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Lilies of the Field (1963)

Unrated | | Drama | 5 July 1963 (West Germany)
A traveling handyman becomes the answer to the prayers of nuns who wish to build a chapel in the desert.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Lisa Mann ...
Isa Crino ...
...
Pamela Branch ...
...
Juan
...
Father Murphy
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Storyline

Homer Smith, an unemployed construction worker heading out west, stops at a remote farm in the desert to get water when his car overheats. The farm is being worked by a group of East European Catholic nuns, headed by the strict Mother Maria, who believes that Homer has been sent by God to build a much-needed church in the desert... Written by Christopher J. Thompson <thompson@amath.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sidney Poitier as the life-loving ex-GI who one day encounters five nuns escaped from behind the Berlin Wall... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

5 July 1963 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Piety in the Sky  »

Box Office

Budget:

$240,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Ralph Nelson had to put up his house as collateral. See more »

Goofs

When the nun is looking up verses in her large Bible with Homer, she obviously isn't turning to the correct passages. Proverbs is about center in a Bible, yet she turns to the beginning, and she finds Mathew too close to the end of the Bible. See more »

Quotes

Homer Smith: Gringo? I don't know if that's a step up or a step down from some other things I've been called.
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the film, the word "Amen" is seen, rather than "The End". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Homicide: Life on the Street: The Wedding (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Amen
(uncredited)
By Jester Hairston
Sung by Sidney Poitier dubbed by Jester Hairston
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User Reviews

My 'perfect' movie.
8 July 2000 | by (Oregon USA) – See all my reviews

If someone were to ask me for the 'perfect' movie, this is the one I would choose. Not 'greatest', not 'best', but something better... an utterly flawless film. It's lean and spare, set in the desert and filmed in B&W. Both the humor and the drama are low-key, but are all the more moving for that, presented without clutter. It uses a small cast to create a rich diversity of characters from different religions, races, and cultures. But these differences aren't what creates the drama, they are simply a wonderful part of the background texture. The conflict lies purely in the clash of personalities between two good people, Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier) and Mother Maria (Lilia Skala), both with their own personal flaws and virtues.

I really can't begin to describe how much I like "Lilies of the Field". It could have been one of those awful preachy 'message' films, but it isn't. It is purely fine story telling. Which isn't to say you can't find meaning in it. Far from it. For me, I've always been taken by how the common human goodness of all the characters is brought out without being dependent on, or sacrificing, their many differences of religion or culture. They remain the same people at the end of the movie as at the beginning, except they're all a bit better, a bit less flawed. And that's pretty close to perfection.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is his skin color important? nielw
What was the model of Homer's car? JB-36
If it gets any better than this I haven't seen it.... SurprisingWoman
Lyrics of 'Amen' nstrap
Where did Homer come from? Fasteddy1985
they dont make them like this anymore lamplightz
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