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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 ...
Regina 'Peachy' Simons ...
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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Set Decorator, Don Remacle, had studied for the Catholic Priesthood, changing his career objectives after attending the Pasadena Playhouse Drama School. With his knowledge of the Church, all Altar and ceremonial procedures, he advised Ralph Nelson and Maria Schell on everything related with the Chapel scenes, including all the set dressing related actions or scene motivations. Remacle also advised the costume designer, Dyke Davis, on all the Nun's wardrobe and accessories. Don Remacle quit his Fairfax- Beverly Blvd CBS TV staff set decorator position to work on this Provo, Utah location film assignment. Upon completion of the NBC TV MOW, Remacle returned to Los Angeles, immediately going to work on a film television series at Universal-MCA Television; then, onto an illustrious film set decorating career working with director George Cukor's 1981 film "Rich and Famous". 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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