Up 3,177 this week

The Silver Chalice (1954)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  20 December 1954 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 4.6/10 from 900 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 14 critic

A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver and sculpt around its rim the faces of the disciples and Jesus himself. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to... See full summary »



(novel), (written for the screen by)
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 14 Oct 2011
a list of 45 titles
created 26 Feb 2012
a list of 39 titles
created 16 Feb 2013
a list of 40 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 24 titles
created 4 days ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Silver Chalice (1954)

The Silver Chalice (1954) on IMDb 4.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Silver Chalice.
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers,

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Paul Newman, Lita Milan, John Dehner
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An ambitious young executive chooses a loveless marriage and an unfulfilling personal life in exchange for a successful Wall Street career.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Myrna Loy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An immature young man from Middle America grows to manhood after a cross-country journey and his military service in World War I

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Richard Beymer, Diane Baker, Corinne Calvet
Winning (1969)
Certificate: M Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Frank Capua is a rising star on the race circuit who dreams of winning the big one--the Indianapolis 500. But to get there he runs the risk of losing his wife Elora to his rival, Luther ... See full summary »

Director: James Goldstone
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Robert Wagner
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Accused barn burner and con man Ben Quick arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The fashion industry and Paris provide the setting for a comedy surrounding the mistaken impression that Joanne Woodward is a high-priced call girl. Paul Newman is the journalist interviewing her for insights on her profession.

Director: Melville Shavelson
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Thelma Ritter
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Up and coming, young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he ... See full summary »

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Paul Newman, Barbara Rush, Alexis Smith
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When 5 allied generals are captured in Italy in WW II, it is a propaganda nightmare for the Allies. The generals are all 1 star and refuse to take orders from each other in order to plan an... See full summary »

Director: Jack Smight
Stars: Paul Newman, Sylva Koscina, Andrew Duggan
WUSA (1970)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A radio station in the Deep South becomes the focal point of a right-wing conspiracy.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Perkins
Pocket Money (1972)
Western | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Broke and in debt, an otherwise honest cowboy gets mixed up in some shady dealings with a crooked rancher.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Paul Newman, Lee Marvin, Strother Martin
Harper (1966)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Lew Harper, a cool private investigator, is hired by a wealthy California matron to locate her kidnapped husband.

Director: Jack Smight
Stars: Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Four sisters in New Zealand fall for four U.S. soldiers en route to the Pacific theater in WWII

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Jean Simmons, Paul Newman, Joan Fontaine


Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Hampden ...
Alexander Scourby ...
David J. Stewart ...
Herbert Rudley ...
Aaron Ben Joseph
Helena as a Girl
Peter Reynolds ...
Basil as a Boy


A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver and sculpt around its rim the faces of the disciples and Jesus himself. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to complete the task. Meanwhile, a nefarious interloper is trying to convince the crowds that he is the new Messiah by using nothing more than cheap parlor tricks. Written by Dan Weckerly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


EVERY BREATHLESS MOMENT OF THOMAS B. COSTAIN'S BEST-SELLER! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der silberne Kelch  »

Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(magnetic prints)| (RCA Sound System) (optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film received a huge "premiere" in Saranac Lake, NY. The premiere was a "prize" to the town that sold the most "Christmas Seals" in a countrywide competition. The weekend consisted of a parade with the director and stars of the movie (with the exception of Paul Newman, who did not attend), and a gala premiere at the Pontiac Theatre in Saranac Lake hosted by Art Linkletter. See more »


(at around 1 min) Basil and Deborra enter the set from behind the cut, painted, and layered scenery, completely spoiling the intended trompe l'oeil effect of rooftop domes. See more »


Saint Peter: [last lines, Peter is speaking about the Silver Chalice to Basil and Deborra, and he utters his lines in the tone of a heroic speech] It will be restored, but for years and for hundreds of years, it will lie in darkness; where, I know not. When it is brought out into the light again there will be great cities, and mighty bridges and towers higher than the tower of Babel. It will be a world of evil and long bitter wars. In such a world as that the little cup will look very lonely. But it may be ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

and introducing Paul Newman See more »


Referenced in Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Basil Faulty
27 January 2010 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

The historical epics which were so popular in the fifties and early sixties frequently had a religious theme. Some were based, not always faithfully, on stories from the Bible ("The Ten Commandments", "Solomon and Sheba", "Esther and the King"), while others tried to convey a Christian message indirectly. Thus the central character of "Spartacus" is treated as a metaphorical Christ-figure, and "The Egyptian" draws parallels between Christianity and the monotheistic religion of Atenism which briefly flourished under the heretical Pharaoh Akhnaten. "The Silver Chalice" is one of a number of films which deal with the early days of the Christian church and its persecution by the Roman emperors. The stories told by such films were normally fictitious, but were set against a background of historical fact. The most famous film of this type is "Ben Hur", but others include "The Robe" and its sequel "Demetrius and the Gladiators", "Quo Vadis?" and "The Fall of the Roman Empire".

The plot of "The Silver Chalice" is essentially similar to that of "The Robe", which was made the previous year. Both concerned a sacred relic of Christ which is being sought by the enemies of Christianity. In "The Robe" this relic is the robe which Christ wore at His crucifixion; in "The Silver Chalice" it is the cup which He used at the Last Supper. (This cup has become known as the Holy Grail, especially in the context of the Arthurian legends, but this name is not used in the film).

The central character is Basil, a young Greek craftsman from Antioch who is wrongly sold into slavery, rescued by Saint Luke, and commissioned by him to make a silver chalice to house the sacred cup. The chalice is to have the faces of the disciples and Jesus himself sculpted around its rim, and Basil travels to Jerusalem and to Rome to complete this task. The cup, however, is being sought by Simon Magus, the villain of the story, who hopes to found his own religion and who uses conjuring tricks in an attempt to convince people that he is the new Messiah. The film also deals with Basil's relationships with two women, the pagan prostitute Helena, who is also Simon's mistress, and the Christian convert Deborah, the granddaughter of Joseph of Arimathea.

"The Silver Chalice" was Paul Newman's first film, but seldom can someone who went on to become a major star have made so unpromising a debut. Newman is totally wooden and unconvincing; there is no hint here of the great actor he was to become only a few years later. He himself apparently loathed the film; when it was later broadcast on television in 1966, he is said to have taken out an advertisement in a Hollywood trade paper apologising for his performance, and asking people not to watch it. Predictably, this achieved precisely the opposite of what he was hoping for; his advertisement aroused interest in the film and the broadcast received unusually high ratings. He even allegedly called the film "the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s", even though this was the decade that brought us the likes of Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

To be fair to him, his is by no means the only below par acting performance in the film. Probably the best comes from Jack Palance, a splendidly over-the-top villain as Simon, and the teenage Natalie Wood is charming as Helena in the days when she was still an innocent young slave-girl. Virginia Mayo, however, her good looks hidden behind some weird make-up, fails to make the older Helena sufficiently seductive or alluring. Pier Angeli looks lovely as Deborah, but her acting is hampered by her thick foreign accent.

The acting is not the only problem with the film. It is overlong, the plot is often confusing, and the dialogue frequently has the artificial, stilted flavour common to many Biblical epics. (The scriptwriters seem to have imagined that a film on a religious theme needed to be written in something resembling the language of the King James Bible). The stylised, minimalist set designs would be more suited to a modernist theatrical production than they would to a major feature film; this sort of Brechtian minimalism seems particularly inappropriate in an epic, a genre which has always relied on visual splendour.

One reviewer says that the film is "no worse than numerous other Biblical epics", but in my experience epics vary greatly in quality. "The Silver Chalice" is not only inferior to the classics of the genre ("The Ten Commandments", "Ben-Hur", "Spartacus") but also to second-division examples such as "The Egyptian" or "Demetrius and the Gladiators". I would even rank it lower than mediocre third-raters like "Samson and Delilah" or "Esther and the King". About the only one it can compare with is that dreadful John Wayne vehicle "The Conqueror". It is perhaps appropriate that the hero of this fourth-rate film is called Basil. "The Silver Chalice" is to epic movies what Fawlty Towers is to hotels. 4/10

12 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Newman's apology johnjohnson68510
Scheduled to air on TBN in December 2007 reporterdan66
Who was the guy who was an old time version of Anthony Hopkins?? phils_phan
Blond Natalie Wood ranier
Discuss The Silver Chalice (1954) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: