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The Given Word (1962)
"O Pagador de Promessas" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  1 June 1962 (France)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 1,468 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 8 critic

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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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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Release Date:

1 June 1962 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Payer of Promises  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As of 2013, remains the only South American film to ever win the Palme D'Or at Cannes. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
One of the overlooked Masterpieces in Cinema History
19 April 2004 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

It's really a shame that this masterpiece is constantly overlooked by All-Time Greatest Lists, even though it won the prestigious Palm d'Or at Cannes.

"The Bicycle Thieves" is frequently cited as the greatest entry into Social Cinema, yet unfortunately the public and the critics seem to forget the sheer beauty that "The Payer of Promises" is. While "Bicycle"'s influence is undeniable, "Payer" goes beyond that.

Honest, multi-layered and amazingly contemporary, this is one of those movies that have admirably stood the test of time - specially if one considers the difficulty it is making Films in Brazil.

Featuring incredibly believable and dramatic performances, a rich, vivid setting and neo-realist technique employed in an elegant and sincere manner, this movie should not be missed. I found impressive how well the film flows

  • nothing is there gratuitously and the pacing is pitch


perfect.

The amazing strength, courage and valor of Brazilian Cinema is a force to be reckoned with, as we take a look at the works of Film Makers such as Peixoto, Duarte, Rocha, Candeias, Bressane, Khouri, Salles and most recently, Meirelles. To list a very short list.

In fact, I can say without fear that it is a better Film than The Bicycle Thieves. It is easily one of the Best Brazilian Films in History - if not one of the Best in Film History. Period.


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