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Wise Blood (1979)

A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.

Director:

(as Jhon Huston)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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5 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: John Huston
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hazel Motes
...
Grandfather (as Jhon Huston)
...
Enoch Emory
...
Asa Hawks
...
Sabbath Lily
Mary Nell Santacroce ...
Landlady
...
Hoover Shoates
...
Preacher
J.L. Parker ...
Karl
Marvin Sapp ...
Raymond
Richard Earle ...
Jakob Winslow
...
Jacob Wood
Betty Lou Groover ...
Leora Watts
John Tyndall ...
Loki Martinson
Gillaaron Houck ...
Stranger #1
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Storyline

US Army war veteran Hazel Motes may not be a believing Christian, somehow observations like the state of a run-down country church, meeting the ridiculous frauds on the streets and memories inspire him to take up, after initially fierce refusal, the part of a traveling preacher when a cab driver insists he looks like one in his new hat. He starts his own new Church of Truth, without the crucified Jesus, his first disciple being an 18-year old simpleton with a 'prophetic gift'... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An American Masterpiece!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jhon Huston's Wise Blood  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the essay about the film included in the Criterion Collection's DVD booklet is "A Matter of Life and Death" by writer Francine Prose. See more »

Goofs

Hazels' position changes between shots as he talks with the landlady about being clean. See more »

Quotes

Hazel: Two things that I just can't stand- a man that ain't true and one that mocks what is.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director John Huston is credited in all the titles as "Jhon Huston". Producer Michael Fitzgerald later explained that, wanting to have a child-like look to the credits, they had an actual child write the names. The child misspelled Huston's first name, but they liked it and kept it, as a metaphor for the artificial, off-kilter tone of the story. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Observations Under the Volcano (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Simple Gifts
(uncredited)
Shaker hymn written & composed by Joseph Brackett
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User Reviews

Exquisite Bittersweet Black Comedy
29 September 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Black humor has never been done better. But this is not a film for the squeamish. It's going to take some thought. Not a film to be watched while doing the dishes. This is a challenging but rewarding film that borders on being a great work of art. The first time I saw this film I was impressed. Each time I rewatch this movie it becomes more funny in an odd sort of fatalistic way. Each time I rewatch it it becomes more impressive. It's almost impossible to describe the way the bittersweet pathos of the movie collides with the funny, goofy, craziness of the characters. We've seen these people but rarely do we really consider their lives. They're damaged or idiots or inept swindlers or all three. We look at them with small amusement or try to get away from them, but don't give them much thought. I usually don't care much about actors. They are a dime a dozen. This film is different. This is pretty much every actors best role. Brad Dourif shows why he should be way more famous. Amy Wright is spellbinding in as a very strange girl. Dan Shor is hilarious and pathetic at the same time as a lonely moron. Stanton is hysterically funny as an utterly corrupt preacher. Lot's of other unusual and interesting performances including a small but wonderful performance by a sympathetic one armed mechanic, a wise but vicious highway patrolman and a small town hooker enjoying her own downward spiral. In the end all of the characters are doomed, but they are all worth caring for in spite of and because of their own strange but very human weaknesses. In addition it's beautifully filmed and has a heart rendering score that fits it perfectly. Reputed to be Hustons own personal favorite film, it bombed at the box office. Highly recommended.


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