8.3/10
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The Given Word (1962)

O Pagador de Promessas (original title)
A simple yet devout Christian makes a vow to Saint Barbara after she saves his donkey, but everyone he meets seems determined to misunderstand his intentions. Will he be able to keep his promise in the end?

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(screenplay), (based on a play by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo Villar ...
Zé do Burro / Donkey Jack (as Leonardo Vilar)
Glória Menezes ...
Rosa
Dionísio Azevedo ...
Olavo, the Priest
Geraldo Del Rey ...
Bonitão / Handsome
Roberto Ferreira ...
Dede
Norma Bengell ...
Marly, the Prostitute
Othon Bastos ...
Reporter
Antonio Pitanga ...
Coca, the Capoeira Fighter (as Antonio L. Sampaio)
Gilberto Marques ...
The Galicean
Milton Gaucho ...
Police Officer
Enoch Torres ...
Police Inspector
Carlos Torres ...
Coca's Friend
João Di Sordi ...
Police Detective (as João Desordi)
Veveldo Diniz ...
Sexton (as Velvedo Diniz)
Maria Conceição ...
Auntie
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Storyline

Zé-do-Burro has only one worldly possession, his donkey, that he named Nicolas and considers to have a sole like himself, a law abiding Christian just a trifle naive. During a tempest, Nicolas is seriously wounded, and Zé-do-Burro, out of despair, makes a promise: to carry a cross as large as Christ's, to the altar of Saint Barbara - the nearest being in the city of Bahia. He vows to do so in a Candomblé session, dedicated to the goddess Yansan - that in the popular belief corresponds to that Christian saint. Nicolas fully recovers from his illness, and Zé-do-Burro produces a large cross with his own hands and tools, and then carries it on foot to Bahia, accompanied by his wife, Rosa. He has to stay by the church's closed door, and the only person who comes to meet them is Bonitão, the local pimp, who offers to take Rosa to a pension while Zé-do-Burro keeps his promise of staying by the cross. Next morning, the priest is surprised but satisfied with the faith shown by Zé-do-Burro - ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

1 June 1962 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Payer of Promises  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Othon Bastos. See more »

Connections

Featured in Panorama do Cinema Brasileiro (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poor technique, great script!
22 May 2003 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

Others already mentioned that the film's production values are low - and that's true. But the story of Nicolau (not credited - but it's the donkey's name) and Jack, his owner has more to it than you may think. At first, it's like a comedy about a credulous man who likes his donkey to the point of promising an incredible masochist thing to his God, if the donkey survives an illness. Than, as Jack fulfills his promise, and he gets to look so much like the historical figure of Jesus Christ, trouble erupts. Conservative priests and social-minded, exploitative newspapermen fight over a donkey and a cross, and the problem turns out as a satirical approach to the 1960s socialist class-struggle in Latin America. The story is set in Brazil, but it could be elsewhere at the epoch, though you have plenty of folk music and some dancing that are absolutely a Brazilean trademark. Not to be missed, even if the copy is slightly chopped off by the 1962 military censorship in Brazil.


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