IMDb > Wise Blood (1979)
Wise Blood
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Wise Blood (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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Wise Blood -- In this acclaimed adaptation of the first novel by legendary Southern writer Flannery O'Connor, John Huston vividly brings to life her poetic world of American eccentricity. Brad Dourif, in an impassioned performance, is Hazel Motes, who, fresh out of the army, attempts to open the first Church Without Christ in the small town of Taulkinham.
Wise Blood -- Trailer for this film based on the Flannery O'Connor novel


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7.3/10   3,439 votes »
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Up 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Flannery O'Connor (novel)
Benedict Fitzgerald (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Wise Blood on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 February 1980 (USA) See more »
An American Masterpiece!
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Demented, satiric oddball, cult film crying out to be rediscovered by a new audience See more (45 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Brad Dourif ... Hazel Motes

John Huston ... Grandfather (as John Huston)

Dan Shor ... Enoch Emory

Harry Dean Stanton ... Asa Hawks

Amy Wright ... Sabbath Lily
Mary Nell Santacroce ... Landlady

Ned Beatty ... Hoover Shoates

William Hickey ... Preacher
J.L. Parker ... Karl
Marvin Sapp
Richard Earle
Herb Kossover ... Jacob Wood
Betty Lou Groover
John Tyndall
Gillaaron Houck
Philip Mixer
Sharon Johnson
Joe Dorsey
Stratton Leopold ... Depressed Human
Leonard Holmes
Daniel Albright
Tommy Alson
Harold Horne
Jim Barbee
Gene Howard
Raymond Foskey
Vicky Dyer
Jerry Rushing
Ken Flower
Gladys Hill
Ray Wilkes ... Slade Bob Jackson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dan Albright ... Policeman (as Daniel Albright)

Allan A. Apone ... Gonga The Gorilla (uncredited)
Don Chambers ... Street Listener (uncredited)

William Finley ... Man (uncredited)
Bart Russell ... Man in the Street (uncredited)

Directed by
John Huston  (as Jhon Huston)
Writing credits
Flannery O'Connor (novel)

Benedict Fitzgerald (screenplay) &
Michael Fitzgerald (screenplay)

Produced by
Hans Brockmann .... associate producer
Kathy Fitzgerald .... producer
Michael Fitzgerald .... producer
Wolfgang Limmer .... co-producer
Original Music by
Alex North 
Cinematography by
Gerry Fisher 
Film Editing by
Roberto Silvi 
Casting by
Stratton Leopold 
Set Decoration by
Sally Fitzgerald 
Costume Design by
Sally Fitzgerald 
Makeup Department
Allan A. Apone .... makeup artist (as Al Apone)
Production Management
Stratton Leopold .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gene Anderson Jr. .... second assistant director
Tom Shaw .... assistant director
Tony Huston .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Tom Shaw Jr. .... property master
Sound Department
Colin Charles .... sound recordist
Michael Minkler .... sound re-recording mixer
Gary Weir .... boom operator
Elliot Tyson .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Bob Bremner .... gaffer
Bernard Ford .... camera operator (as Benny Ford)
J.L. Parker .... generator operator
Mike Rutter .... first assistant camera (as Michael Rutter)
Jimmy Waters .... key grip
Denny Mooradian .... electrician (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Uta Freiwald .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Cesare D'Amico .... assistant editor
Music Department
Michael Fronik .... music editor
Alex North .... music adaptor
Bob Badami .... assistant music editor (uncredited)
Curt Sobel .... music editor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Marlowe Thompson .... transportation
Other crew
Angela Allen .... script supervisor
Dennis McCarthy .... assistant: Alex North
Barbara McKenzie .... title stills
Jim McCarthy .... post-production accountant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Jhon Huston's Wise Blood" - USA (complete title)
See more »
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The movie was made and released about fifteen years after the passing away of its source novelist Flannery O'Connor in 1964.See more »
Continuity: Sabbath's bra strap goes from down to up between shots.See more »
Hazel:This car is just beginning its life, a lightning bolt couldn't stop it.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Notes from Under the Volcano (1984)See more »
Tennessee WaltzSee more »


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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Demented, satiric oddball, cult film crying out to be rediscovered by a new audience, 8 January 2009
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

What other testament to how criminally neglected this film is other than the fact it has a rough 900 votes at the time of writing this? A movie directed by Hollywood titan John Huston of all people. That's not to say WISE BLOOD is not a flawed film, few if any such films exist after all, nor that it has that dramatic wholesomeness and clear and profound characterization that makes something like THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE the classic it is, yet, much like 80's cult paean REPO MAN, it remains endlessly watchable and fascinating in its own demented way.

The movie follows the trials and tribulations of Hazel Motes, a young man fresh back from a war (not specified which - any war will do really) somewhere in the deep South who starts out as an angry man who believes in no saviours and no dogmas and dreams of a Church of Christ without Christ and slowly finds himself digressing out of circumstances out of his hand to that which he most loathes. It's not specified to what extent the war changed him as a man or if it did at all but it appears his fundamendalist Christian grandfather (played in a flashback cameo by John Huston hisself) had a larger impact in his formative years than any war trauma.

Turning from fierce individualist and hater of preachers to zealous preacher of his own church where there is neither fall, redemption or judgement because there's nothing to fall from and nothing to be redeemed for, and from preacher to self-tormenting repentant, Brad Dourif brings Hazel Motes and his monomaniac pursuit alive on screen with burning passion. Always tense and ready to lash out at everyone and anyone, he's a seething mass of tendons and nerves writhing with agitation.

I have not read Flannery O'Connor's original novel nor have I been brought up in a Protestant or Catholic background (or the South for that matter), but there's something captivating about Wise Blood beyond and despite its particular subject matter. That elusive quality that turns a good movie into a haunting one. Still, it's easy to see why it failed to find an audience when it came out and has been largely forgotten ever since. The seriocomic mood is perhaps a bit too incosistent for the viewer who needs to quickly determine what kind of response the movie before him demands. Part religious drama, part road movie, part demented black comedy, part satiric oddity, Wise Blood is as hard to file under a specific label as it is to watch without a reaction. Yet it doesn't fail in any of them, and that's why it's such a bonafide cult film.

Blessed with a powerhouse performance by Brad Dourif, enhanced by cameos of such character actor stalwarts as Harry Dean Stanton (in the role of blind preacher) and Ned Beatty (in the role of preacher manager), the picturesque baroque of the American South, and assured direction by venerable Hollywood giant John Huston, Wise Blood, in all its southern Gothic glory, is a cult film crying out to be rediscovered by a new audience.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Wise Blood (1979)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Destruction of Christ(s) the-twist
Why all the anachronisms? antvolley
Ministry: Jesus Built My Hotrod......anyone ? sergio-phoenix
Is this not the greatest cult film ever poetaster
Hazel's car. spudwas
Enoch Emory himself Dan Shor talks about making WISE BLOOD producer-638-268568
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