7.9/10
8,016
81 user 42 critic

Elmer Gantry (1960)

Approved | | Drama | July 1960 (USA)
Trailer
3:13 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director:

Writers:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The stories of several people are told as they stay at a seaside hotel in Bournemouth which features dining at "Separate Tables."

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Deborah Kerr, David Niven
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An arrogant Texas millionaire hires four adventurers to rescue his kidnapped wife from a notorious Mexican bandit.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan
Atlantic City (1980)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer finds themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid
The Train (1964)
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau
Trapeze (1956)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An emotionally remote recovering alcoholic and his dowdy, unambitious wife face a personal crisis when they take in an attractive lodger.

Director: Daniel Mann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Shirley Booth, Terry Moore
The Killers (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Hit men kill an unresisting victim, and investigator Reardon uncovers his past involvement with beautiful, deadly Kitty Collins.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr
The Rainmaker (1956)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can't make up for the fact that she's just plain plain! Even the town ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Anthony
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn, Wendell Corey
Brute Force (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford
Edit

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
Barry Kelley ...
Police Capt. Holt
Wendell Holmes ...
Rev. Ulrich
Dayton Lummis ...
Eddington
Edit

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 knowledge of the bible to become an indispensable part of Sister Sharon's roadshow but soon finds that his past 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:

From the book that shook a nation with its sledgehammer theme... From a Nobel Prize-winning author... comes the raging story of the man who used the Holy Bible- and broke every rule in it! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elmer Gantry, le charlatan  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In a hate-filled sermon, Gantry denounces a number of "heresies" including "Russellism". This is a reference to Charles Taze Russell, first president of the (current) Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the legal organization used by Jehovah's Witnesses. See more »

Goofs

The straps on Lulu Bains' dress. See more »

Quotes

Clean-up man: Mister, I've been converted five times. Billy Sunday, Reverend Biederwolf, Gypsy Smith, and twice by Sister Falconer. I get terrible drunk, and then I get good and saved. Both of them done me a powerful lot of good - gettin' drunk and gettin' saved. Well, good night.
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

Featured in The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus
(1741) (uncredited)
Written by George Frideric Handel
Played in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"You're all sinners! You'll all burn in hell!"
5 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Elmer Gantry" is an amazing film that does not seem dated at all, having lost none of its bite or appeal with the passing of time. Taken from the classic Sinclair Lewis novel of the same name, director Richard Brooks garnered an Oscar for Best Screenplay for his adaptation, and Burt Lancaster won his sole Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Elmer Gantry. Gantry is an over-the-top opportunistic traveling salesman who teams up with evangelist Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons) to promote religion in 1920's America. Gantry turns out to be the perfect publicity compliment to Sister Sharon, who, unlike him, is a true believer. Where she is quiet and gentle with her manner of preaching, he is all fire and brimstone, literally throwing himself about the audience and inflaming them into repentance.

Burt Lancaster commands the screen: all flashing teeth, athletic energy, charisma, and wild hair, using his own physical prowess to great advantage. The angelic and lovely Jean Simmons, who had legions of adoring male fans when she was in her ethereal prime, portrays Sister Sharon (loosely based on a well-known real-life revivalist of the early 1920's, Aimee Semple McPherson, about whom I'd heard from my grandmother) in a manner reminiscent of her character in "Spartacus" - she was the perfect choice for this role, as was Lancaster for his.

Shirley Jones was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her lively portrayal of prostitute Lulu Bains, whose past history with Gantry comes back to haunt him, with some of the best lines in the film

  • gleefully laughing as she dances about a room full of her fellow


prostitutes, she recounts that "He rammed the fear of God into me so fast I never heard my old man's footsteps!" Watching Burt Lancaster in his prime use his athletic ability (he was a circus acrobat before he became an actor) and physical grace helps make his performance truly electrifying. And he also manages to believably evolve Elmer Gantry from loud-mouthed salesman to a sympathetic and honest human being over the course of the film.

The top-notch supporting cast includes Arthur Kennedy, Patti Page, Dean Jagger, and John McIntire.


32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Faith Healing neverdidnowanderin
Casting for remake of Elmer Gantry mudgejl
Cartoonish portrayl plugpray
Shirley Jones Won An Oscar For This??? kdboles
Aimee Semple McPherson darienwerfhorst
British Accent diamonddog
Discuss Elmer Gantry (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?