Lilies of the Field (1963)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  5 July 1963 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,216 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 18 critic

A traveling handyman becomes the answer to the prayers of nuns who wish to build a chapel in the desert.



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



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Complete credited cast:
Lisa Mann ...
Isa Crino ...
Francesca Jarvis ...
Pamela Branch ...
Dan Frazer ...
Father Murphy


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

5 July 1963 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Piety in the Sky  »

Box Office


$240,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title comes from the Sermon on the Mount. See more »


When Homer leaves the nuns for the first time, the nuns must walk to mass along the road downhill. The sun is shining left to right across their faces casting a shadow on the ground to the right of screen. In all close-ups of the nuns, the sun is shining right to left (the complete opposite direction) across their faces. See more »


Mother Maria: The Lions.
Sister Gertrude: Ya.
Mother Maria: The Elks.
Sister Gertrude: Ya.
Mother Maria: The Order of Moose.
Sister Gertrude: Ya.
Mother Maria: Kiwani's, what kind of animal is that?
Sister Gertrude: American.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Party Revolution (2004) See more »


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.

43 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
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Ending messedupgirl77
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