IMDb > Léon Morin, Priest (1961)

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

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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:
Forbidden Territory See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

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

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Léon Morin, prêtre" - France (original title)
"A Clever Priest" - Europe (English title) (imdb display title), International (imdb display title), International (English title) (imdb display title), UK (imdb display title)
"The Sin" - Europe (English title) (imdb display title), International (imdb display title), International (English title) (imdb display title), UK (imdb display 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

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


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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Forbidden Territory, 10 February 2010
Author: druid333-2 from United States

For years now,the over all theme of religion in cinema has managed to touch more than it's share of raw nerves,both in the U.S.A.,as well as Europe (does anyone remember the brou-ha-ha that was raised over Jean Luc Goddard's 'Hail Mary',back in the mid 1980's,or 'The Last Temptation Of Christ',in 1988,or even 'The Life Of Brian'in 1979?). Long before all of that,there was a film that I'm sure raised some folk's eyebrows in 1961. That film was 'Leon Morin,Priest'. The story concerns a newly widowed young woman known as Barny,played by Emmanuel Riva,who is a self avowed atheist,who is seeking advice from a local priest,named Leon Morin,played by (then)France's matinée idol,Jean Paul Belmando ('Breathless',and way too many to mention here). The time is world war 2,and the small village Barny lives in is being invaded by Germans,Italians & later,American soldiers. What starts out as a series of conversations on spiritual matters,turns to unrequited love,which turns more serious as the story unfolds. Jean Pierre Melville (who was generally more known for his film noir crime epics, such as 'Le Cercle Rouge','Le Samourai','Army Of Shadows',etc.)directs & writes the story & screenplay,based on the novel by Beatrix Beck, in a film that tests one woman's temptation for the heart of another man. The rest of the cast (unknown by yours truly)turn in fine performances. The crisp,black & white cinematography by Henri Decae makes real good use of light & shadow (especially if the print quality is good to excellent),and the use of distance between the two characters,which eventually merge closer as the story goes on. Not exactly top shelf Melville,but none the less,still worth a look. Most European prints of this film originally ran 130 minutes,but unfortunately,the North American distributed print clocks in at 117 minutes (including the newly printed re-issue edition). Spoken mostly in French,with a wee bit of German,with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA,this film contains some minor adult content,and a rude word,or two.

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the 'wider church' chad_son_of_len
Criterion Collection to release a DVD/Blu-Ray in July! michaeljbachman
mesmerising ivyho-1
Melville a communist? bob998
Is the Soundtrack available somewhere? Murat-10
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