7.9/10
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82 user 43 critic

Elmer Gantry (1960)

Approved | | Drama | July 1960 (USA)
A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (from the novel by)
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Won 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Jim Lefferts
...
William L. Morgan
...
...
Sister Rachel
...
George F. Babbitt (as Ed Andrews)
...
Rev. John Pengilly
...
Rev. Philip Garrison
Joe Maross ...
Pete
...
Rev. Planck
...
Police Capt. Holt
Wendell Holmes ...
Rev. Ulrich
Dayton Lummis ...
Eddington
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Storyline

Elmer Gantry is a fast-talking, hard-drinking traveling salesman who always has a risqué story and a hip flask to entertain cronies and customers alike. He is immediately taken with Sister Sharon Falconer, a lay preacher whose hellfire-and-damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Gantry uses his own quick wit and Bible knowledge to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow, but his past soon catches up with him in the form of Lulu Bains, now a prostitute. While Gantry seeks and eventually gets forgiveness from Sharon, tragedy strikes when she finally manages to get out of her revivalist tent and opens a permanent church. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"You're all sinners... You'll all burn in hell!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elmer Gantry - Gott ist im Geschäft  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$11,336,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Brooks wanted either James Cagney or Montgomery Clift for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

The first time we see Lulu, she leans on the back of a chair, a newspaper in her hand, and her right shoulder strap has fallen down. In the next shot her left shoulder strap is down instead. See more »

Quotes

Elmer Gantry: I was accosted by three painted women. Your streets are made unsafe by shameless, diseased hussies, rapacious pick-pockets, and insidious opium-smokers.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scrolled before the opening credits: "We believe that certain aspects of Revivalism can bear examination- that the conduct of some revivalists makes a mockery of the traditional beliefs and practices of organized Christianity! We believe that everyone has a right to worship according to his conscience, but- Freedom of Religion is not license to abuse the faith of the people! However, due to the highly controversial nature of this film, we strongly urge you to prevent impressionable children from seeing it!" See more »

Connections

Referenced in There Will Be Blood (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(circa 1856) (uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe (1862)
Sung by the audience at a revival meeting
Reprised at the Zenith revival meeting and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jesus was a simple virtuous teacher, . . . but I have my doubts "
20 September 2007 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

From the exceptionally talented pen of noted author Sinclair Lewis comes this entertaining story of a fast-talking, yarn-spinning vacuum salesman with the natural gift of persuasion. In his ever lustful sights is a voluptuous female preacher. In order to conquer her, he must use his extensive repertoire of biblical quips, quotes and bawdy antidotes. Within the sphere of a traveling troupe of bible beating, evangelicals on a religious crusade, the author's hero, one Elmer Gantry (supurbly played by Oscar wining Burt Lancaster) is as energetic as his tales. Although it's difficult to know if Gantry's spiritual motivation is genuine or merely a ploy, throughout the film, one is kept guessing. The target of his earthly desires is Beautiful Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons) a sincere, but fallible woman out to build a ministry. A serious obstacle to her goal is Gantry, but more so is the cautionary and caustic pen of Jim Lefferts (Arthur Kennedy), a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who questions the personal and financial motives of her entourage. Her main supporter is worldly William Morgan (Dean Jagger) who believes in Falconer, and sees Gantry and Lefferts for the opportunistic impediments they are. The film is a triumph for Lancaster and Kennedy and for all those who wish to visit a confusing period of Americanna, when the word of God was infected by preachers, pushers and spiritual leeches. ****


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