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The Scarlet and the Black (1983)

Vatican efforts, lead by Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, to save Allied POWs and downed Allied airmen as the Nazis invade Rome.




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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pope Pius XII (as Sir John Gielgud)
Father Vittorio
Capt. Hirsch (as Ken Colley)
Gen. Max Helm
Minna Kappler
Angelo Infanti ...
Father Morosini
Olga Karlatos ...
Francesca Lombardo
Reinhard Beck
Count Langenthal
Lt. Jack Manning
Sir D'Arcy Osborne


Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty is a Vatican official in 1943-45 who has been hiding downed pilots, escaped prisoners of war, and Italian Resistance families. His diplomatic status in a Catholic country prevents Colonel Kappler from openly arresting him, but O'Flaherty's activities become so large that the Nazis decide to assassinate him the next time he leaves the Vatican. O'Flaherty continues his work in a variety of disguises. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

2 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vatican Pimpernel  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of three occasions in his film career where John Gielgud played a pope. The other two were The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), where he played the fictional Pope Pius XIII, and Elizabeth (1998), where he played the real-life Pope Pius V. See more »


When the priest, disguised as a Sturmbahnführer, is eluding his pursuers, the film is shown reversed; medal ribbons and collar insignia are on the wrong sides. See more »


Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty: Colonel, do I get the idea that you're tryin' to put a crimp in my social life?
Col. Herbert Kappler: Damn you and damn your social life, priest!
See more »


References Massacre in Rome (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

young couple in the Scarlet and the Black
24 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This should be mandatory viewing in all "20th Century Europe" history classes. Also, unlike what another viewer inferred, the romance between the young couple in the movie is NOT fictional. It is based on real people and they did marry after the end of the war. Read about it in "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican" which is available at libraries. Also, anyone who liked this movie would love the book and the movie "The Assisi Underground". The movie stars James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Irene Papas and Ben Cross. Their is also a documentary of this story available thru interlibrary loans called "Assisi in Silence". It was filmed in Assisi and has real interviews with people and relatives involved in saving Jews in Assisi.

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