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Christmas Lilies of the Field (1979)

Homer Smith returns to the chapel which, years before, he helped to build to find that the nuns have taken in a group of homeless/unwanted/runaway children. Once again, he is inspired by ... See full summary »



(characters), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lisa Mann ...
Hanna Hertelendy ...
Judith Piquet ...
Donna Johnston ...
Harold Pruitt
Jean Jenkins ...
Fred Hart ...
Father Brian Connor
Sam Di Bello ...
Dr. Mike Robles
Timmy Arnell ...
Oliver Nguyen ...
Julie Delgado ...


Homer Smith returns to the chapel which, years before, he helped to build to find that the nuns have taken in a group of homeless/unwanted/runaway children. Once again, he is inspired by the nuns' faith and selfless devotion, and this time he builds an orphanage and a little school for the children. Written by S. Muller

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

16 December 1979 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The studio was not satisfied with the singing voices of the kids hired to play the orphans. The studio ended up going to Orem Junior High School, which was known at the time to have a very good musical theater program, and hiring six local kids to sing the songs in the film. Their voices were dubbed in for the orphans in the songs but they were never credited. See more »


[first lines]
Mexican worker: [as Homer climbs down from the chapel steeple] Senor Homer... will we have bells?
Homer Smith: Someday.
See more »


Follows Lilies of the Field (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

A Comforting Movie
17 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just finished watching this film on our local UPN station. They stuck it on the schedule in the middle of a weeknight - 'filler', of course. We don't have (or want) cable or satellite TV, so I'm always happy to find something a little different - even if it is aired at 2:00 a.m.

What really kind of hooked me about this movie in the first few minutes was not Billy Dee Williams, but the actress who plays "Mother Maria." She's one of those women who have a seemingly effortless moral authority and strength. She also has mesmerizing green(?) eyes. (Ostensibly, Williams is supposed to be the main draw here - but I've always found him to be an actor of limited appeal. Very handsome, of course - but not a great talent.) She was totally believable in the role of a head nun who is committed to providing a home for a bunch of abandoned and neglected kids.

The southwest location is a nice change from the stereotypical snowy Christmas-movie locations.

I also liked the multi-ethnic cast, although the character of the black social worker was a gratuitous, obvious (and highly unlikely, given the setting) romantic interest for Billy Dee.

The movie's low-key, matter-of-fact atmosphere makes for a realistic portrayal of everyday struggles. No supernatural miracles here - just a bunch of people trying to better the lives of unwanted kids.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this quiet little gem. Especially at this time of the year, when I've seen the same holiday films over and over again. Like "A Christmas Story", I'll add this to my roster of under-rated and 'forgotten' holiday movies.

If you run across "Christmas Lillies of the Field" on some lower-rung channel in the middle of the night (like I did) - give it a chance. It's a charming, heartwarming little film that really grows on you.

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