IMDb > Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

Léon Morin, Priest (1961) More at IMDbPro »Léon Morin, prêtre (original title)

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Up 67% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Béatrix Beck (novel)
Jean-Pierre Melville (screenplay)
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Release Date:
22 September 1961 (France) See more »
In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Melville's least accessible work. See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Léon Morin

Emmanuelle Riva ... Barny
Irène Tunc ... Christine Sangredin
Nicole Mirel ... Sabine Levy
Gisèle Grimm ... Lucienne
Marco Behar ... Edelman
Monique Bertho ... Marion
Marc Eyraud
Nina Grégoire
Monique Hennessy ... Arlette
Edith Loria
Micheline Schererre
Renee Liques
Simone Vannier
Lucienne Marchand
Nelly Pitorre
Ernest Varial
Chantal Gozzi
Cedric Grant ... American soldier
George Lambert ... American soldier
Marielle Gozzi ... France (older)
Patricia Gozzi ... France

Gérard Buhr ... Gunther
Howard Vernon ... The colonel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Claude Achard
André Badin
Madeleine Ganne
Adeline Aucoc ... Femme (uncredited)
Louis Saintève ... Un homme (uncredited)

Volker Schlöndorff ... Un homme (uncredited)
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Directed by
Jean-Pierre Melville 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Béatrix Beck  novel
Jean-Pierre Melville  screenplay and dialogue

Produced by
Georges de Beauregard .... producer
Carlo Ponti .... producer
Original Music by
Martial Solal 
Cinematography by
Henri Decaë 
Film Editing by
Jacqueline Meppiel 
Nadine Trintignant 
Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte 
Production Design by
Daniel Guéret 
Makeup Department
Christine Fornelli .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jacqueline Parey .... assistant director
Volker Schlöndorff .... assistant director
Art Department
Robert Christidès .... set designer
Sound Department
Jacques Maumont .... sound mixer
Guy Villette .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Raymond Cauchetier .... still photographer
Jean Rabier .... camera operator
Music Department
Albert Raisner .... musician: harmonica

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Léon Morin, prêtre" - France (original title)
"Leon Morin, Priest" - International (English title) (literal title)
"The Forgiven Sinner" - USA
See more »
Sweden:130 min | UK:115 min (2003 re-release) | Argentina:130 min (Mar del Plata Film Festival) | USA:117 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Finland:S (cut) (1962) | UK:PG (2003 re-release) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Featured in The Son of Gascogne (1995)See more »


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29 out of 57 people found the following review useful.
Melville's least accessible work., 3 October 2003
Author: dbdumonteil

I generally do not go much for Melvilles's works:a lot of them deal with manly friendship among hoodlums ;they were influenced by the American film noir genre ,as for instance Robert Wise's "odds against tomorrow" but they do not equal them.There are sometimes gigantic metaphysical pretensions ("le cercle rouge" (1970);"le samouraï (1967)).Besides, these works are overlong,slow-moving and dull.

Paradoxically,his works I find the most intriguing and interesting are his non-gangsters movies:both "le silence de la mer" (1948) and "l'armée des ombres" (1969) deal with French resistance during WW2 and they are both commendable."Les enfants terribles" (1950)perfectly captures Cocteau 's spirit .And then there's "Leon Morin prêtre".

This movie is a different matter ,because its main purpose is religion.A cast against type Jean-Paul Belmondo (whom Melville would direct again the following year in "Le doulos" )rises to the occasion and thus shows he could have been more ambitious in his future career.But facing Emmanuelle Riva ("Hiroshima mon amour" ) was not an easy task,because ambitious she definitely is:one of the subtlest actresses French cinema had ever known,she never had the career she deserved because her playing was too brilliant and probably scared most of the directors .Here she delivers the goods:her part of an atheist who meets a priest during WW2 is very austere and may repel some,but her performance is thoroughly fascinating.The first line she says to priest Morin is "Religion is the opium of the people:then begins a bewildering story,during which she regains faith.And this renaissance is ambiguous:is-it because of the tragical events that stem from the war that surrounds them -one of her friend's son is sent to a concentration camp ,and he'll never return-? Is it because she is madly in love with the priest -one scene shows her try to get him into her bed-?Is it because hers is such an unfulfilled life -a daughter,but no partner-?Is it because of the priest's convincing words ,now simple,now very intellectual?The movie consists of very long conversation about faith -a whole scene revolves around Christ's famous words :"my God why have you forsaken me?"-.

That's why I would recommend the movie to people interested in theology ,or simply to believers.The others may yawn their head off.

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the 'wider church' chad_son_of_len
Criterion Collection to release a DVD/Blu-Ray in July! michaeljbachman
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