three shillings, three shillings!

Any more now? Anyone else?

Going for three shillings. Any other bids?

All done now! Sold to the gentleman for three shillings.

Next we have this other one- Whose two.

How much time left on their indenture? 'Bout three years.

But, huh, shouldn't your husband or your father... be doing business with me here, mistress?

Is my money no good to you, sir?

Oh, your money's fine as wine in the sunshine, mistress.

If you buy them at a just price, I'll throw in this little girl with the red kerchief.

She's a slave.

Ah, but she don't speak, if that be a problem. Born that way.

Name your just price.

We best accompany ye if you're going into the forest, missus.

Don't worry, Mr. Bobbin. I shan't go far.

Mistress Prynne! Mistress Prynne!

Where are you? Mistress Prynne, where are you?

I found her! I found her!

You did not! I did too!

You did not. Did too.

Mistress Prynne, has thou forgotten it is the Sabbath?

Of course not. Forgive me.

We have come by especially to bring you to church.

Thank you so much.

Please, go on without me and I will follow at once.

Make haste. Yes, sir.

All right, girl.

Come on.


Back up. Back up. All right, then. Come on. Back up.

Come on. Come on, now. Back up.

Good morrow.

May I be of assistance?

Not from up there.

Come on.

Come on. Steady. Steady.

Can't seem to make this horse understand me.

Here. Let me try.

Come on, girl. Come on.

Come on. Back up!

Come on! Come on.

Come on, girl. Come on.

I'm afraid you're in too deep.

She'll not make it. Now let me try this.

I do hope you can get it free.

I'm already late for the service, and as it is, everyone's talking about me.

I've been away and I'm quite behind on the local gossip.

I bought the old Newberry place out on Ballinger's Point.

Then I... I owe you an apology.

I've been trespassing.

There's a place at the Point where I like to bathe.

Really? Well, I shan't charge too steep a tariff.

Come on, girl. Back up.

Oh, back up.

One, two-

Two, three.

I'm afraid this cart will be stuck here until Sabbath next... unless I can gather some hands to help.

Would you care to ride with me?

On your horse with you?

Aye. Unless you can ride.

I can ride.

You take my horse, and I'll take yours.

There's a, a shorter cut to the meeting house, but it's difficult ground.

I shall manage, sir.

Are you certain?

Just you lead the way.

Come on! Come on!

Come on! Come on.

May God be with you.

I'm sure He already is.

But aren't you coming to the-

Good Sabbath to you all.

Friends and fellow voyagers... in the greatest of all dreams, we have been singled out like Israel of old... to serve as a model.

But if we are to succeed... in building our new Jerusalem, our city on a hill, then the power of love,

yea, His divine love, must bind our hearts as one.

English and Indian, gentry and indentured, free man and slave.

And make of us an example... for all the world to marvel at and proclaim, "Here...

"is the measure of perfection.


"lives Gods own."

But we are not succeeding in that test.

We are failing in that test. And why?

Because we covet, nay, we lust after what is not ours, be it the rich land of our Indian brothers, be it for glory, for profit or for revenge.

Need I read the secrets of every heart?

Yea, I will if you want.

Yea, I will if you want. I will lay open thy secrets... before the eyes of God. I will lay open thy secrets... before the eyes of God!

"Whatsoever thou lusteth after is Mine enemy, " sayeth the Lord God, "for only I shall consume thee; Only I shall fill thee up.

"If thou failest to heed My commandments, "then My fist shall descend on thee...

"like a stone.

"And My sword shall cut thee into bloody parts.

"And even thy memory shall be sacrificed to the winds... for all time."

May God bless you, each and every one of you.

Amen. Amen.

Arthur, allow me to present a newcomer to our congregation, Mistress Roger Prynne.

Mistress Roger... - Aye, her husband, a most renowned physician, will be joining her... Reverend Dimmesdale and I have already...

I helped Mistress Prynne. Her cart got stuck in the woods.

I greatly enjoyed your sermon.

It's rare for a man so young to speak with such force of passion.

Well, for some reason, I... I felt most inspired today.

We welcome you and your husband... to our congregation.

Mother! Father! Can we play?

Ah, there you are, Hester.

Meet my friend Running Moose. He's our schoolmaster.

And I'm sure you'd like some refreshment. Why, yes.

Do you teach the English children as well, Mr. Running Moose?

They call me John or Johnny here in town.

We try our best, but the English are a bit slow-witted.

Slow-witted? Johnny's a bit of a jester, but he was our first Praying Indian. Ahh.

Ah, my best friend in the colony.

Arthur, this is Mistress... Yes, we've already met.

Excuse me.

So like home.

And yet beyond those trees, I suspect a savage land... of savage passions. All right?

Dark and untamed.

Oh, Reverend Dimmesdale, have you met our young friend?

Yes, we did. - Yes, Mistress Prynne and I traveled on the same ship.

I'm going to marry him one day. No, you're not!

I'm going to marry him, aren't I, Mistress Prynne? - Marry whom?

Rev. Dimmesdale, of course.

Short Description of the Great and Last judgment. Hmm.

Oh, well. A Platform for Church Discipline.

Oh, they're all tracts.

The Good Wife's Manual... Manual for Animal Husbandry.

I believe we've already met.

Uh, yes. I-I'm sorry. I- I didn't realize-

No, no, no. I should've announced my presence.

Wh-What are you reading?

Uh, Camus. It's by John Mil- John Milton.

Yes, I know. I-I've read it. Have you?

Well, I'm not all counterpanes and coverlets.

In every spare moment, I am reading something.

I'm the same.

I've read every book in this room, some of them several times.

Even The Good Wife's Manual for Animal Husbandry?

A most exhilarating read.

So... did you truly enjoy my sermon?

Oh, yes. It was most skillful. Clearly your congregation reverences you.

Obviously we don't come up to your London standards here on the outskirts of the world.

On the contrary, I was moved by your passion, as I've said and-


Uh, well.

When your fist struck your hand... and sliced through the air like a sword, I found myself wondering... what manner of pain lay beneath such forceful oratory.

Your tongue knows no rules, Mistress Prynne.

And if it did, Reverend, what purpose would it serve?

And here I thought comprehending God was going to be my greatest challenge.

Yes, Reverend?

This morning in the forest, why did you not say that you were married?

Why did you not say you were a minister?

Good day, Mistress Prynne.

Good morrow, Mistress Prynne!

Good morrow. Do you care for a cup of cider?

We are your neighbors, it seems.

Did you like the sermon this morning?

From where I sat, it seemed it did please thee.

I liked it very much.

I thought the young minister very- Handsome?

Harriet Hibbons.


How do you do?

Come and meet some of the others who were not invited... to the governor's little shindig.

Sally Short, Mistress Prynne.

How do you do? I was on the dock when you arrived.

Mary Rollings.

Uh, Mary don't like to speak too much.

She's only been free from the savages this half year.

And Matona, she don't trust the English, do you, dear?

Mistress Prynne.

Thank you, no. I never imbibe.

I see you've gathered some fine balm of Gilead, shepherd's purse, yarrow.

You know your simples?

Oh, I can recite Culpeper by heart.


What simples would you use to heal a bad burn?

Well, I have seen sweet fern work miracles, but Culpeper suggests blackberry and red cedar.

Well, you hear that?

Well, I feel quite fortunate.

My husband has a very large library, and I was able to school myself.

How do you like our new Jerusalem?

Sober enough for you?


Sober enough.

What I miss is the dancing.

Dancing? When first we came, we'd dance around the maypole.

Feast days, we'd sing bawdy songs.

People weren't afraid to play the fool.

We'd teach the bears to dance.

Nowadays everybody's getting more sour-faced and ponderous.

And a whipping post stands where the maypole used to be.

Well, there be a few of us who haven't forgotten how to laugh, eh, girl?

It's been such a pleasure meeting you all.

I'm sorry I must take my leave, but I best be on my way.

I would not want to be stuck in the wilds at night.

How strange that sounds to me.

The wilds at night are my natural territory, particularly when there's a full moon.

Do you try to frighten me with this witch talk?

Not so, Mistress Prynne.

But I can see what others cannot.

It be a curse, to be sure, but I know the hearts of men.

And what does my heart tell you?

You're a most comely woman, Mistress Prynne.

But let a man tremble who wins the hand of a maid, but possesses not the full passion of her heart.

My husband has nothing to fear.

Good day, Mistress Hibbons.

Good day, Mistress Prynne.

Oh, good day, Goody Gotwick.

I've brought these for Rev. Dimmesdale.

The Reverend be occupied with his work, missus.

Leave them books on that table. I'll be sure he gets them.

Good morrow, Reverend Dimmesdale.

Oh, good morrow, Mistress Prynne.

Knowing how you hunger for new reading, I've brought you some books from my husband's library.

Hmm. How courteous of you.


I must apologize for my forthrightness on Sabbath last.

I've earned more than a few reprimands in my life for speaking too bluntly.

Well, I owe an apology too.

Um, I-I can't understand why I took such offense... to such an innocent comment.

I- I have wondered... how you were able to, uh, see so deeply... into my nature.

Perhaps I'm a witch.

I must be keeping you from your chores.

Oh. There. Thank you for the books, Mistress Prynne.

Good day. Oh.

I'm sorry. My hands are covered in ink.

I've been, uh, hovered over my translations all day.

Translations? Aye.

I'm attempting to, um.

Translate the Bible into the local Indian language, Algonquin.

What an ambitious undertaking.

But I'm told the Indians don't want to be guided by our Bible, that war with them is inevitable.

Some think that way, but they're wrong.

It's just that the Indians, having been born from a certain liberty, they take not easily to the bridle and bit.

No man should.


What? What?

You keep putting ink on your face.

I do? I'm sor-

There you are.

I do hope you enjoy the books.

Uh, d-Thank you.

Good day.


'Tis only a bathing tub, not a toy of Satan.

Mistress Prynne.

Reverend Dimmesdale.

You frightened me.

Uh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.

No. It's a wonderful surprise.

It's beautiful. Ah, yes, and frightening.

Just as Eden must have been.

So untouched.

Does it not cry out with its promise... that here everything can begin anew?

I brought back your books.

You couldn't have read them all in four days.

No, I did. I did. I read most of them twice.

Thank you.

You're welcome.


Hester, I- I'm not the man I seem.

I've lived in this township my whole life, my purpose clear.

But now I would risk everything- my life, my ministry, my soul- just to spend a few moments alone with you.

God help me, Hester, I love thee.

God help me, I love thee too.

Oh, God, have we lost our way?


I dreamed of thee speaking thy heart.

I have prayed for it even as I have dreaded it.

Was I alive before I laid eyes on thee?

What shall we do?

I know not.

Say something to end it, for I-I have not the power.

Nor I.


We could be hanged for this.

I- I've put you in too much danger.

And I must end it by walking away now and never speaking with you again.

Go, then.

Do as you promised.

Throughout the long summer, Mistress Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale... avoided each other at all costs.

Mistress Prynne rarely ventured into town... and the Reverend escaped into the wilds with only the Indians... and the faithful Johnny Sassamon for company.

And so the colony held its annual election day as usual, no one the wiser that there existed among them... two hearts struggling against a love...

- that grew stronger with each passing day. Company, halt!

Johnny Sassamon, Reverend, Intrepid.

What's he saying, Arthur?

The Tarrantines attacked an English ship, the Intrepid.

All were massacred.


Dr. Roger Prynne.

Mistress Prynne.

Uh, I'm here as your minister.

Come in.

There was an attack, an Indian attack, on one of our ships.

They say that, uh.

All aboard were massacred.

I regret to be the- the one to bring you this sad news.

I'll-I'll leave you to your mourning. No.

Are you absolutely certain none survived?

They say that the tide washed away the bodies.

Oh, God forgive me.

I have prayed for so long to be set free. No.

You did not cause his death, Hester.

God took your husband.

Yes, but was it in answer to my prayers? Does He work like that?


If, in His eyes, there was no other way that we could be together.

I must know what the law is.

The period of mourning- How long must one wait?

One month, six months, what?

Well, in cases where there's no absolute proof of death,

seven years must pass before we are free to be seen in public.

Seven years?


Release me or the army will follow.

Were the Indians cruel to you, Mary?

After my little one died, they treated me real fair and square.

If truth be told, what's cruel is how ye folks have treated me since I come home.

I didn't do nothin' that wasn't forced upon me.

Just the thought of being taken by a savage... makes me sick to my stomach.

Well, they do it on the backs of their horses, riding lickety-split across the land.

Hester, you all right?

Yes, I'm well. Just tired.

Mary's right.

You call them savages?

I could tell you a thing or two about your late husband... before he tied the knot with you.

You stupid slut.

Harold would never have had nothin' to do with no whore.

Oh, you think not?

I've even seen one of your windy ministers... pokin' an in jun girl.

And standin' on a Bible so he could roger her better.

They always said the Scriptures should uplift you.

I refuse to be in the same room with those who would mock the Holy Book.

Well, well.

She'll not be coming back soon. Good riddance to her.

We Quakers believe that the Scriptures be not religion in itself, but only the ceremony and history of it.

I agree.

For are not the laws of men but the imagination of mortals... and our inner spirit the true voice from heaven?

Hester, I pray you're not suggesting you talk directly to- to the Deity?

Don't you know that only well-paid Bible-thumpers can do that?

Have a care, child, or they'll be talking of thee the way they talk of me.

Well, I know some consider it blasphemous to say this, but I do talk to God.

I have since I was a small child.

And He answers me.

Mrs. Roger Prynne.

By order of the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, you are ordered to appear before the elders and magistrates... at 8:00 tomorrow morn.

Do not be tardy.

Mistress Prynne, these gentlemen lay a charge of heresy against you.

Did you tell the others that the laws of men are but the imagination of mortals?

It is the meetings you call heresy?

Lascivious talk of fornication with savages;

Fallen women telling blasphemous lies about good citizens.

This is what comes when there is no qualified man present... to guide these women in their untutored chatterings.

Sir, if the discourse of women is "untutored chatterings, " why then does the Bible tell us that women shall be the teachers of women?

Hester, we ask that you cease these meetings.

No, sirs, I will not stop the meetings. Arthur. Please join us.

I've just returned from fishing, sir.

You may thank me to remain where I am.

Very well. Be seated. Let's call our first witness.

Is it truly of import?

Yes. Yes, it is of great consequence.

Very well. Call your witnesses.

Goody Gotwick.

Stand up, please, Goody.

Now, you revealed to my wife something most disturbing.

Tell me, what does it mean when... a woman... vomits... in the morning hours, and vomits on more than one occasion in the morning hours?

I only saw her the one time.

Yes? And?

Um, twas Goody Mortimer saw her get sick in the market.

Are you with child, Mistress?

Answer your betters, woman!

Do you carry a bastard child in your womb?


Who is the father?

You are an innocent next to the one who would hide behind your skirts.

We would hang that fornicator by the neck.

I will not reveal the name, sir.

I will tell you his name.

His name is Lucifer.

His name is Lust.

His name is Legion!


Gentlemen, what do you hope to accomplish with this?

You know very well there's no law against pregnancy. - But there is against adultery.

It would only be adultery if her husband would prove to be alive.

"Answer your betters, woman!

"Are you carrying a bastard child?"

We could incarcerate her under adultery, and the meetings will stop.

Governor, if you knew the name of this man, would you still place Hester Prynne behind bars?

Has she confessed the name to you? I've confessed nothing.

He knows nothing of my personal affairs! Give us the truth!

He speaks as my pastor to spare me your harsh hand, but I fear not your punishments.

I love and honor the man who has fathered this child.

And say what you will, he is my true husband for life, and I shall furnish you with no information which might cause him harm.

Very well, Mistress, you leave me no choice.

You are under arrest.

It's Hester!

God forgives you!

And there's your new Jerusalem!

Just let me have a moment alone with the woman, man!

I'm sure I'd draw the name from her.

Very well, Arthur. You shall have your chance, I promise.


I have considered all the arguments and I have decided... that Arthur must be allowed to speak to Mistress Prynne alone. - No, no, no.

Hester Prynne, place your hand on the good book... and let us pray.

Let us pray.

Why did you not tell me?

I was afraid.

I thought if I worked hard I would miscarry.

I must go to Bellingham with the truth.

No, you must not. You are a saint to these people; They will hang you-

Then I must hang than to allow you to suffer in my stead.

They've no case against me. When they're tired of making their point, they'll release me.

Hester, I know Stonehall.

You've challenged him, and he will not release you until you are humbled and have recanted your sins.

Do you believe we've sinned?

Uh... I know not.

What happened between us had a consecration of its own.

We felt it so. Have you forgotten? I've not forgotten!

Oh, Arthur, I know you want to speak out.

Everything in your nature cries out for it.

But you risk your own ruin and deny me my right to stand up to this hypocrisy.


If I need you to speak, I will tie this handkerchief from the window.

I love thee, woman.

But your strength frightens me.

I'll do what you ask.


God be with you, Hester Prynne.

I'm sure He already is.

Gentlemen, Mistress Prynne... has been in that place for over five months... without any legal justification.

Even in backward Plymouth they regard our treatment of this woman as barbaric!

I would like nothing more than to free her, Arthur.

At home I receive no peace on this issue.

The people have watched us go to her week after week, caps in hand, only to be turned away.

The woman is unbending, unrepentant.

She is very fortunate we have not had her beaten publicly.

I'm surprised at you, Rev. Cheever; You came here a man of reason.

I came here, sir, expecting to find some semblance of order.

Instead I find a den of factiousness.

Now, sir, if you do not stem this dissent, my wife and I have decided to return to England... and to take all our parishioners with us.

If only she would give us a small sign of contrition, Arthur.

Had it been up to him, my father would have ended it... and revealed the truth of my origins.

No visitors! Stand aside!

But, bound by my mother's wish, he could not. This is an innocent woman!

No visitors!

This is an abomination!

He went every day to see her: Every day he was refused.

His eye ever on that window... for her sign that it was time for him to come forward with the truth.

Had there been flashes of Prynne's unstable nature before in England, no one knows.

But now, freed from Puritan society, he was with increasing regularity seized by spirits so powerful... they were terrifying even to the Indians.

Forgive me, Lord, for I have turned from Thee, my heavenly Father.

Forgive me.

Bring me back to Thy bosom.

God's teeth, child, how could they leave you thus?

Oh, Harriet, thank God you're here.

Six months and not one visitor.

Now, now, some of us came, my dear, but we were turned away.

That slave of yours came every day. How quick are the pains?

They're not stopping.

Here, now. Take a sip of this.

I warrant you won't refuse my cider this time.

Rev. Dimmesdale tried all ways to get you set at liberty. -

Another? Yes.

All right, my dear. There, now, breathe deep, breathe deep.

I'm here. Hold onto me. Good girl. Easy, easy. -

Now, let me see. Let me see.

Allís well. Allís as it should be, now. It's close.

It's very close. Come, my dear, it's time.

Up you sit. There's a good girl.

Move down a little. Good.

Now this child is ready to be born. We've work to do.


I did not think they'd keep me here so long.

Oh. Well, I'll say this:

You must have a will of iron.

But when you take on the men, it be to the death.

Oh! Easy! All right, my dear.

Now, now, breathe deep. Chin down.

Bear down hard.

More. And harder. Good girl!

Good girl. Good. That's it, that's it.

Easy, easy. Easy, easy.

Good, good. Ohh! Ohhh.

Are you sure God's not punishing me?

To be sure, He's punishing you, woman.

He be giving you a child.

It's coming! Now, gently, gently.

The head is coming I see it. Ohh! Yes! Yes!

The head is through!

Now, easy, easy. Easy.

We've got the shoulders!

Ohh! Yes! Yes! She's here!

Ohh, thank you, God.

Oh, yes.

Oh, little Pearl.

Yes. Yes, my-

She's here.

Oh, she's here.

Sit there, Mistress.

Proceed, Reverend.

I shall have them fetch fresh clothes for you and the baby.

I bring good news.

I have prevailed upon the governor.

You are to be freed.

But by law... you will be brought to the scaffold... for reprimand.

Hester, whatever is said, please... be as contrite as your conscience will permit.

If not for my sake, then for the babe's.

I beg you, do not anger them any furth-

I come to baptize the babe.

I have died not seeing you.

I came every day.

I baptize this child...


In the name of the Father... and the Son...

and the Holy Ghost.

May the Lord bless thee... and care for thee... and watch over thee.


Freeing this woman... will be an invitation to every wife to defy her husband;

Every child its parent.

No, no, she should be released.


Horace, you don't put her in the prison.

You put the prison in her... so that each time someone sets eyes on her, her sin will be marked into her soul afresh.

Cunningly contrived, my dear.

Make way in the king's name.

Our blessing on the righteous colony of Massachusetts... where iniquity is dragged into the sunlight.

Know, all men, by these present, that Mistress Roger Prynne... has been ordered to bear punishment... for the crimes of fornication and adultery.

You bring shame upon this good community!

If it be determined at a later date that her husband be still alive, she may face a more severe penalty, which is to be hanged by the neck until dead.

Pray, silence... for His Excellency the Governor!

Hester Prynne, though you show no modesty in your apparel, yet you have a chance still to repent your sins.

Yes, Hester, repent!

Child, do you not believe that you have sinned?

I believe I have sinned in your eyes.

But who's to know if God shares your views?

Woman, transgress not against the limits of heaven's mercy. -

Good Master Dimmesdale, you are her pastor.

Speak to her, for all our sakes!

Soften her, her hardness, her obstinacy!

' Speak! ' Speak!

Listen to the reverend!

Speak to the woman, my brother.

Exhort her to confess the truth.

Hester Prynne, you hear what these good men say... and you can see the accountability under which I labor.

For your soulís peace,

I charge thee, speak out the name... of your fellow sinner.

Be not silent... from some mistaken pity or tenderness for him.

For, believe me, if he could step down from a high place... and stand there beside you on your pedestal of shame, it would be better... than to carry a guilty heart through life.

What can your silence do for him...

except to tempt him, compel him, as it were, to add hypocrisy to sin?


She will not speak.

In the name of the Lord, name him! Name him!

Speak! Speak! What is his name?

Who might he be?

Very well. Beadle.

Mistress, if you do not speak out the name, you must wear upon your bodice... this symbol of your sinful fornication.

Heed not this final warning... and from this day forward you will be a pariah, cut off, shunned and reviled by every man, woman and child in this town.

Why do you wait? Put it on.

For 'tis not a badge of my shame, but your own.

Unrepentant whore!

Now is she without...

What do you want?

Have I changed so much, my beloved, that you would slay me... even as I resurrect myself from the dead?



Was I ever unkind to you?

Did I not love thee?

Did I not set thee above all womankind?

Are you not bound to me by sacred oath?

Or has this new land turned thee into a heathen?

Lay down our bed, wilt thou, wife?

Pray for thy sins, Hester Prynne.

Beg the Lord to forgive thy corruption.

Pray, and I will wash thee white as snow.

White as snow, my love.

Oh, yes. White as snow.

White as snow.



Oh, thank God you're here. Hester, why are you taking this risk?

I had to warn you; My husband-

Oh, Arthur, he's alive.

Oh, dear God.


Now we will hang for certain.

Why would your husband show up at this very moment if he was not God's dark messenger... sent to punish us?

Arthur, you must leave this place without us.

Please. I cannot bear to see you trapped here under his watchful eye forever.

Hester, I cannot leave. I must stay and watch over you and Pearl.

No! You don't know him.

He will wait for us to betray each other... with the slightest glance or the merest gesture.

Please, you must go.

This is God's punishment... because we tried to run from His will.

I will not say farewell, Hester, for God will watch over you.

And so will I.

Kiss Pearl for me... each night.

'Tis easy to see the mother's part in her.

Is it beyond the philosopher's research, I wonder, to analyze her nature... and from its make and mold to give a shrewd guess as to the father?

What are your expectations, sir?

I do not expect your heart to return to me quickly, but I hope one day you will draw me again into your heart's innermost chambers.

God help me, love has forced my heart to open to another.

Watch your tongue, woman.

It is this phantom lover who puts these words into your mouth.

Where is he, woman? Is his kiss still wet on your lips, on your breast?

I demand to know! - If I could spend six months in a cold jail... and not tell those iron men, what makes you think I will tell you now?

I have grown strong through these trials, sir, and I am not the child you married!

Why not announce yourself openly and cast me off at once?

No. No.

I seek no vengeance against you, child.

But the man lives who has wronged us both.

He bears no letter of infamy wrought into his garment, but I shall read it... on his heart.

Breathe one word to him of my true identity... and you will both hang.

And if you're foolish enough to attempt an escape, you'll be easily tracked and found. Easily.

From the savages...

I have learned patience, Hester Prynne.

Mmm. Goody Gotwick, thank you.

Reverend Dimmesdale, allow me to introduce our newest boarder, Dr. Chilling- Chillingworth.

Chillingworth. Yes. Yes.

Good day, Reverend.

Good day, sir. Mmm.

What, uh, brings you to our colony, Doctor?

I'm a physician, sir, that would cleanse the ills of the community.

Have I said something strange?

N- No. No, it's just, uh-

Oh, I'm amazed.

We have prayed... for a skilled physician.

I see you're translating the Bible into Algonquin.

A most difficult tongue to master.

If I can be of help, Reverend, I am quite fluent in Algonquin.

Uh, fluent?

Oh, yes. I was a prisoner of the Tarrantine.

When I spoke improperly, I was whipped.

To be certain, I learned quite rapidly.

How were you captured?

I was working my farm in Virginia.

They came, they killed my wife Eleanor, God rest her soul, and our infant son, and sold me into captivity.

Well, uh-

Well, it's a wonder that you're not consumed with, uh, bitterness and despair.

No, no, no. In truth, sir, I am in debt to the Indians.

Some say they are savages, but I find true savagery to reside... elsewhere.

Mrs. Roger Prynne.

Mistress Prynne.

And what is your duty, boy?

To follow you around in every public place, Mistress.

Well, at least they'll make a path for me.

Whore! God will punish you, sinner!

JezebeH You're not welcome here!

Begone, Hester Prynne!

She's a whore!

Soap, please. Three pieces.

Although he wore no outward symbol of his shame, my father bore his own scarlet letter on the very bosom of his soul.

The pain of their separation must have affected us all, for I was indeed a troublesome child.

His heart aching for my mother, my father sought to fill his loneliness in the wilds with Johnny... as they struggled to keep alive their dream... of building a bridge between the English and the Indians.

Johnny, why are they so close to town?

They say that our people have fallen asleep, so they must remain awake for all of us.

I'm worried, Arthur.

Is war coming?

The great experiment is not working, is it?

Yes, he's right.

If there is a war, how do we stop our Praying Indians... from rising up and slitting our throats as we sleep?

Faith, Thomas, faith.

I know what will stop them.

Arthur's friendship with Johnny Sassamon.

Johnny would never betray Arthur.

He worships him as Peter worshipped Jesus.

Gentlemen. Doctor.

If there is a true war, God help us all, because neither we nor the savages will survive it.

I see the governor has less of an appreciation for signs than ye, his Godly advisors.

It is not always easy.

Strangely, the same thing happened in Virginia.

Before the attack, there were signs that went unheeded.

Oh? And what manner of signs?

The bad winter; The crop failures;

Far too many Quakers and foreigners in the town;

Some minor elements of witchcraft, et cetera, et cetera.

Exactly. Exactly.

Our first sign was that matter of Hester Prynne... and her women's meetings.

And after that, the severe winter, the failed crops.

You see. Sir.

My colleague has feared from the start that in the matter of Mistress Prynne, witchcraft was involved.

Mmm. Then why, in all this time, have you not taken the proper measures to cleanse your colony?

What measures do you speak of, sir?

Did you examine the women present at those meetings?

Have you queried the midwife... or inspected the child for the witch's marks?

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.

"For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

"Thou anointeth my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

"I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

The babe's clean at present.

Mistress, we shall leave your child with you for the present.

But you must assure us it will be raised a Christian.

Yes, yes. Ooh.

Yes. Yes.


I've been your friend today, child, but it cannot always be so.


For inside me, I grow more wretched by the day.

I yearn so much for thee.

And I fear I might destroy the whole world to win thee back.

Come now and tell old Harriet what's troubling you.

I never imagined... how cruel and cunning their punishment could be.

Stonehall and Cheever stopping to preach at me on the streets.

The people pointing and shouting, even the children.

And that horrible drummer boy following me everywhere.

Perhaps it was all for naught.

I wonder if existence as a woman is worthwhile at all, even for the happiest of women.

Courage, child.

Take heart. At least you've known what it is to love.

But what if I've repaid that love by destroying him?

What if... everything I believed so strongly was a lie,

vain and selfish?

Prynne's punishments were succeeding in their cruel work.

The seasons ran their course.

The distance between them was impassable.

My mother took the terrible risk of writing to my father, reminding him to hold steadfast in their love and keep his silence, aware that Prynne's subtle but constant presence... was causing an inner torment that threatened my father's very soul.

As for Prynne, his lust for revenge began to feed on itself, so that he hungered for more.

Good morrow, Mituba.

What a pleasant day for a ride.

Oh, Mituba.

You're renowned in town for your loyalty to your mistress, and now I see why.

Was your dry lunch a communication from her lover?

You know, I have the power to arrest you as an accomplice to adultery... and bring you before the magistrates for questioning.

And since you are a slave, they might well whip you to death.

Easy! Easy! EasY!

I only want to help the woman we both love... to free herself from the grasp of a fiend.

Oh, dear Lord, this is it!

He made you strip naked before him, hmm?

Totally naked?

Was there a presence in the room?

Now, think, think!

He might have come in one of his many disguises.

Did he come as a bird?

Ah, a blackbird!

Was the bird black?

Oh, God, I feel the presence of Lucifer!

Save yourself, child, before it is too late! Gentlemen, phrase.

Please, gentlemen, please! Enough. Enough.


Go home, Mituba.

You've been a wondrous help.

Commend us to your mistress.

Go home.

So there is a malignancy to be cut out here.

But what kind of witness will a slave be in court?

The bird, obviously, is Harriet Hibbons.

What is it, Pearl?

Forgive me, Hester.

Harriet! - Yours was the first place I thought of to hide.

What is it?

Th-The militia, they've broken into my house.

They're looking for me in the woods.

I've been named... as a witch.

In the name of God.


Hold here. Yes, sir!

What's the meaning of this intrusion, Major?

Stand aside, woman. We know the witch is in here.

There's no one inside but myself, my child and Mistress Mituba.

So, unless you have a warrant, be gone.

Reverend Dimmesdale.

What's happening, Major?

It appears that we've cornered ourselves a witch.

Hmm? Here in Hester Prynne's Cottage.

Well, if there is a witch inside the house, Major, I'm sure I'll find her.


Front and back. One at the door. Magistrate?

Sir. Hup!

Pearlís grown tall.

She is an elf. Willful.

Dear God, Hester.

It's been so long.

You're thin.

Are you hiding someone, Hester?

Why do you-

Why are you risking... further anger from the elders?

Because Mistress Hibbons is no witch... and she's committed no crime beyond speaking her mind.

Well, if she is innocent, I assure you no harm will befall her.


After all that has happened, how can you still trust these iron men?

Do you not see what is happening?

Last month they brought Sally Short in for questioning.

They held her for two days. Last week it was Mary Railings.

They were just questioning them!

What is the crime in that? The crime is they had done nothing!

Do you not see that this is all part of some malevolence?

What has become of you?

God, woman!

By order of your demands, I've given up everything I hold sacred.

I'm in hell!

In the eye of the enemy, your husband, who lectures at my side day and night... and in the eye of every parishioner who comes to me to unburden their soul, I'm a pollution, woman! I'm a lie!


They are the pollution. They are the lie.

But you are allowing them to destroy everything that is good in you!

Oh, what has happened to the man I love?

Does he not still live inside thee?

Our love, woman, was a folly.

And the voice that we heard was a false one... and we have been justly punished for listening to it!

Coward, bestow yourself with Courage!

Hold, woman!

What have I become?

To have betrayed the only person on earth who had shown her kindness-

What could feel worse than that? Mituba.

Poor mute Mituba.

When Prynne summoned her, she wanted only to undo the harm... she might have caused her mistress.

Peace in this house!

Peace, I say. Peace!

You find these proceedings humorous, Mistress Hibbons?

Do you expect me to take 'em seriously?

Seeing a bunch of grown men poking around my private parts, looking for witch's marks?

The slave Mituba- Peace, I say! Peace!

I'm afraid a witness, the slave Mituba, has been found dead.


Governor, you see? I told you she was a witch!

Mistress Hibbons is a witch!

She is a witch! Witch! Witch!

Have you lost all reason? Who gave her the right to speak?

There is no witchcraft here! This is murder!

Guards, restrain this woman! Hang the witch!

Satan is not at work here among the women!

But if he is here, then perhaps he is at work here among you men.

Hear Satan speak.

Governor! Governor!

Governor, I have evidence to render.

As you know, Mistress Hibbons... midwived Mistress Prynne's... ba by Pearl.

Want a sweet, Pearl? Bastard!

No! Yes, my Pearl.

How I wish you were my girl.

Poor fatherless child.

Now, would you like to learn a game?

Now, yes. Now, do what I do.

If I pinch my nose.

You too-very good.

Very good. Now.

I pull up my shirt and show my tummy-tum-tum.

Now you show me your tummy-tum-tum.

Lift up your shirt.

Behold, the witch's mark.

No! No!

Behold the devilís own child!


The devilís own child! Get thee behind me, Satan!

The devilís own child!


Give me that child!

Ham.) her!

Damn your child!

Reverend, do something!

Hibbons is innocent.

We cannot let this innocent woman hang. Innocent?

Since you first spoke to me about that Prynne woman, everything we've dreamed and toiled for in the name of the Lord has been threatened!

I've heard enough! Did you listen in there?

Faction, argument, dissent.

That is the work of Satan.

The town was in an uproar, and so my father risked one last meeting with my mother, convinced that if they were going to hang Harriet, it would not be long before my mother and I would be seized... and hung in our turn.

I had to speak out. I couldn't stop myself.

Damn your husband, Hester.

You and Pearl must go into hiding... tonight.

I cannot. I cannot run.

What are you saying?

Forgive me.

Whatever happens, promise me you will always look after Pearl.

Oh, God, woman. How much further must you take this?

As far as my strength will take me.

If Harriet is to hang, then I must hang with her.

I will ask the other women to stand with us.

They cannot hang us all.

Hester, are we never to know a life together?

I love thee.

God help me, I love thee and I always will.

I will always love thee.

Lord God, we stood before Thee naked once... and now we stand before Thee naked again as a family.

God, Thou hast given me this as a gift, and I will not, not give it up!

Not while I have the strength!


Evening, Mistress P-Prynne.

Expecting someone else? No, uh-

Did you not call out for Arthur? The only Arthur I know is Dimmesdale.

You misunderstood me. I said, are there... persons there?

I should've guessed long ago.

You naughty girl.

So you fucked a minister, huh?

Oh, God, how my father will savor that priceless morsel!


What'd he do to you, huh?

Did he suck your breasts?

Did he lick you?

Where did he lick you, Hester?

Show me!

God, how I've wanted to poke you!

All the nights you came into my dreams... to bewitch me, and all the while... giving it to another...

Damn you, witch! Get out!

Do up your britches and get out.

You bastard, get out!

I shall enjoy watching you and your minister hang!

Open up, Doctor!

There are matters between us that we must discuss immediately!

So, Arthur Dimmesdale.

Thy will be blindly done. Thy will be blindly done.

He's been murdered!

Call out the militia. Call out the guards.

It's a sign! The Lord has sent us a sign!

Get the Praying Indians! Lock 'em up! We have strayed!

See how He punishes us!

It's Brewster! The savages have killed him!

My son! My son!

They've cut him into pieces, the heathen bastards!

Lock up the Praying Indians... before they murder us in our beds!

Get the Praying Indians!

No! Get into your compound, you savages!

Praying Indians into the compound! Get in with ya!

Come on!

We are loyal to you!

Protect the children before it's too late!

Mistress Prynne, by order of the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, you are hereby placed under arrest for the acts of heresy...

Stop this! It was one of us killed Brewster!

It was one of us! I have proof I.


Johnny, run! Metacomet's braves by the river. I've seen them.

Tell Metacomet to come and save his people! Run, man!

Here come the witches.

Stand guard' Don't look in their eyes!

Open the cells!

Never mind the child. Pearl!

Get in! Get in, woman! Pearl!

Worry not, Mistress Prynne. I'll see she's raised up to fear the Lord.

Let it be for the highest court.

We humbly submit to Thy will.

Open up, murderer!

It is God's will that they should hang!

People of New England!

There is no witchcraft here!

If we hang these women, then what have we become?

Who are we to condemn... on God's behalf?

I love... this woman!

I am... the father of her child!

And in God's eyes, I am her husband.

Now, if you must... hang someone... to appease your... your anger... and your fear, then hang me!

Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him! Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him! Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him! Hang him! Hang him!

Hang him! Hang him! Hang him!


Where's Pearl? She's in the armory.



Where's my child?

She's in the meeting house. Come on!

You are free, my people!

Go back to Metacomet! Go back to the forest!

Bellingham will do anything to conceal this madness from England.

He has sworn to me that he will remove the letter... and make thee a public apology.

How close they are, love and hate.

We are no less bound by one than the other.

Rest in peace, Roger Prynne.

This letter has served a purpose, though not the one they had intended.

So why would I stay here?

To be accepted by them? To be tamed by them?

There's no perfect world, Hester. No, not perfect.

But we came here to make a new one.

And for Pearlís sake,

I must do just that.


Come along.


Look at me.

If I look at you, I won't be able to leave.

Then leave.

Brave the wilds.

But, Hester, I'll not let you, in God's name, go without me.

They're watching us.

In the faraway Carolinas, my parents were, at last, to find a measure of the happiness... that had been denied them for so long.

My father died before I reached my teens.

Some say that was a punishment.

My mother never remarried nor loved another.

Some say that was a punishment.

As for me, I do not see it that way.

My parents shared a love like no other.

I know the spirit of that love lives within me... and will live within my children forever.

Who is to say what is a sin in God's eyes?